My dog is marrying another dog in a real wedding, officiated by a real minister, with real witnesses on television and with a reception immediately following.
You have no idea how good it feels to get that off my chest in the first paragraph.
I was one of those people who used to toss an eye roll when I heard someone was bequeathing their dog’s devotion unto another canine to have and to hold forever and ever. There has got to be something slightly ajar in the mental psyche of said individual, I thought. I mean, seriously, two dogs tying the knot, and not in the rope-toy sense?
And then something happened that turned me into one of those people.
I grew up. I looked at my birth certificate and realized, “Wait a minute — that’s MY name on there. It’s my life!” (Cue Bon Jovi.)
In three years, I’ve managed to raise approximately $14,000 for Cocker Spaniels in need, along with some help from friends, followers, fellow dog lovers, and rescue folks. In addition to a love of all things canine and a career to devoted to such (I write for and am the PR manager at BlogPaws, for paw’s sake), what keeps me up at night is trying to think of ways to fundraise for dogs. Seriously, ask my dog; he sighs heavily when I toss and turn.
So when I visited the residence of fellow Cocker mom (and five-time rescuer) Val Sorensen, we had an idea. What if our dogs got married — and instead of gifts, anyone who wanted to take part in the happy couple’s nuptials could donate money to a rescue instead? Do you think that might work? “I do,” Val said. “And I do, too,” I concurred.
So on a warm August day, my dog, Dexter, made a three-hour trek from Pennsylvania to Connecticut for a beach proposal to his now-fiancée, Zoe, who was rescued by Life’s Little Paws the day she was scheduled to be euthanized. Dexter, coincidentally, rescued me from myself. He’s my “never again,” the one who came after my first dog passed away. He taught me to open my heart again. Now my little boy is getting hitched.
Ideally, every dog mom and dad, past or present, or anyone who has ever had a dog touch his or her life, is invited to share in our joy. The mission of our dog wedding is simple: To fundraise and have fun!
The inspiration for this affair stems from my attendance at the “Pet Wedding of the Century” in June in New York City. Pet lifestyle expert, author, humanitarian, and television personality Wendy Diamond hosted the Guinness World Record-breaking extravaganza at the Jumeriah Essex House for her pooch, Baby Hope Diamond, all in a fundraising effort for animals in need. Now, I pay it forward.
I was contacted by award-winning pet couturier Anthony Rubio, who is the official designer of the gown and tuxedo for the bride and groom. Rubio has been on Today, CNN, and NBC, and in USA Today, to name a few. Imagine my elation then and now: Little rescue dog Zoe in a gorgeous princess gown and my little man in a tuxedo!
I felt like Dolly Parton with her coat of many colors: proud as I can be and ready to share the news with the world. And then the fur started to fly — without any dogs involved! I lost Facebook fans (the horror!), some folks stopped following me on Twitter (gulp!), and some just stopped talking to me entirely (heavy sigh).
Here are few of my favorite naysayer comments and my responses.
They say: “This is sick. I am no longer following your page on Facebook and regardless of the fundraising, this is just wrong.”
My retort: “Don’t let the doggie door whack you when you unfollow me.”
They say: “Dogs shouldn’t get married and I don’t do weddings.”
My retort: “While you’re busy judging others, a few skeletons in your own closet fell out. Yikes!”
They say: “Hope for humanity: officially lost” (on my blog’s Twitter feed).
My retort: “I once was lost, brother, but now I’m found. I’ve got a dog wedding to plan.”
Kardashians, Cinderella, and Say Yes to the Dress: We are a culture obsessed with fairy tales coming true. I used to wear my T-shirts over my head and pretend I had a bridal headpiece on. I was 8 years old. I’ll be 44 in December, and this is my life. It’s kind of sad that I need to defend my right to fundraise for dogs, by dogs, and with dogs. This is supposed to be a joyous occasion. Smile, right?
While walking my dog recently, I realized he kicks up his little feet after he does his nighttime business. I need to follow his example: Kick some dirt over this crap and move on.
On June 30, 2013, two little dogs will be united in a real wedding, officiated by a real minister, with real sentiment behind it. I’ll be traveling to Connecticut a few times to plan over these next 10 months, and as I test each appetizer, decide on colors, and determine what font looks best on the official program, warm fuzzies and a sense of pride will fill my heart. No name calling, insults, or mudslinging, please. Save that for the election later this year.