HONOKA‘A, HAWAI‘I ISLAND—On Sunday, February 3 at 9 a.m., everyone is invited to bring their furry or feathered friends to a special service in the Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Social Hall.

"Our pets are often more like family members," says Rev. Bruce Nakamura of Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple."We take care of them and have good relationships with them. Especially for those who are alone, or those widowed, pets can bring comfort and companionship. We would like to extend our regular monthly service to include pet friends and family members."

Nakamura has previously offered similar services at Kona Hongwanji, welcoming cats, dogs and other animals to their regular monthly gatherings. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to include their pet friends.

Taking place in the month of February, the service also celebrates the time when Shakyamuni Buddha fulfilled his ministerial career, and at the age of 80 achieved complete Nirvana.

“People may also honor the memory of their pets,” said Nakamura. “They can bring ashes, photos, or other mementos and put in front of the room to show their appreciation and love.

The Pet Appreciation and Memorial Service is open to the public and all are welcome, regardless of faith, breed, or religious background. Pet owners are asked to bring well-trained pet friends on leashes or in appropriate carriers. Refreshments and fellowship to follow.  Potluck contributions are encouraged.