Tag Archives: birthdays

When ‘woof’ means ‘I do’

When Barb and Frank Prevort of Menomonee Falls decided to breed their German shepherds, their 5-year-old granddaughter objected.

“You can’t have babies unless you’re married,” the girl said. So her grandparents staged a wedding for the two pooches in their backyard.

About 30 human friends attended the nuptials, which were performed by a family friend. The Prevorts’ other dog — a white collie — stood up for bride and groom. The Prevorts’ granddaughter served as a flower girl.

The dogs, who’d been taught to bark on command, responded to their vows with a “woof.” Well, actually Jutta answered for both of them, Barb Prevort said.

Friends brought the newlywed couple gifts. Cake and Champagne were served.

The only downside to the wedding came later, when Jutta gave birth to puppies that were half-German shepherd and half-white collie. 

“My granddaughter was very mad,” Barb Prevort said. “She told me that Teddy should get a divorce.”

When the Prevorts’ dogs got hitched in 2002, “people thought we were crazy,” Prevort said. But today, doggy nuptials are blossoming, as people find new and unique ways to pamper their pets. Canine bar mitzvahs, known as “bark mitzvahs,” also are a growing trend.

When pet owners dress up their dogs in miniature white dresses and tiny tuxes, some believe the barks that signal “I do” reveal puppy love.

These animal lovers say their pooches can feel real longing for other pets, but experts aren’t so sure. Most people agree a wedding is just for fun or charity when the groom is drooling and the bride’s gown needs tailoring for her tail. After all, “you may now lick the bride” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

“Pet marriage or weddings are for people,” said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Owners host weddings because it makes them feel good, she said. People can’t know what dogs are thinking, but studies have shown they do experience emotion, Beaver said.

“Fear is a classic example,” she said. “But we don’t know if they experience it as you or I would.”

Others say it’s all about the animals — even if that means the first dance is a walk around a patch of grass instead a waltz.

“The weddings are for the dogs,” said Adina Slotsky, the owner and CEO of Hollywood Pet Parties. Still, birthday parties, dubbed “barkdays,” are much more popular, she said.

When owners plan doggy nuptials, aka “puptials,” they can go all out and stage some real tail-waggers. There are groomsmen and bridesmaids of every breed — and even some people who get down on all fours — flowers, music and a reception with food both people and pooches can enjoy, ranging from apple slices to baby back ribs with spinach.

All pet weddings move quickly because of short animal attention spans. With all the distractions, dogs spend lots of time on leashes.

A simple wedding costs about $300, Slotsky said. But it can easily grow to thousands of dollars if guests are plentiful, the venue is top-notch, the food is extravagant, a band plays and a florist creates centerpieces, she said.

The most lavish pet wedding took place in New York in 2012 when Baby Hope Diamond, a fluffy white Coton de Tulear, married a poodle named Chilly Pasternak as a charity fundraiser.

It was a ceremony for the ages, complete with limos, a $6,000 designer dress, sushi chef, mixologist to create “puptails,” florist, orchestra, wedding planner and parking valets. Ellen DeGeneres’ pet food company furnished a dog food buffet.

The event raised over $158,000 for the Humane Society of New York and earned a place in Guinness World Records for the most expensive pet wedding. Everything was donated and guests spent up to $10,000 for a table of 10.

One thing pet owners don’t have to worry about is divorce. But because animals have unique personalities just like people, there is no guarantee two animals will get along, Beaver said.

No studies show pets like or love one another, but “it is very common for two or more individual animals to spend a great amount of time together and show signs of stress if separated,” she said.

But some stick by the belief that dogs love, including Carol Bryant, co-founder of Wigglebutt Warriors, the fundraising division of the dog health website Fidose of Reality.

“I do believe that dogs can love and be in love with each other,” said Bryant, whose cocker spaniel married another dog for a company fundraiser.

Today in History, Monday, Dec. 15

Today is Monday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2014. There are 16 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Dec. 15, 1944, the U.S. Senate approved the promotions of Henry H. Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall to the five-star rank of General of the Army and the nominations of William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King and Chester W. Nimitz as Admirals of the Fleet. U.S. forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines, encountering little resistance from the Japanese. A single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller, a major in the U.S. Army Air Forces, disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris.

On this date:

In 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

In 1814, the “Hartford Convention” began as New England Federalists opposed to the War of 1812 secretly gathered in the Connecticut capital. (America’s victory in the Battle of New Orleans and the war’s end effectively discredited the Convention.)

In 1864, the two-day Battle of Nashville began during the Civil War as Union forces commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas attacked Confederate troops led by Gen. John Bell Hood; the result was a resounding Northern victory.

In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, South Dakota, during a confrontation with Indian police.

In 1938, groundbreaking for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C. with President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking part in the ceremony.

In 1939, the Civil War motion picture epic “Gone with the Wind,” starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, had its world premiere in Atlanta.

In 1964, Canada’s House of Commons approved dropping the country’s “Red Ensign” flag in favor of a new design, the “Maple Leaf” flag.

In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.

In 1974, the horror spoof “Young Frankenstein,” starring Gene Wilder and directed by Mel Brooks, was released by 20th Century Fox.

In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo).

In 1991, an Egyptian-registered ferry, the Salem Express, hit a reef and sank in the Red Sea; at least 470 people died, although some estimates are much higher.

In 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that had dragged on for over a decade.

Ten years ago: Time Warner Inc. agreed to pay over $500 million to resolve federal securities fraud and accounting investigations of its America Online unit. American telecommunications giants Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. announced they would merge in a $35 billion deal. Pauline Gore, mother of former Vice President Al Gore, died in Carthage, Tennessee; she was 92. The boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby,” starring Clint Eastwood (who also directed) and Hilary Swank, was put in limited release by Warner Bros.

Five years ago: World leaders formally opened a U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen. The Washington, D.C. City Council voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Boeing’s new 787 “Dreamliner” jet went on its long-delayed first test flight, lifting off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington. Evangelist Oral Roberts died in Newport Beach, California, at age 91.

One year ago: Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in his childhood hometown, ending a 10-day mourning period for South Africa’s first black president. Michelle Bachelet easily won Chile’s presidential runoff. Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine, 96, died in Carmel, California. Harold Camping, 92, a California preacher who’d used his radio ministry and thousands of billboards to broadcast the end of the world and then gave up when his date-specific doomsdays did not come to pass, died in Oakland, California.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 81. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 75. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 72. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 68. Actor Don Johnson is 65. Actress Melanie Chartoff is 64. Movie director Julie Taymor is 62. Movie director Alex Cox is 60. Actor Justin Ross is 60. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 59. Movie director John Lee Hancock (Film: “Saving Mr. Banks”; “The Blind Side”) is 58. DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile is 55. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 54. Movie producer-director Reginald Hudlin is 53. Actress Helen Slater is 51. Actress Molly Price is 49. Actor Michael Shanks is 44. Actor Stuart Townsend is 42. Figure skater Surya Bonaly is 41. “Crowd-hyper” Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) is 37. Actor Adam Brody is 35. Actress Michelle Dockery (TV: “Downton Abbey”) is 33. Actor George O. Gore II is 32. Actress Camilla Luddington (TV: “Grey’s Anatomy”) is 31. Rock musician Alana Haim (HYM) is 23. Actress Stefania Owen is 17.

Thought for Today: “Silence is more musical than any song.” — Christina Rossetti, British poet (1830-1874).

Today in history: Dec. 10

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2014. There are 21 days left in the year. 

Highlights in history on this date: 

1520 – Martin Luther publicly burns the papal edict demanding that he recant or face excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church. 

1719 – The first recorded sighting of the Aurora Borealis takes place in New England. 

1810 – Napoleon Bonaparte annexes northern Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Lauenburg and Lubeck, Germany. 

1898 – The Treaty of Paris between United States and Spain ends the Spanish-American War with Spain ceding Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. 

1899 – British forces are defeated by the Boers at Stromberg, South Africa. 

1906 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for helping mediate an end to the Russo-Japanese War. 

1931 – Social worker and pacifist Jane Addams becomes a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the first American woman so honored. 

1936 – King Edward VIII of Britain abdicates with the intention of marrying American divorcee Wallis Simpson. His brother, the Duke of York, becomes King George VI. 

1948 – U.N. General Assembly in Paris unanimously adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Six members of the Soviet bloc, Saudi Arabia and South Africa abstain. 

1950 – U.N. Mideast peace mediator Ralph J. Bunche is presented the Nobel Peace Prize, the first black American to receive the award. 

1958 – The first domestic passenger jet flight takes place in the United States as a National Airlines Boeing 707 flies 111 passengers from New York City to Miami. 

1963 – Zanzibar becomes independent within the Commonwealth. 

1964 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize. 

1967 – World’s first commercial thermonuclear blast takes place in the U.S. state of New Mexico, to give access to natural gas from underground deposits. 

1973 – Austria closes its transit center for Jews leaving the Soviet Union. 

1976 – In Lebanon, a truce accord ends fighting between Muslims and Christians in the south, clashes among Palestinian factions, heightened tensions among rival Christian parties and a Syrian crackdown against the Lebanese press. 

1980 – Milton Obote is sworn in as Uganda’s president, becoming the first African president ousted in a military coup to recapture the presidency. He was ousted by the army for the second time in 1985. 

1983 – Democracy returns after seven years of dictatorship in Argentina, as Raul Alfonsin is sworn in as president. 

1988 – Chinese troops shoot into crowds of Tibetans demonstrating in Lhasa for human rights. 

1991 – Yugoslav federal army pulls out of Zagreb, and Croatia and Serbia exchange hundreds of prisoners, but fighting continues elsewhere in Croatia. 

1992 – Troops open fire on a truckload of Somalis who barrel through a French checkpoint, killing two and injuring seven in the first bloodshed of the U.S.-led military mission in Somalia. 

1993 – African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela says he and President F. W. de Klerk are bound by the Nobel Peace Prize they accepted to spend the rest of their lives building a democratic, nonracial South Africa. 

1994 – Leaders of the Western Hemisphere’s 34 democracies pledge to negotiate the world’s largest duty-free trade zone by 2005; South African President Nelson Mandela signs a constitution guaranteeing equal rights to all races. 

1997 – Palestinians begin their first census in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and are attacked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for violating Israeli sovereignty in East Jerusalem. 

2001 – U.S. authorities charge a California bus company with illegally transporting tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border. 

2006 – Hundreds of thousands of Hezbollah members and their allies flood central Beirut, demanding changes in the Lebanese government’s makeup as soldiers strengthen protection around the offices of the Western-backed premier. 

2007 – Cristina Fernandez is sworn in as Argentina’s first elected female president. 

2008 – Britain’s obsession with reality television reaches new heights with the broadcast of the assisted suicide of a 59-year-old terminally ill American at a Swiss clinic. 

2009 – President Barack Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize, offering a striking defense of war at the same time as he makes an impassioned case for building a “just and lasting peace.” 

2010 – The eccentric leader of the brutal La Familia drug cartel is believed to have been killed in a shootout during two days of fighting between federal police and gunmen that terrified civilians across a western Mexican state. 

2011 – Tens of thousands of people hold the largest anti-government protests that post-Soviet Russia has ever seen to criticize electoral fraud and demand an end to Vladimir Putin’s rule. 

2012 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the international community of “deafening silence” in response to recent vows by the head of the militant group Hamas to fight on until the Jewish state is destroyed.

2013 – President Barack Obama energizes tens of thousands of spectators and nearly 100 visiting heads of state at a memorial  service in Johannesburg with a plea for the world to emulate Nelson Mandela, “the last great liberator of the 20th  century” in a eulogy for the prisoner who became peacemaker.

Today’s Birthdays: 

Ada King Lovelace, English mathematician and world’s first computer programmer (1815-1852); Cesar Franck, Belgian composer (1822-1890); Emily Dickinson, U.S. poet (1830-1886); Melvil Dewey, U.S. librarian/inventor of the Dewey Decimal System (1851-1931); Mary Norton, English children’s author (1903-1992); Susan Dey, U.S. actress (1952–); Kenneth Branagh, British actor (1960–). 

Thought For Today: 

I dislike arguments of any kind. They are always vulgar, and often convincing — Oscar Wilde, Irish poet, dramatist, author (1856-1900).