Love is in the air, so is dander

Twixie (the bride) and Cowboy, both Brussels Griffons, at their wedding at Twixie’s home in Dallas, on December. 4, 2021. (Photos: NYTimes)
Twixie and Cowboy, both 2-year-old Brussels griffons, got married in December at the bride Twixie’s backyard. She wore an appliquéd lace bodice with a ruffle of layered tulle at the waist. The groom donned a handmade silk-cotton tuxedo and top hat.اضافة اعلان

In front of a makeshift chapel set up for the occasion, a ceremony was led by Sam Palmeter, whose Brussels griffon, Grinch, attended and is a friend of the couple. Fig, another Brussels griffon, served as a flower girl.

Later, four-legged guests enjoyed a meal of puppy chow, as well as a puppuccino bar and activities including a ball pit.

The nuptials cost about $25,000. Twixie’s owner, Tara Helwig, 37, a fitness coach in Dallas, and Cowboy’s owner, Makayla Wilson, 22, an epidemiology data analyst in Phoenix, split the bill.

The two and their canines met at a Brussels griffon hangout in February 2021. The dogs soon became “boyfriend and girlfriend,” said Helwig, who started planning the wedding with Wilson after the owners and their pets visited each others’ homes.

Of the 40 Brussels griffons invited, 37 attended. “It just turned out to be way grander than anticipated,” Helwig said.

Wilson, who handled the guest list, said that she and Helwig intended to throw “the most epic dog wedding.”

“We were not just going to do a photoshoot,” she added. “We wanted to do more than that.”

Celebrating a union of two animals, or even an animal and a human is not a new concept. But as the pandemic forced many human couples to put ceremonies on hold, more people began to “think outside the box and write their own rules, and that’s especially true when it comes to pet weddings,” said Hannah Nowack, an editor at the wedding planning and registry website The Knot.

Last June, employees of Village Pet Supplies & Gifts in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, hosted the “Holy Catrimony” of Toby and Noelle, two local cats, at the store. Noelle’s owner, Melissa Sulima, an attorney in Pittston, Pennsylvania, had the idea after her cat became enamored with Toby, who lives at Village Pet Supplies, in videos that were shared on its Facebook page.

Following a string of successful in-person dates, every human who witnessed their chemistry agreed that the cats belonged together, “and it just exploded from there,” said Sulima, 42, who adopted Noelle in 2019 from Rescue Warriors Cat Rescue in West Pittston, Pennsylvania.

The couple was wheeled into their wedding on June 19 inside a red wagon. Noelle wore a dress handmade by a co-founder of Rescue Warriors, and an employee at Village Pet Supplies led a ceremony that included reciting both cats’ vows. Afterward, cupcakes and cider were served to the 40 human guests.

“They had it decorated beautifully,” Sulima said of the venue. “I was blown away.” She added that the two felines were only married for six months: Last December, Noelle died suddenly of complications from hyperthyroidism; she was thought to be around seven- years-old.

Despite efforts to find another companion for Toby, who is 10, Sulima believes he will never remarry. “Toby is Noelle’s husband ’til the day he passes,” she said.

To attend the cats’ nuptials, human guests were asked to donate $15 to Rescue Warriors.

As with any wedding, experts say that anyone organizing a ceremony for pets or animals should prioritize the needs of the couple.

“If they don’t like to be dressed up or they find crowds of strangers stressful, it’s better to skip the wedding dresses, the guest list, and anything else that would make them uncomfortable,” Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement.

In considering their needs, others note not to discount companionship. Ellie Laks, the founder of animal sanctuary The Gentle Barn, staged a wedding between two cows, Dudley and Destiny, at its facility in Christiana, Tennessee, in 2016. Laks, 54, compared their relationship to “a storybook” romance, explaining that, if animals could talk, many may choose to say ‘I do’ for the same reasons as humans.

“Humans and animals have the same desire for love and friendship, the same ability to feel sadness, happiness, and fear, and the same need for a good life,” she said.

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