More than 50 thousands pilgrims filled St. Peter's Square during the last General Audience with Pope Francis. But not only people made it to the Vatican: among the pilgrims, there were also...dogs.
For this Italian Water Rescue team, celebrating their anniversary without their dogs wouldn't have been fair...even at St. Peter's.
"We came here to celebrate the 25 anniversary of our association. We wanted to do something special and that's why we came to the Audience with the Pope. All these years, our dogs have saved a lot of lives, and so we thought it was appropriate to take them with us, as a way of honoring their help.”
They are volunteers of the Italian School of Rescue Dogs, the largest European association of it's kind. And though it was their first time in a General Audience, they easily identified with the message from Pope Francis.
"In my opinion, he is always asking people to be available for others, to help and serve them without showing off your authority. Since the main goal of our association is helping others, his words really touched us.”
In the end, they're happy with the warm welcome they had in St. Peter's, and assured that they will be back with their dogs when their association turns 30 years old.