Nearly all my couples are dog owners, dog rescuers or even dog trainers! It’s a popular trend these days for couples to involve their dogs in the ceremony: ring bearers, accompanying the bride down the aisle or just being part of the day. But of course my couples are enjoying a destination wedding and there simply isn’t luggage allowance for beloved furry family members. However, I can promise you that they will most definitely get a mention in the ceremony because if I didn’t, they would know…
I too am a dog owner and rescuer so I get it. Anyone who thinks a dog is ‘just a pet’ has never shared their home with one and probably should not approach me to write their wedding ceremony! So I get it, these beings are family members and we love them with all our hearts. So let me share the love and introduce my own pooches with you.
Of the three housemates currently sharing couch space with us, Louli was the first (far right). He came to me at a time when I was fostering dogs for a local animal welfare organisation here in Rhodes called ‘Lucky Paws’. He was very skinny, absolutely exhausted and had a broken back leg which had partly healed, but not in a great way. For 3 days we didn’t hear a peep out of him. He slept, he ate and then he slept again. On the fourth day he started barking and he hasn’t shut up since. He was my first ‘foster fail’, we just fell in love with the annoying, noisy, smelly rat bag with the funny back leg and the tail that can’t wag unless he moves his whole body. He has the biggest character in the smallest body and he is simply adored.
Louli wasn’t planned, I never wanted a small dog. We live out in the country and I wanted a big dog, one that might be mistaken for a guard dog. So I looked through the local shelters and chose Morti, a 4 month old, jet black, pointer cross. He would be big and forboding and a deterrent for any uninvited visitors. Yeah right. He’s big , but distinctly lacking in the foreboding department. He’s terrified of thunder, loud noises and the fly swat which induce shaking, drooling and trying to get on my lap, which is awkward if I’m in the bath. He fawns over all new visitors, especially male ones and has the sweetest nature you could ever want in a dog. He has been the most trainable, he’ll do anything for a ball and he’s lucky Louli filled the guard dog remit.
And then there is Puk. Oh, I hear you say, was his name inspired by a midsummer nights dream? No. He was named after Justin Bieber’s hamster. Puk was foster fail number 2 (oh but there could have been so many more!) And he found us, literally. He was just a puppy when he and his brother wandered up to our house from the farm down below. They couldn’t seem to find their way back (!) so the plan was to foster them until they could be rehomed either locally or abroad. We called him ‘Aspro’ in the beginning – ‘white’ in Greek. Very unimaginative, but I told the girls not to get attached because we wouldn’t be keeping him. We rehomed his brother quite quickly and ‘Aspro’ grew up under the watchful eye of Morti and the bossy bark of Louli. During this time we had many foster puppies of all ages from ‘lucky Paws’. They came to us in all states and many separated from their mothers too young. And Puk raised them all. He showed an amazing instinct for nurturing and took all new waifs and strays under his paw, giving them much affection, direction and the odd telling off. And then ‘Aspro’ had an interested adopter. We felt sick. Our hearts hurt. ‘I told you not to get attached,’ I wept. So we did the only sensible thing. We kept him and gave him a real name. Sort of.
I don’t have enough time these days in the summer to foster strays, but Puk is still nurturing us, loving and affectionate to all. And these three characters are very much a part of our family. So yeah, they deserve some airtime. And so do yours, so you can guarantee if they can’t be there on your big day they will most definitely get a mention in your ceremony!
Lucky Paws is an animal welfare organisation on the island of Rhodes. They are small, but amazing and have rehomed hundreds of strays both locally and abroad. If you want to help them have a look at their facebook page – you can donate to them directly, their food suppliers, vets or maybe you will even find a new family member!