”I was so sick of dating websites by that point,” she said with a sigh. “I told myself I would go on one
more date, but if it didn’t work out, I was giving up.
“We had already ‘matched,'” my bride continued, “but when I saw the picture of him with his two dogs, I immediately knew I had to send a message.
”We had our first date a few days later…and the rest is history!”
Diesel, Rory and Paisley with their humans | West on Jade Photography
When it comes to weddings (and most other things, actually), our culture is hyper-focused on looks. Couples spend countless hours planning every detail, from the color palette to the cake display to the cocktail menu cards.
But when a couple includes their dog(s) in the wedding, it’s about a lot more than just how cute they look.
We all know who is meant by “man’s best friend,” and we all know people who are crazy about their dogs (aka…well…all dog owners). We all know humans have co-evolved with dogs in a long-standing reciprocal relationship (to the tune of 14,000 years).
Dot with her humans | Ashley Olafsson Photography
Again and again, though, I’ve seen dogs play a very special role in the relationship between two people.
Like the bride I described earlier who “just had a feeling” about her groom after seeing his picture, we often imagine dog lovers to be warm, caring and affectionate.
If we have a dog already and our new partner bonds with them, it feels like an affirmation of the person or relationship.
And I’ve worked with countless couples for whom getting a dog together was the significant turning point in their relationship. They feel like a family, with their dog as their “fur-baby.” (No judgement, folks…I’ve got a fur-child, too.)
Moose with his humans | The Gowans Wedding + Lifestyle Photography
Many couples tell me that after getting a dog, they could see their partner as a parent…as the future mother or father of their children.
But why is that? If we look a little deeper, I think there’s something very important dogs do…for us, and our relationships.
As my fellow interfaith minister, yoga teacher and friend Sam Wilde wrote in her Valentine’s Day newsletter:
“Our love is not awakened by another person’s worthiness.
Our love is awakened inside of us.”
Yes, certainly dogs give us a lot of love. More importantly, though, dogs awaken love inside us.
Like children, dogs bring out our sense of ourselves as generators of love, rather than merely receivers of it.
Instead of something we have or we lack, something we give or we withhold, love is something we are.
First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!
Sometimes love just wants to go out for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise. It will run you around the block
and leave you panting, breathless. Pull you in different directions
at once, or wind itself around and around you
until you’re all wound up and you cannot move.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.
How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog
by Taylor Mali