Tails wagging as pets join owners for Norfolk Sunday service
Efforts to encourage more people to make use of a village church building have been boosted by allowing four-legged friends into a service.
A total of 15 dogs turned up with their owners to a pet service in Walpole St Peter on Sunday.
Gilly Galloway, a volunteer at St Peter’s Church, said the quirky initiative is helping to encourage more people to make use of the building-even if they are not religious.
The informal service included a short bible reading, animal song and even a blessing for every dog from the Reverend Barbara Burton.
Mrs Galloway, whose husband David is a churchwarden at St Peter’s, said: “When you have a dog and meet someone on a walk, you know the name of the pet but not the person.
“This brought the people in the local community into the church to make use of the building as it is such a shame when it is left empty.”
After 23 people turned up for the event, the church is hoping to run similar events in the future having also held a pet service two years ago.
Mrs Galloway said there were a range of dogs in “every shape and size you can think of” ranging from a nine-week-old puppy to those as old as 11-years.
Dog biscuits were provided and Mrs Galloway took her two Labradors, Kobi and Baily aged five and seven respectively, to the event.
“There was so much wagging, it was unbelievable,” Mrs Galloway said.
“Many of the dogs did not know each other but there was no aggression whatsoever. People were relaxed and having a laugh.
“A lot of us in the church are animal mad and several of us have more than one animal.
“We talk about our pets a lot in the same way people talk about their children!
“We live in a village where, when you can walk your dog, you stop and chat wheareas if you did not have the the dogs, you may just walk past each other. A few who came to the pet service do not often come.”
More by this authorBen Hardy