Monday, August 8, 2011

Pneuma Center: Pets in Weddings

Pneuma Center: Pets in Weddings: "We recently officiated a delightful backyard wedding ceremony where the ring bearer was the couple’s well-behaved Jack Russell terrier, Sam...."

Pets in Weddings

We recently officiated a delightful backyard wedding ceremony where the ring bearer was the couple’s well-behaved Jack Russell terrier, Sam. There’s something about this small breed of dog that exudes joy and vivacity—a blend of emotions that would be welcome at most any wedding! It was almost as though Sam understood he had a special role to perform and was determined to live up to everyone’s expectations.  And who are we to argue?  According to an interesting study out of the UK, dogs have the unique ability among animals (of the non-human kind) to detect human moods and read body language.

More and more we encounter couples who express interest in involving a pet in their wedding ceremony.  Some ask about it but elect not to follow through with involving their pet because they are concerned about how their family members will perceive it or they are not confident the pet will behave well in front of an audience.  In the end, it comes down to a tradeoff between how much factors such as these matter to you versus how important it is to you to involve your pet in the ceremony—and that’s a personal decision.

One ceremony in particular stands out in our minds where the decision to involve pets was a no-brainer.  From the moment when we first met Maria and James we knew there was something special about them, though it was about half way into our initial meeting with them before we learned what that “special something” was.  They shared with us that they were very much in love—that part was obvious—and that they wanted to have a small poolside ceremony at James’s parent’s home, but there was one special requirement: the ceremony absolutely must include Maria’s two dogs—Max and Rosie.  In fact, the entire wedding party would consist of no more than Maria and James, the two dogs, and the officiant—Lon in this case.   It was also important to them that the person they chose to officiate their ceremony was a dog lover and was not hung up about having animals in a wedding ceremony.  When they felt comfortable that we met both criteria they then shared the “why” behind their wish to involve Rosie and Max in the ceremony. 

As tears welled up in their eyes Maria and James told us that their decision to get married was a bittersweet moment in their lives.  A couple of years prior to when we first met them Maria had been diagnosed with bone cancer.  Her prognosis at the time was not encouraging, but there was a ray of hope.  Maria was able to obtain two specially-trained “service dogs”—Rosie and Max—that would be with her as constant companions, giving her comfort and aid in doing certain simple tasks that would eventually become harder and harder for her to do on her own.  By the time she and James met, Maria and the dogs had become inseparable.

At the ceremony, Rosie and Max took their positions and—like Sam—played out their roles to perfection.  Thanks to a close friend who was in the costume business, Rosie was dressed in a maid of honor outfit and Max was dressed in a best man tux.  Rosie and Max were an essential part of the ceremony and everyone present at the ceremony knew it—including Max and Rosie!