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Going to church is going to the dogs in Spain

Photos by Susana Vera / Reuters

A dog rests on a church pew before mass at San Anton Church in Madrid on Jan. 17, 2012.

The Associated Press reports that dogs, cats, rabbits and even turtles, many dressed in their finest, trooped into churches across Spain on Tuesday in search of a blessing on Saint Anthony's Day. Pet owners lined up around the block of the Church of San Anton in central Madrid behind blue metal barriers to wait for a priest to sprinkle holy water on their animals.

"In the name of San Anton, receive this blessing," the priest, decked out in white robes, said as he blessed the animals presented to him in the doorway of the church.

A cat sits on its owner's shoulder after being blessed outside Madrid's San Anton Church.

A girl holds her turtle after getting it blessed outside San Anton Church.

Pet lovers in Madrid brought their animals to church for an annual blessing. TODAY.com's Alex Witt reports.