Paws Pantry is a pet blessing this Christmas

published on 13 Dec 2023

There was a canine cacophony, not to mention a feline furore when Granton Salvation Army in Edinburgh hosted its first ‘pet blessing’ ceremony leading up to Christmas.

The ceremony followed on from The Salvation Army’s Paws Pantry pet foodbank, which takes place every fortnight at the Granton church on Wardieburn Drive, Edinburgh, serving a large community in the north of the city.  

When times are tough the foodbank is in place to ensure people are not forced to give up their pets as costs increase.
Lorraine Duncan, community programme manager

Owners can relax, pets permitting, in the community cafe - a warm and friendly space where people can meet for a chat, plus free tea, coffee and cake before taking advantage of the foodbank and the optional pet blessing afterwards.

Lorraine Duncan, community programme manager, runs The Salvation Army’s Granton centre and said: “The Paws Pantry pet foodbank has been a huge success since it was launched in 2021. When times are tough it ensures people are not forced to give up their pets as costs increase. For many locals who attend, their animal is a friend, companion or much-loved family pet – the thought of giving that up is stressful and heartbreaking. If we can prevent that happening, then we have succeeded.

“Our wellness cafe and digital hub provide a comprehensive range of support including digital skills, employability, mental health support, financial inclusion, and diet and nutrition.  

“We deliver support in seven other locations in Edinburgh to ensure the support is accessible city wide and via our partnerships, debt advice, advocacy for benefits, food and fuel aid are all available.”  

Andrew Howe, chaplain at The Salvation Army church in Granton, delivered the blessing and said: “This ceremony is a way of acknowledging the blessing that a pet can be for someone who is lonely or isolated, the happiness and learning animals bring to children or simply the selfless joy of looking after one of God’s creatures.”

The Granton Corps is a centre for The Salvations Army’s digital skills and employability services. Funded by the Good Things Foundation, the digital skills team provide a range of support, either one-to-one, or in group workshops, in person or remotely.

An older woman with silver hair wearing a blue long sleeved top is sat at a table set and decorated for Christmas. She is talking to a blonde salvation army officer.

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