See tiny tuxes but no puppy love at doggy weddings
Have you been invited to a puppy wedding? Probably not, but they are becoming more popular.
Some pet owners dress up their dogs in miniature white dresses and tiny tuxes. A few owners believe the barks that signal "I do" reveal true puppy love.
These animal lovers say their pooches can feel real longing for other pets. But experts aren't so sure. Most people agree a animal wedding is just for fun or charity. After all, the groom is drooling and the bride's gown needs tailoring for her tail.
And, "you may now lick the bride" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
The doggy nuptials are gaining attention. After all, Valentine's Day is in February. People are looking for new and unique ways to pamper their pets.
"Pet marriage or weddings are for people," said Dr. Bonnie Beaver. She is executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She also is a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Owners host weddings because it makes them feel good, she said. Most of the weddings get planned for dogs instead of cats. People can't know what dogs are thinking. But studies have shown they do experience emotion, Beaver said.
"Fear is a classic example," she said. "But we don't know if they experience it as you or I would."
Others say it's all about the animals. Even if that means the first dance is a walk around a patch of grass instead a waltz.
"The weddings are for the dogs," said Adina Slotsky. She is the owner and CEO of Hollywood Pet Parties. Though birthday parties, dubbed "barkdays," are much more popular, she said.
When owners plan doggy nuptials, they can go all out. Some call them "puptials." There are groomsmen and bridesmaids of every breed. Some people even get down on all fours. The animal weddings come with flowers and music. Sometimes there is a reception. It can include food that both people and pooches can enjoy. The food ranges from apple slices to baby back ribs with spinach.
All pet weddings move quickly. That is because of animals' short attention spans. With all the distractions, dogs spend lots of time on leashes.
A simple wedding costs about $300, Slotsky said. But it can easily grow to thousands of dollars. That is if guests are plentiful, the venue is top-notch, the food is extravagant, a band plays and a florist creates centerpieces, she said.
The most lavish pet wedding took place in New York in 2012. Baby Hope Diamond, a fluffy white Coton de Tulear, married a poodle named Chilly Pasternak. It was for a charity fundraiser.
That was a lavish ceremony. It came complete with limos and a $6,000 designer dress. But that's not all. There was a sushi chef, mixologist to create "puptails," florist, orchestra, wedding planner and parking valets. Ellen DeGeneres' pet food company furnished a dog food buffet.
The event raised $158,187.26 for the Humane Society of New York. It earned a place in Guinness World Records for the most expensive pet wedding. Everything was donated. Guests spent up to $10,000 for a table of 10.
No studies show pets like or love one another. But some owners stick by the belief that dogs love.
Critical thinking challenge: "Pet marriage or weddings are for people. What does Dr. Bonnie Beaver mean by this statement?