2006-07-27 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets...

by Joanne Anderson

It was a storybook wedding even though the Bride wore a harness over her gown, the Maid of Afghan kept shaking off her veil, the Best Lab stole the squeaky toy "Hairy Winston" ring during the vows, and the Groom growled at the Flower Girl over a cookie at the receptionall part of a gala affair last week when 2 tiny pups, my Charlotte and my veterinarian's Chez-ster, tied the knot at an u n l i k e l y chapel, Massapequa Hospital for Animals.

Our dogs were engaged for about 6 months. The Groom's tux, first ordered in extra small, was too tight and delayed the nuptials. It had been an arranged marriage from the moment that Dr. LaPorta suggested that they would make a cute couple. I knew that Chez-ster was a great "catch". He came from a fine family, and he had such charisma. He had accompanied his Dad on his veterinary lecture at my school, and dazzled the 3rd grade audience. Besides, who wouldn't want her dog to have her veterinarian as a father-in-law? After all, he had spayed her as a puppy.

We'd have to find a date to sandwich the brief, multi-breed, non-denominational ceremony and even briefer reception between morning visits and surgery at the busy hospital. Doesn't that sound romantic? July 19th, the day chosen, was perfect because it coincided with Charlotte's 3rd anniversary of adoption from the pound, shortly after her SPCA rescue from a collector.

So much to do; so little time. The bride's dowry consisted of a 6 month supply of Frontline and heartworm meds. Charlotte registered at Tiffany's and PETCO, but not the AKC because she and her fianc are mixed breeds. The couple (ghost) wrote a "pre-pup", invitations and their vows. As for the menu, Fed -Ex brought the canine cake from the famous Three Dog Bakery in Kansas City while our sheet cake was local. I'm incensed because that baker corrected my "Muzzle-Tov" inscription. Since when have cake decorators turned into "Spell Checkers"? I filled the vaccine frig with champagne for the toast but learned a tough lesson. You can't fit all this food, plus Afghan hound cut out cookies and paper goods on one veterinary exam table.

The human guests could dress casually or in scrubs; the bridal party had to be formal. Chase, the Best Lab (and Groom's brother), arrived in a tee shirt and tie, a laid back look, so typical of his breed. Rosie, the Flower-Tzu, was stunning in her hand made lilac pinafore. The Maid of Afghan was my problem. The Beauty Queen had too many outfit choices. Sequins would be sweltering on a humid 95 degree day. Her groomer tied her hair up in pink feathers to match a ruffled chiffon dress but instead we decided on a pleated teal satin gown, long strand pearls, and a matching hat that I had worn in my brother's wedding 20 years ago. The hat looked much better on her. Almost tradition, she, not her sister the Bride, had something borrowed; something blue.

Whipped cream or butter cream? Carob or peanut butter? As wedding planner, I drove the staff and Dr. Schatz, owner of the catering hall, crazy with requests. His waiting room was perfect for the ceremony. The cathedral ceiling created great acoustics for "Here Comes the Bride", and the benches easily converted into pews. We ran a paper towel runner for the procession. However, no white doves were released in the hospital because of the threat of avian flu.

When no one objected to their union, Dr. Pacchiano, the justice of the pets, concluded with: "By the power vested in me by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), I n o w p r o nounce y o u , Pomeranian and Cavalier." Then the Groom stomped the biscuit, the Best Lab barked the toast, and the Bride tossed her bouquet. Dr. LaPorta filmed the proceedingssoon to be released on video/DVD in a store near you.

Epilogue to the "Puppy Love" wedding: The newly weds had planned a honeymoon cruise from Chesapeake Bay Retriever to Newfoundland. After last week's scary mishap in the Atlantic on the Crown Princess, they cancelled. They don't want to be like those poor dogs that went down with the Titanic.

Our special poster puppies featured this week are at BideAWee (516-7854079) 3300 Beltagh Ave., Wantagh (right next door to the Town of Hempstead Shelter). This litter of adorable Shepherd mix puppies was rescued as part of the continuing search for Vivi, the Westminster Whippet. Ironically in the 6/22 column, I mentioned that a mother dog had been caught on tape at one of the feeding stations set up for Vivi. She was seen hiding her newborn pups in a tree in a St. Albans cemetery.

These are the pups, now 7 weeks, spay/ neutered at Bide-A-Wee, and ready to go. Searchers saved all 9 "Vivi Angels", and Bide-A-Wee was so kind to answer my call immediately to take them. Only 6 need shelter placement. The pups were given "tree" names, like Holly and Hickory, which recall their roots. (Team Vivi is working on trapping, spaying and placing their Mom now.)

Bide-A-Wee Shelter also has many adult dogs and cats, waiting a long time for forever homes including: Jake"a gorgeous 4 _ month purebred Bearded Collie puppy, liver & white, amber eyes. He must go to a breed experienced home; "Hope"female 1 _ yr. Lab mix, loves water sports, knows commands, good with older kids; "Giambi"-a 2 yr. Boxer/Lab mix rescue from Hempstead Shelter, likes dogs, better in a home without kids; and "Nefertiti"a sweet, senior tortoise shell cat. Her owner passed away.

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