HMAS Moreton ship’s company and their four-legged friends have kept traditions alive with a blessing of the animals ceremony alongside the Brisbane River. 

The Royal Australian Navy Band - South Queensland, led everyone in a hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful as dachshunds, labradors, Aussie shepherds and border collies listened, some even barked along. 

Chaplain Stephen Briggs explained the tradition of the blessing of the animals in the Christian faith and the celebration of Saint Francis of Assisi the patron saint of animals.  

“Saint Francis’ work is recognised at this time of year, coinciding with the anniversary of his death we celebrate the influence he had,” Chaplain Briggs said. 

“He was a person of simplicity and joy and all of creation including animals were a part of his life.”

He said this time offered pet owners the opportunity to thank their pets for the many rewards and benefits they offered. 

“Our pets are our friends for life, close companions who love us, share our ups and downs and can often put a smile on our faces,” Chaplain Briggs said.

“They offer us so much more though, they reduce loneliness enhance our health and improve our social skills.” 

Chaplain Briggs wore a special stole imprinted with animals and invited each dog forward to be blessed. 

For keen groodle ‘Jet’, who is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle, this wasn’t his first time being blessed in Moreton

Owners Wendy and Peter Clough said they attended the blessing every year with their assistance dog. 

“We go to every Navy band function as our daughter Bonnie plays the saxophone in the band - this event is a highlight for us, we love it,” Mrs Clough said.