(Wo)Man’s Best Friend

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They’ve been with you when your phone didn’t ring for a week and when you were squealing over your engagement ring. Now you’re thinking that your best (non-human) bud should participate somehow in your wedding. Think this through very carefully.

First of all is your spouse-to-be on board with having Fluffy standing by your side? The two of them may have bonded over your dating life, or is there that little lingering bit of jealousy that sometimes makes one or the other of them snappish?  Opt for no, if you think either of them will be distressed on your one and only day planned for perfection.

Next up, review who is financing the celebration because they get a say in who (or what) participates. Your mom may think your pet rat is adorable when she comes to visit and Ben is safely in his little condo-cage. But to find him peeking out from under your veil would throw her for a loop. And your guests, who are not as enlightened as you are, could fly into a flurry of action thinking that you are being plagued by vermin rather than comforted by a friend.

Understand that not every one of your guests is a pet person. Some people are allergic and others are just not comfortable around animals. You also have guests that have pets of their own, but since they’ve gone to the trouble of dressing up for your nuptials, an encounter with an over-zealous animal who just wants to share their joy and love could be disastrous. Paw prints, fur, and slobber are not compatible with watered-silk, satin, or sharkskin.

Know that whatever you’ve imagined, things can go wrong. Pets are about as reliable as a three year old child without a nap. They get distracted, they don’t understand what’s going on, they want to be with YOU and only YOU, they get hungry, thirsty, and cranky, and noises of all sorts set them off.

Imagine your cat, Patches, with the sparkly collar and matching leash presenting a pretty picture prancing down the aisle as your ring bearer. Be aware; what she really has her eye on is the leaves in the trellis overhead that are just begging for her attention.  And in a flash she and your rings will be out of reach.

Even your obedience trained golden retriever, Clyde, could have a tough time of it. Sure he can make it through the wedding ceremony as Best Dog, but then comes the reception and he’s not much of a dancer. You see, he may get bored and start looking for entertainment like chasing squirrels or eating every morsel of food that gets dropped accidently or intentionally for his benefit. Which means you could start your honeymoon with a sick dog.

The idea of you riding in on your favorite mount, Harper, is a lovely thought. Harper is a veteran of the show circuit, calm around crowds, loves the applause, and you could ride him through a thunderstorm if necessary. But your usual outfit is not multiple layers of tulle that he thinks are trying to trap his hind quarters. The equine group is one of consistency, they like steady habits and react strongly to change.

Now that you’ve had a chance to consider all the things that could go wrong, there is a lot that could go right if you are willing to do the preparation for your pet and your guests.

  • *You must train your buddy so that they know what to expect and to be mannerly.
  • *You should familiarize them with the venue.
  • *You need someone who will wrangle them for you.
  • *You must prepare for their needs just as you have for other special guests.

If this is more than you can handle, the alternative is to just grab a photo of you (plural or singular) with your fuzzy buddy before or after the vows, which gives you one less thing to worry about and ensures your day is closer to perfect.

And finally, someone’s got to say it: Fluffy, Ben, Patches, Clyde, and Harper do love you and only have your best interests at heart (well, maybe not Patches…) but if they had a choice between going to this party, wearing funny clothes, surrounded by people they don’t know or hanging out at home with the treats… they’d be sending their regrets.


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