Monday, November 10, 2008

When Humans Embarrass Dogs

by Julia Buckley

Through an odd series of events, my dog was asked to be a groom in a mass dog wedding being held in a suburb of Chicago this weekend. The planners’ aim: to get into The Guinness Book of World Records. Their plan: to encourage dog lovers to dress their unfortunate pets in wedding attire and stand around in the brutal cold in an unorganized cluster until a taped version of “Here Comes the Bride” encouraged handlers to walk their “couples” down a red carpet. It was Theatre of the Absurd, especially when the mayor read some embarrassing vows that included lots of dog metaphors, like “I now pronounce you Bow and Wow. You may bark in celebration . . . .”

I agreed to bring my dog, Simon, because he didn’t have any other plans, and because my friend, whose wife is a filmmaker, asked if Simon would take part in a “mockumentary” that they were going to make about the event. So my sons and I ventured out with our Beagle on a leash. We had to park blocks away because apparently the participants were coming from many lands, and traffic was gridlocked for several blocks. I saw a Great Dane in a tux sitting in the passenger seat of a minivan and realized that we might be in for quite a show.



















From the moment we emerged from the car, our dog seemed to feel that something was wrong. He struggled and whined on his leash. When we reached the area that was the equivalent of a dog city hall, Simon tugged in earnest–not trying to reach his brethren, but to flee from them. He’s never been a fan of other canines. He tugged away, making choking and belching sounds, as we pulled him closer to his little intended, a mini Doberman named Bina, whose poise and sweetness were at odds with Simon’s panting, trembling, and–to judge from the sounds he was making–vomiting.


I joked to my friend John that Simon reminded me of my husband on our wedding day. John looked at me a little differently after that. When the dogs processed down the red carpet, many of them in elaborate finery and at least two sets in specially made carriages, Simon was the only one who seemed convinced that it would end in beheading, and at one point he was actually walking backwards.

At the end of the long aisle he was so nervous I had to pick him up, which is no easy feat. Bina was looking at him with something like disgust, and she seems, in this photo, to be calling him an unsavory name; Simon in turn is showing the whites of his eyes like a spooked racehorse.


The dog wedding did NOT get into The Guinness Book of World Records, and a man came all the way from New York to stand in the cold and tell us that. It did, however, bring dog lovers together in an event that actually cost taxpayer money.

My dog is now back at home, happy to be married yet separated, interested mostly in his basket, his food bowl, and his own private parts.

Meanwhile, somewhere, I’m sure someone is planning another event for which people will have to put human clothes on dogs in a tribute to the human obsession with anthropomorphism.

7 comments:

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Well done, Julia! The look in Simon's eyes alone is worth the price of admission. :)

Darlene Ryan said...

Julia, I'm laughing so hard I don't know what to say! :)

Julia Buckley said...

Yes, Liz--my dog was actually that terrified. He's always been a different little fellow.

Darlene, glad I could provide the laugh for the day. :)

Lonnie Cruse said...

I hate to interfere, but have you considered doggie marital counseling to get the bride and groom back together? Just a thought. Bawhahahahahah!

Julia Buckley said...

It would take a good counselor, Lonnie. Or maybe just a good dog trainer to teach my Beagle some manners. :)

Deb Baker said...

Too funny! Love the photos

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