Pet blessing service to take place at Greyfriars Bobby church

Animal lovers are being invited to bring their pet to an annual blessing service at a church famed for its connection to Greyfriars Bobby.

The service, open to anyone, will take place at 3pm on Sunday at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh.

The faithful terrier known as Greyfriars Bobby stayed by his master’s grave in the kirkyard for 14 years after his death in 1858.

In tribute to the dog, who is also buried in the Kirkyard, members of the Skye Terrier Club will join the event.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer
The Rev Dr Richard Frazer will preside over the pet blessing at Greyfriars for the final time before his retirement (Church of Scotland/PA)

Sue MacGregor, who is a probationer minister at Greyfriars and has organised the event, 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.”

There will be a parade of the animals around the Kirkyard after the service.

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

It will be the last time Rev Dr Richard Frazer presides over a pet blessing at Greyfriars as he will be retiring from his role as the parish minister later this year.

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.

Greyfriars Bobby grave
The dog is buried in the kirkyard where it had stayed by his owner’s graveside for years (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Greyfriars Bobby belonged to night-watchman John Gray, who took on the dog to keep him company through the long nights.

But Mr Gray contracted tuberculosis and died of the disease on February 15, 1858.

According to the story, Bobby refused to leave his owner’s side, and until his own death on January 14, 1872 he would stay by Mr Gray’s graveside, even in the most treacherous weather conditions.

He was commemorated with a statue near the entrance to the graveyard.

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