Monday, February 27, 2012

I Do, I Do--As Long as My Dog (or Chicken) Is Invited

Of course, we already think of our pets as part of the family, so it is only natural that we would want to have them involved in our weddings. According to an article in the New York Times, more couples are including their dogs or cats in their weddings. One woman even talks of carrying her pet chicken, instead of a bouquet, down the aisle!

"We get asked about including dogs in weddings all the time," says Wendy DeCarlo-Young, dog trainer with Dog Obedience Group. DeCarlo-Young, who was named the best dog trainer in the city by Chicago Magazine in 2011, offers some tips for those thinking of including Fido:

First, be sure to check that the venue (church, hall, etc.) will allow a dog in the building, in the grounds, or in the ceremony.

"Then, it all comes down to the dog," she says. "Will the dog feel comfortable with all the people?" she asks. "It's best to have a handler for the dog, and to make that someone the dog is very familiar with. This takes all the pressure off of the bride and groom." It also allows someone to focus entirely on the dogs, she points out.

DeCarlo-Young suggests that that handler then be responsible for taking the dog home after the ceremony--unless, of course, the dog is allowed at the reception site.

 The next issue is training. "The dog should have basic skills," she says. "The worst thing would be to have an over-excited dog who would be jumping on people, knocking things over, or chewing flowers."

And then there is attire. If you are going to dress up your dog, DeCarlo-Young strongly suggests that you practice having the dog wear the special collar or bow tie long before the event.

Follow this advice and you can expect many happy returns!


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