Saint’s best friend

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In Salta, Argentina, Iglesia San Francisco, with its prominent campanario (bell tower), is a landmark church. On Aug. 16, 2005, as we approached it, there were people coming from every direction, bringing their meticulously groomed dogs who were adorned with red ribbons. The crowd was so thick, about 2,000 people, it was difficult to get up to the church entrance to obtain a picture spot.

A band arrived, playing all the way. Eventually, a priest appeared on the threshold of the church and gave a general blessing. The crowd sang a few songs, everyone waving white handkerchiefs.

After the blessing, some people took their pets into the church for a private audience with the priest. A local explained that August 16 is the day to celebrate San Roque, patron saint of dogs and those who love them. It was a thoroughly happy, chance experience for us.

ARLENE J. GOODHEAD

La Jolla, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

In Salta, Argentina, Iglesia San Francisco, with its prominent campanario (bell tower), is a landmark church. On Aug. 16, 2005, as we approached it, there were people coming from every direction, bringing their meticulously groomed dogs who were adorned with red ribbons. The crowd was so thick, about 2,000 people, it was difficult to get up to the church entrance to obtain a picture spot.

A band arrived, playing all the way. Eventually, a priest appeared on the threshold of the church and gave a general blessing. The crowd sang a few songs, everyone waving white handkerchiefs.

After the blessing, some people took their pets into the church for a private audience with the priest. A local explained that August 16 is the day to celebrate San Roque, patron saint of dogs and those who love them. It was a thoroughly happy, chance experience for us.

ARLENE J. GOODHEAD

La Jolla, CA