Greyfriars Bobby church to host annual pet blessing service

Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh will once again host its annual pet blessing service this Sunday. The church, famous for its association with Greyfriars Bobby - the legendary dog that faithfully guarded his owner's grave for an astounding 14 years - welcomes all animal lovers to bring their pets each year for a special blessing.

Previous years have seen various pets, from dogs and cats to miniature ponies in attendance.

Sue MacGregor, from Greyfriars, has organised the event. She said: "I am delighted to be creating our service which coincides with Unesco World Animal Day and the Feast of St Francis.

"It will be great to see folk from all walks of life along with their pets, and to welcome interfaith representatives as we celebrate the world's value and diversity together."

Edinburgh Interfaith Association will also be taking part in the event.

This marks Rev Dr. Richard Frazer's final pet blessing ceremony at Greyfriars, as he will be retiring from his position as the parish minister later this year. Speaking to the Press Association, Rev Frazer highlighted the importance of animals in our lives, underscoring their ability to alleviate loneliness and stress, and offer deep companionship.

He said: "For many, the presence of animals is one of the great blessings of life, overcoming loneliness, reducing stress, and providing profound companionship.

"Visitors to our church are often drawn to the qualities of love, loyalty, and companionship found in the story of Greyfriars Bobby, which is a lovely thing to celebrate and honour.

"The pet blessing is an opportunity for people to express their gratitude, not just for the pets they have but for the idea that we share life with plants and animals, reminding us of our duty of care to the whole of creation."

The legacy of Greyfriars Bobby has been marked with a statue near the entrance to the graveyard, in a lasting tribute to his loyalty.