PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Humane Society honors more than 4,000 pets cared for at its animal shelter every year.

Reverend Jonathan Thomas of St Paul’s Episcopal Church blessed the animals, staff and community pets. This is because the first week of November is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.

Kitty Yanko with the Peoria Humane Society said they’ve been doing animal blessings for 28 years.

“Having your pet blessed is a special way to honor them and say you love them. I feel like this blessing offers people hope that pets do matter and that you know they’re a part of our lives and we really recognize that human-animal bond is strong,” said Yanko.

She said they’ll be hosting pet pictures with Santa at Hounds and Company in Junction City on Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.