Believers and Retrievers: pets taken to church for special blessings in Madrid

Dogs, cats and even a hamster were blessed outside a Madrid church on Friday, to celebrate the Feast of Saint Anthony of Abbot, Spain's patron saint of animals.

The pets waited in queue with their owners before being blessed with holy water by priests.

The Catholic tradition is meant to bring the animals health and protection for the coming year.

A crowded annual mass also takes place on the day, where even the pets are welcome inside the church.

Believers are also meant to buy bread rolls for Saint Anthony, in a festival that has been part of the Madrid calendar since the 1980s.