Fam­ily cel­e­brate as Coco the dog gets chris­tened

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - THOMAS DEACON Re­porter thomas.deacon@waleson­

IT was the fam­ily chris­ten­ing that had ev­ery­thing. Dozens of guests were dressed up and in party spir­its. The buf­fet was lav­ish and there was wine and beer on tap.

Ahead of the chris­ten­ing, lit­tle Coco wore a new dress and was be­ing pam­pered by the guests who’d brought gifts.

Ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect from a stan­dard chris­ten­ing... ex­cept this was all for a dog.

Owner Elaine Lyons, 57, ini­tially came up with the idea as a bit of a joke.

But, a few weeks later, friends and fam­ily gath­ered around the three-year-old Pu­galier as an of­fi­ci­a­tor poured holy wa­ter on Coco from a plas­tic bot­tle in the shape of the Vir­gin Mary.

Elaine, from Merthyr Tyd­fil, said: “I never thought I would be like this.

“My neigh­bours al­ways buy her things and bother with her. They come over with dog treats and look af­ter her, so one day I just said ‘why don’t you be­come Coco’s god­par­ents?’

“It started off as a bit of a joke but here we are.”

Dressed in a pink tutu, Coco seemed con­tent with ev­ery­thing go­ing on around her, as the of­fi­ci­a­tor poured a splash of wa­ter over her head while guests stood around watch­ing.

We l l-w ish­ers ap­plauded and later lined up to present their gifts to Coco and Elaine.

The god­par­ents, cou­ple Deb­bie Smith and Emidio Franca, who live across the road, stood by like any other proud god­par­ents at any other chris­ten­ing.

The cer­e­monies of­fi­ciant Karen Meyrick, a friend of Elaine’s for around 23 years, said: “I have never done any­thing like this in my life – I only just found out to­day I’d be do­ing this!”

De­spite the ob­vi­ous amount of love for Coco, Elaine ad­mit­ted that she pre­vi­ously never both­ered about own­ing a pet.

Mum-of-three Elaine, a worker at the Prince Charles Hos­pi­tal, said: “My son’s dog had pup­pies and Coco was the runt of the lit­ter. She was so lit­tle she could fit in your hand.

“I said to my son, ‘Please can I have her?’ It’s been three years now.

“I can’t imag­ine life without my Co­copops now.”

Elaine’s hus­band Colin died sud­denly from a heart at­tack around eight years ago, aged just 46.

The cou­ple had been to­gether for 28 years and mar­ried for seven years.

Elaine said: “He had a heart at­tack when he was 38, and then he died sud­denly when he was 46. I was left in the house on my own and it was hor­ri­ble.”

But now Coco is clearly very much a part of Elaine’s fam­ily, with pic­tures of her dog up on the wall next to pic­tures of her fam­ily.

Elaine, who has four grand­chil­dren, said: “I never both­ered with any­one else af­ter my hus­band died. I have got beau­ti­ful friends around here and a lovely close fam­ily, plus Coco. What more do I need?”

She added: “Give me a dog og over a man any day!”

Elaine pre­sented Coco’s god­par­ents with an en­graved keyring each, mark­ing the day.

God­mother Deb­bie Smith, 56, said: “I fell in love with Coco when I first saw her.

“We love see­ing her, she came around for Christ­mas din­ner last year. She was dressed up as Santa.”

Al­though she’s only just been chris­tened, a ‘wed­ding’ is on the cards for Coco, with Elaine plan­ning a mar­riage with her neigh­bour’s dog Al­fie in the com­ing months.

Elaine said: “Coco has turned my life around. It can be a very lonely life some­times, but not with her.”


Elaine Lyons with her dog Coco

Elaine with guests at the chris­ten­ing. Be­low, some of Coco’s gifts

God­par­ents Deb­bie Smith and Emidio Franca

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