Hundreds of creatures great and small were left feeling holy after cramming into a cathedral for an annual pet blessing ceremony – including four ALPACAS.
In a scene reminiscent of Noah’s Ark three cats, a barn owl, a tortoise, guinea pigs, rabbits and around 150 dogs also took part in the hour long service in Ely Cathedral, Cambs.
The annual ceremony, organised by staff at nearby Wood Green Animal Shelter, is now in its 23rd year and attracted hundreds of families and their pets.
The congregation sang hymns including ‘All things bright and beautiful’ and ‘The Lord is my shepherd’ before forming a pet procession led by the alpacas.
Once the menagerie had paraded down the cathedral aisle they were blessed by Canon Missioner Alan Hargrave.
Nicola Bacon, communications manager for Wood Green, said the congregation was remarkably well-behaved during Sunday’s service.
She said: ”It was all surpringly calm and there were no scraps, although there was lots of barking when everyone was singing hymns.
”The alpacas made a lot of noise when they were leading the procession which was hilarious.
”The cathedral absolutely loves the ceremony and the canon usually brings his donkey, although he couldn’t make it this year.
”Surprisingly it was very clean afterwards. There were a few accidents during the service but they got mopped up straight away.”
A spokeswoman for the cathedral said they had been delighted to welcome such a diverse congregation.
She said: ”The pet blessing ceremony is always a pleasure and very popular with families and owners.”