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PA
World News

Tails wag at cathedral's dog carol service

by Press Association

Hundreds of dogs of all shapes and sizes gathered with their owners in Christ Church Cathedral for Peata's annual dog carol service.

The church was filled with the sound of barking as the therapy dogs took part in the service, which included Christmas hymns, prayers and even a pet blessing.

The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Reverend Dermot Dunne, invited the dogs and their owners to the altar where he asked God to watch over them all in the year ahead.

The annual service raises much-needed funds for the animal welfare charity, which sends volunteers and their dogs to visit people living at care centres, such as nursing homes and hospitals.

PA

Many of the people who benefit from the visits also attended.

Volunteer Gino O'Reilly attended the service with his two German Leonberger therapy dogs Dexter and Magic.

He described the atmosphere at the service as fantastic and said his two dogs had behaved very well.

PA

Mr O'Reilly has been volunteering for almost a decade, taking his dogs to visit people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and colleges.

He said they always bring a smile to people's faces.

"It's just fantastic seeing the joy it gives people," Mr O'Reilly said.

"It's definitely rewarding, very rewarding."

PA

He added: "Dogs can sense when people are down more than humans can.

"They just bring a joy to them and it makes them feel relaxed and confident. and you feel very happy yourself seeing the work being done."

He said Peata was a hugely important organisation and that it was looking for more volunteers.

PA

This year's service was in aid of Peata and the Peter McVerry Trust.

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