"Whether you're a cat, dog, tortoise or spider, today's your day. Visit St. Anthony to get your blessing." Click photo for a larger view.
The tradition of blessing animals began, so they say, with Saint Anthony [not St. Anthony of Padua and the eponymous California mission, the other one] in the third or fourth century. Today, January 17, is his feast day, and in Madrid and other communities the dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamsters and iguanas are lining up -- along with turtles, sheep, tarantulas, horses and hermit crabs -- to receive their blessings. [As it happens, Anthony is considered one of the first Christian hermits.]
The photo above and the smaller one on the left were snagged from El País, where you can find an article [in Spanish -- Google Translate Beta will be glad to translate for you] about Madrid's celebration. In L.A. the blessing of the animals is held in April. Way too cold in January, she said on a beautiful 63F day ;~)