Pope Meets With Search and Rescue Dogs in St Peter's Square

PHOTO: Pope Francis greets members of a marine search and rescue dogs school at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peters Square at the Vatican, June 8, 2016. L'Osservatore Romano Pool Photo Via AP Photo
Pope Francis greets members of a marine search and rescue dogs school at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, June 8, 2016.

Pope Francis met with marine search and rescue dogs and their trainers in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City today.

The dogs are from the Onlus rescue dogs lifeguard school in Bari, the capital of the Southern Italian region of Apulia. The pope met with them during his weekly general audience.

PHOTO: Pope Francis greets members of a marine search and rescue dogs school at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peters Square at the Vatican, June 8, 2016. LOsservatore Romano Pool Photo Via AP Photo
Pope Francis greets members of a marine search and rescue dogs school at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, June 8, 2016.

Photos show Pope Francis smiling as he greets the dogs, which included a chocolate Labrador retriever and golden retriever, among others.

         
              
                     
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The trainers presented the pope with a red T-shirt from the lifeguard school.

PHOTO: Pope Francis meets with members of a Lifeguard school and their dogs from the Apulian town of Bari, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peters Square at the Vatican, June 8, 2016. Fabio Frustaci/AP Photo
Pope Francis meets with members of a Lifeguard school and their dogs from the Apulian town of Bari, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, June 8, 2016.

A photo was posted to Pope Francis' Instagram account showing him with four of the pooches from the rescue center.

"In nature, in plants and in animals, we recognize the imprint of the Creator," the pic was captioned.

In late 2014, the pope declared that dogs can go to heaven during his weekly general audience.

"One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ," Pope Francis said to comfort a boy whose dog had died. "Paradise is open to all of God's creatures."