In celebration of World Animal Day and the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, hundreds of pet owners in the Philippines have their pets blessed through virtual and drive-thru pet blessing on October 3.
This marks the second year that different animal welfare organizations and malls held a virtual and drive-thru pet blessing ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Animal Day is celebrated annually on October 4, the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. People around the world call for action to improve animal rights and welfare through activities, donation drives, and seminars.
To allow more pet parents to participate, the Philippine Animal Welfare and Society (PAWS) and several malls conducted pet blessings and activities ahead of time. (Read: 3 Ways To Be A Blessing To Animals On World Animal Day)
PAWS virtual pet blessing
Celebrating World Animal Day for over two decades, PAWS held a virtual mass and pet blessing via Facebook live. Celebrity pet parents Issa Litton, Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Pauleen Luna, Vic Sotto, John Arcilla, Kuya Kim, Karylle, Marc Nelson, Jona, Joey Mead, Kim Molina, Jerald Napoles, Janice de Belen, and PAWS ambassador Heart Evangelista attended the holy mass. They also shared some tips and experiences of being a pet owner.
“The COVID-19 situation has also highlighted our interconnectedness—that what happens to one human being affects another in very much the same way that our treatment of animals and the environment affects all lives on this earth,” PAWS Executive Director and World Animal Day Philippines ambassador Anna Cabrera said.
A song performed by Regine Velasquez-Alcasid entitled A World of Friends was released during the event. It is written by Joey Reyes and produced by renowned composer Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. Barbie Almalbis-Honasan also performed a song entitled An Aspin’s Song. (Read: 5 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Disaster)
“The song is about how our lives are enriched by the animals whom we share this earth with. It calls on humankind to build back a better world where kindness reigns supreme,” Reyes explained.
After the holy mass, pets were blessed virtually by Rev. Fr. Jose Antonio “Joey” Paras, SDB. Pet owners were asked to carry their pets or hold a photo or urn of their departed pets in front of the screen to receive the blessing.
The PAWS World Animal Day celebration is a fundraising event sponsored by Pet Express that will benefit rescued animals and fund PAWS’ ongoing spay-neuter program for indigent pet owners. It is also supported by Purina Supercoat, Friskies, Garbia, Canva, and Robig Builders.
Drive-thru pet blessings
In accordance with health guidelines, Eastwood Mall and SM City Masinag organized a drive-thru pet blessing. More than 500 pets were blessed at Eastwood Mall. (Read: Here Are 3 Things Born To Be Wild Host Dr. Ferds Recio Wants First Time Pet Owners To Know)
Among the pet owners who patiently waited in the long queue of vehicles was Maxine Mariano and her seven-year-old Shih Tzu, Cookie.
“We believe that it’s for the long life also of our dog, and then also as Catholics it’s important to have them blessed as well just like us,” she shared in a news article from Reuters.
Meanwhile, hundreds of pets also arrived at SM City Masinag to receive a blessing from Fr. Uldarico Dioquino of the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Antipolo City.
Pet Together at Vertis North
Aside from its drive-thru pet blessing, Ayala Malls Vertis North celebrated World Animal Day with fun activities and informative discussions. Pet owners, together with their pets, enjoyed free treats, customized scarfs, and other freebies.
There is also an Online SymPAWsium through Facebook live led by pet trainer Teacher Brad Feliciano, where pet owners and pet lovers were informed about mall etiquettes and basic skills they can teach their pets or fellow pet parents.
The mall launched an Ayala Malls Pet ID, which can be used in all Ayala Malls, following the “Pet PAWlicies” of Ayala Malls. The registration is ongoing. Visit this link to know more. (Read: 5 Things To Know About Deydey And The Mimings)