Pet par­tic­i­pa­tion

An­i­mal lovers are get­ting their fur ba­bies in­volved in spe­cial oc­ca­sions such as pro­pos­als and wed­dings

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - By Zhang Yi­hua

Ap­ple Liu, an out­pa­tient child and fam­ily ther­a­pist in the US, was sur­prised to see a pic­ture with a heart and the words “Ap­ple, will you marry my papa?” tied with a red string around the neck of Sap­phire,

her beloved cat, on an af­ter­noon in De­cem­ber 2016. “I was very touched,” she said.

As she was read­ing the tag, Miguel Es­cobedo, her boyfriend, got on one knee and took out the ring be­fore he asked her if she would marry him.

Even though she would have said yes no mat­ter how he pro­posed, she was happy that he in­cluded her cat in the pro­posal, be­cause her cat means a lot to her and she treats her like a child.

The idea of in­clud­ing pets in wed­dings and other spe­cial oc­ca­sions is be­com­ing more pop­u­lar, with many rel­e­vant videos be­ing viewed and up­loaded on YouTube. There are many cou­ples, like Liu and Es­cobedo, who want their pets to play a part in their ro­mance, whether it is a pro­posal or a wed­ding.

In or­der to help pets ful­fill their roles dur­ing these oc­ca­sions, here are some sto­ries and tips on how to in­te­grate them into a spe­cial mo­ment and cre­ate mem­o­ries to last a life­time.

A spe­cial role

Liu noted that her cat liked Es­cobedo a lot. She ex­plained that her cat usu­ally hid from peo­ple when they came to visit but she came right up to greet Es­cobedo the first time they met and even jumped on his lap the sec­ond time she met him. Es­cobedo then asked the cat if he could co­par­ent her as her papa and she re­sponded with a meow, so he be­lieved that he got her ap­proval. Liu went on a va­ca­tion sev­eral days be­fore De­cem­ber 11, 2016, and when she came back from her trip, Es­cobedo picked her up at the air­port When they got home, Sap­phire went to Es­cobedo first, be­cause he was the one who took care of her when Liu was gone. He then picked up the cat and handed it to her. “I did not see the love tag at first but it did not take long for me to no­tice,” she said. “It was a to­tal sweet sur­prise.” They would cel­e­brate their union with an out­door wed­ding in Oc­to­ber. Un­for­tu­nately, since Sap­phire is scared around most peo­ple, she could not ac­tu­ally par­tic­i­pate in the

wed­ding, but they plan to show pic­tures of her with the pro­posal tag around her neck.

Although Liu’s cat would not ac­tu­ally be at the wed­ding, there are those whose pets play a part in the wed­ding cer­e­mony, like Kaylie and Max Wright.

They got mar­ried in Texas in Septem­ber 2015. When they were plan­ning their wed­ding cer­e­mony, they knew that Ash, their lit­tle Chi­huahua, had to play a part in it.

They had been rack­ing their brains about the role Ash could play, and it oc­curred to them that he could act as a ring bearer, but they had to per­suade the ho­tel to let them bring a dog to the cer­e­mony.

When they were say­ing their vows, Ash, dressed in a suit, trot­ted into the cer­e­mony to de­liver rings for the cou­ple. “He was so adorable and hand­some; all the guests were pretty much melted,” Mrs Wright said.

Some good friends who were present told her that they had never seen any­one in­clude a pet in their wed­ding cer­e­mony be­fore and it was very spe­cial.

She said that cre­at­ing the spe­cial mo­ment came with hard work for them and their pet. In or­der to get ready for the cer­e­mony, Ash was as busy as the cou­ple was on the big day. He got up and got a bath in the early morn­ing, and was dressed in his suit by 7 am.

A fam­ily mem­ber

Mrs Wright’s fa­ther bought Ash for her as a gift for her fif­teenth birth­day. Since then, Ash has never left her side. When she was a school­girl, she was very shy and did not have many friends, so she had no one to turn to ei­ther to share her hap­pi­ness or to pour out her sad­ness. Feel­ing very lonely, she grad­u­ally started to talk to Ash every­day af­ter school. It didn’t bother her that he could not un­der­stand and talk back to her, and she saw it as an ad­van­tage be­cause he would not judge her. “He was such a good lis­tener,” she said. “And as time passed, I be­gan to be­lieve that he could un­der­stand me, as if there was a spe­cial bond be­tween us, es­pe­cially when he winked.” She could also trust him with se­crets, be­cause he could not tell them to any­one. When­ever she told Ash that she did great on ex­ams, he would al­ways be there to jump up and down to cel­e­brate with her, and when­ever she felt down and cried, he would be there to curl up be­side her to give her strength.

“He was also the first one who knew about my first crush, and he was there when Max pro­posed to me,” she said. “Along the way, he has be­come one of my most loyal friends and dear­est brother. I could not imag­ine him not be­ing by my side on my big day.”

For Lau­ren Zhang, a 27-year-old HR man­ager in Guangzhou, Guang­dong Prov­ince, and her fi­ancé, Boo Boo, their bull­dog, was a wit­ness of their love. They bought him in 2012, and from then on he had been play­ing a cru­cial role for both of them.

When they were happy, Boo Boo was there to sniff their necks or feet back and forth to make the at­mos­phere even sweeter. When they fought, he, with notes or an “I’m sorry” gift tied around his neck or paw, of­ten acted as a mes­sen­ger to ex­press one’s re­gret or apol­ogy to the other.

When they moved in to­gether in June 2014, Boo Boo fol­lowed as the third res­i­dent in the apart­ment and that un­veiled the happy life of a fam­ily of three.

Ev­ery morn­ing when they have break­fast, they also pre­pare some­thing de­li­cious for him to eat so that they can en­joy the meal to­gether. In the evening, af­ter din­ner, the three of them hud­dle up un­der a du­vet on the sofa to watch their fa­vorite shows on TV. “He is prac­ti­cally like our baby,” she said.

They pre­pare to get mar­ried in the com­ing sum­mer. As they are plan­ning for their Western­style wed­ding cer­e­mony, they want to in­volve Boo Boo and are busy dis­cussing all the pos­si­ble ways, rang­ing all the way from him be­ing a flower boy to a ring bearer.

Mak­ing it hap­pen

Lau­ren Ma, the mar­ket­ing man­ager of a wed­ding com­pany based in Bei­jing, no­ticed that in­volv­ing pets in ro­man­tic oc­ca­sions, like pro­pos­als, wed­ding photo shoots and wed­ding cer­e­monies has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar among young cou­ples in re­cent years.

She ad­vised that cou­ples could in­cor­po­rate their pets when they pro­pose. For ex­am­ple, pets could wear a ring or a sign say­ing “Will you marry me?”

She added that it would also be a good idea to in­clude pets in wed­ding photo shoots if they could not be in­volved in the wed­ding cer­e­mony. In this way, both cou­ples and their pets can have their beau­ti­ful close-ups, and the photo al­bums would be a won­der­ful mem­ory.

Ac­cord­ing to her, although there are peo­ple who do not think pets should be in­cor­po­rated into wed­ding cer­e­monies be­cause of the risks in­clud­ing them pee­ing or bark­ing, it seems that young peo­ple do not care much and that there are lots of ways to help them in­cor­po­rate their four-legged friends into their big day.

She cited that dogs could of­ten stand in for flower boys or girls. More­over, they could also be ring bear­ers, with rings be­ing at­tached to their col­lar or fas­tened to a neck­lace around their neck.

She said that cou­ples could also dress their pets in a cute hat, bowtie, flower crown or even in a tuxedo, but she said that they should make sure that the ac­ces­sories fit prop­erly and would not cre­ate any dis­com­fort for their pets. “Keep the ac­ces­sories sim­ple so that they will not pose a chok­ing haz­ard to pets,” she said.

She sug­gested that cou­ples should con­sider their pets’ per­son­al­ity be­fore giv­ing them a role, like whether their pets would en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence and feel com­fort­able around the guests.

“There is no guar­an­tee that pets will be­have how they are ex­pected,” she said. “In­clud­ing them in the cer­e­mony takes a lit­tle ex­tra work and plan­ning.”

She ex­plained that if the pet would have a spe­cific role in the wed­ding, it would need to be trained.

For ex­am­ple, if the pet is go­ing to be the ring bearer, the cou­ple could get it used to wear­ing the things that the ring would be at­tached to and bring it to the des­ig­nated per­son. If pos­si­ble, the cou­ple could also bring their pet to the wed­ding venue so that the place would not be com­pletely strange to the pet on the big day.

She rec­om­mended that cou­ples hire a pet sit­ter to guide their pet in or­der to help it de­velop a level of com­fort around strangers, which most of the guests would be, and to take care of their pet dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

She added that if cou­ples de­cide to let their pets take part in the cer­e­mony, they need to no­tify the guests be­fore­hand so that any­one who has al­ler­gies to pets can plan ac­cord­ingly. “If the pet is overly out­go­ing or eas­ily dis­tracted, use a short leash,” she said.

Zhang and her fi­ancé plan to have an out­door wed­ding and let Boo Boo play the part of be­ing the ring bearer at the cer­e­mony. She has started train­ing him for the star­ring role.

“My ring would be at­tached to a string that would be tied around Boo Boo’s neck. I will have him start wear­ing it as soon as pos­si­ble so he can get used to it,” she said.

“I would not like any glitches; I want my dog present and I also want a per­fect wed­ding.”

Send your tips, in­sights or pho­tos to metrobj@glob­al­times.com.cn, or call our news line: +86 10 6536 7512 Ad­dress: The Global Times English Edi­tion, 2 Jin­tai Xilu, Chaoyang Dis­trict, Bei­jing 100026. Pets are play­ing a role in some cou­ples’ ro­mance.

A lit­tle ex­tra work and plan­ning are needed if cou­ples want to in­volve their pets in their wed­ding cer­e­mony.

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