A couple who met while out walking with their respective dogs has included five beloved canines in their wedding.Donning custom tuxes and dresses, Teddy, Nola, Ranger, Ruby and Mr Bingley walked down the aisle before Alexandria May, 32, wed her now-husband Jimmy, 36, in 2021. Alexandria, a mental health counsellor, said: ‘It was important to us to include them in the day, since they were a big part of what brought us together.’
Thinking back to how they met, Alexandria said: ‘My sister had actually ran into my husband first. At the time my dog, Teddy, would always bark at men, but he didn’t seem to mind Jimmy.
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‘My sister thought we would get on so a week later I went and met him and I tried playing it cool like I was looking for my sister, and he tried playing it cool too but said we should all meet for a barbecue.
‘My sister pushed me to give him my number and it went from there.’
When the dog lovers met, Alexandria had Teddy, now nine and a Corgi mix, and Jimmy, who works as a superintendent for a pool construction company, had Nola a rat terrier, now 11, and a Pitbull named Lily, who’s sadly since passed away. The couple, from Houston, Texas, then added to their family. Alexandria said: ‘We were given Ruby, a Cocker Spaniel now aged two, and we rescued Ranger, a Dutch Shepard mix, now aged three, off the streets. ‘Mr. Bingley is a six-year-old Pitbull Chihuahua mix, and he is actually my sister’s dog, but he’s such a big part of our lives too, so we wanted him there just like we included all our human nieces and nephews.’
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INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Nearly 80 million U.S. households have a pet, and 42 percent of those households have more than one, according to a 2015-2016 survey by the APPA. There are 77.8 million pet dogs in the U.S. and 85.8 million pet cats.
When the pair began to plan their wedding, it came as no surprise to their family that they were intent on having their dogs there too.
Alexandria said: ‘Everyone close to us knew we always wanted them in our wedding, so they just looked forward to how we would incorporate them in our day.’She added: ‘Our girl Nola wasn’t a huge fan of wearing her dress at first, but Ruby loved it. As soon as we put the outfit on her, she was ready for her photoshoot
‘The girls’ dresses were £25 ($32) and £27 ($34) and the boys had tuxes made which ranged from £39 ($49) each for Teddy and Mr. Bingley and £134 ($168) for Rangers since he’s a larger dog.’
Plan for When You’re Not There. Make sure your pets are provided for during those long hours when you’re away. Dr. Becker suggests technological options. “DOGTV has stimulation and relaxation channels, and there are apps that control contraptions that talk to your pet, or dispense treats. Pheromone sprays can also reduce anxiety, creating that kumbaya atmosphere.” And, of course, daycare and dog walkers are a great way to enrich your pet’s day. “Know someone who wants exercise? Maybe they’ll walk your dog.”
Even with some very cute outfits figured out, the couple was unsure about the practicalities of having not one, but five dogs at their ceremony.
Alexandria said: ‘We were worried at first about who would take care of them while we were getting ready or during the ceremony, so we invested in a dog service to look after them.
She added: ‘Ranger has always been the best behaved, he is such a gentle giant, but I worried about Teddy, our grumpy old man as he doesn’t like many people. ‘Ruby is the boss of our house, and I wasn’t sure if she would behave because she doesn’t like being told what to do, she is very stubborn.’
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But, thanks to a trainer the pair also invested in six months prior, the day went by smoothly.
Alexandria said: ‘The dog trainer came to our house three times a week to work the dogs on walking better, not being super distracted by all the people and general good behaviour and this was a huge help.
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‘The training service we hired had three handlers come out and hang out and walk the dogs around the property to help get their energy out and play with them, so we could get ready.
‘It was a big price tag, but we just looked at it as part of our wedding budget, they are our family and worth the expense.’
There was one small hiccup before the couple said ‘I do’.Laughing, Alexandria said: ‘Jimmy was supposed to hang out with the dogs until the trainers got there.
‘But Teddy, my dog from before we met, somehow got out and ran right into the bridal room, so my brother had to run in to get him, so my husband wouldn’t see me before the service.’
Americans love dogs! 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes
Despite the added cost of outfits, training service and handlers, the couple couldn’t have imagined the day without them.
For anyone engaged who’s thinking about having their pets at the wedding, Alexandria has some advice.
She said: ‘Have a plan for someone to watch the dogs that isn’t a part of the wedding party because you’ll want them to enjoy the day and be a part of all the fun stuff.
‘The best decision we made was having a service help us take care of the dogs who are trained to take care of them, so we never had to worry.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: More than half of all U.S presidents have owned dogs.
‘Also remember to enjoy the day with your pups and accept that something may go wrong, but that’s okay.
‘They are our family, and we couldn’t imagine getting married without them there with us.’
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