San Anton was born in Egypt in 251 AD.
His parents died when he was 18 or 20 leaving him with 300 acres of fertile land and a young sister to care for.
He sold all his possessions and gave the proceeds to the poor and lived the life of a hermit.
He died at the age of 105 in 356 AD and apart from being the patron saint of domestic animals, he is also the patron saint of basket makers, brush makers, butchers, grave diggers and those who suffer from skin diseases.
Thursday, 17 January, was San Anton's day when, on church steps all over Spain, priests blessed pets and livestock either on his day or the following Sunday.
San Anton is the patron saint of Hondon de los Frailes, a little rural village nestling in the Baix Vinalopo mountains above Albatera and Crevillente in the Costa Blanca area. The little Ermita (chapel) on the outskirts of the village is dedicated to San Anton and on Sunday afternoon a special Mass was said for the village’s animals. Father Joseph blessed horses, dogs, cats and even a canary with holy water and then, true to tradition, San Anton was serenaded, as he has been for the last 40 years.
There was also a ceremony at the Imaculada church in Torrevieja where dogs, birds, terrapins and even teddy bears were blessed by the priest, Manuel Martínez Rocamora.