Some might describe the idea as barking mad but a shrine in Tokyo is offering blessings to pets to protect the fluffy creatures from a ‘ruff’ year ahead.

Pet owners have been flocking to the Ichigaya Kamegaoka Hachimangu shrine since it introduced New Year ceremonies for dogs and cats in 2000 — and numbers have gone through the woof in recent years.

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“Well, they’re part of the family,” 43-year-old Yuki Mitsui told AFP, hugging two miniature dachshunds that were proudly sporting tiny fur-trimmed kimonos.

“It gives me peace of mind that these little fellas can also receive an amulet that will protect them for the year.”

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