Dog Swallows 3-Inch Knife

Barking Dog Credited with Saving Family from Fire

SOUTH PARK – A Pittsburgh-area family is crediting their quick-thinking pooch with alerting them to a fire in time to escape the flames.

Raven, an American bulldog, noticed the flames inside her South Park home early Sunday morning and started barking.

The dog’s parking rousted the family and they were able to get out of the house safely. The home was badly damaged.

Ryan Bougher tells KDKA-TV he’s thankful Raven saved his family. He says Raven is “an amazing dog.”

Fire officials say the blaze apparently started near the home’s fireplace. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Uggie the Dog Wears 18-Carat Gold
 Bone Bowtie at Oscars!
By Justin Ravitz -

What a dashing dog!

Uggie, the canine costar of The Artist, looked his absolute best ascending the podium to accept the Best Picture Oscar alongside director Michel Hazanavicius, stars Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and other cast and crewmembers.

For his big moment, Uggie wore a custom-made Chopard bowtie of 18 carat gold and satin. Designed by Chopard's Co-President and Artistic Director Caroline Scheufele, the dog-boned shaped charm featured Uggie's name; now that Uggie's big night is over, the piece will be auctioned off with proceeds going to The Amanda Foundation, which helps homeless animals.

Sadly, the 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier (who is the constant companion of Dujardin's character, George Valentin, in The Artist) is retiring from film due to a mysterious neurological disorder, one he suffered through while shooting the film.

"It comes and goes," trainer Omar Von Muller told the Daily Mail recently. "It is a shame this has happened when he is getting the biggest success of his career, but we feel the best thing to do is to retire him after the Oscars."

Director Michel Hazanavicius added to Reuters that his flick would "never have been the same movie without the dog."

Sarah Clifford helped train Uggie for the film and marveled about his dramatic skills. "There was a take where Uggie actually reached out and tried to pull the gun out of his (Jean's) hand with his mouth. He put his mouth on Jean's hand and started pulling his hand. We were so stunned. He wasn't told to do that."

Dog in Recovery After Devouring 3-Inch Knife

A bull mastiff in Massachusetts is recovering after having the cutlery surgically removed

ROSLINDALE, Mass. — A 118-pound bull mastiff from Roslindale had to have a knife removed from her stomach.

The dog, named Bean, swallowed a three-inch knife and a wedge of cheese.

"She ate a whole wheel of cheese. The plastic that it was wrapped in, she ate everything. It was about a pound of cheese," said, Sean Berte, Bean's owner. "I looked for [the knife] in the couch and underneath the couch, and underneath the rugs, but I knew she had eaten it."

Doctors at Angell Animal Medical Center had to perform surgery to remove the knife.

“When Bean was presented, we took radio graphs and confirmed that yes indeed there was a knife there,” said Dr. Michael Pavletic, director of surgery at Angell Memorial Hospital. “And based on its size we had to remove it surgically.”

This is not the first time the doctors have seen something like this.

“We see a lot of foreign bodies and some of them are seasonal, for instance during the summer, during cookouts, we see a lot of corn cobs, peach pits, even teriyaki sticks what are used for barbequing,” said Pavletic. “But we’ve removed anything from socks, undergarments, towels, parts of the rug.”

"She's eaten everything. Anything she can get her hands on she'll eat. But the knife is what kind of really put the fear in me," said Berte.

As for Bean, she is fine and at home recovering.

Pets Get Own Ambulance

Operating for just a few weeks, Emergency Pet Transport has logged about a dozen calls so far.

Mike Arsenault’s idea begs for an “of course!” once you hear about it. It’s like the self-sticking envelope, the wet-wipe floor mop, the one-cup coffee maker.

And so after a bit of research, during which he found nearly no businesses of the type, just a couple of outfits in other states that had medical transport vans for pets, the medical-supply salesman found an ambulance for sale in Ohio and bought it. And before long, Arsenault and his wife, veterinary cardiologist Wendy, had a new aspect to their Bonita Springs practice.

Operating for just a few weeks, Emergency Pet Transport has logged about a dozen calls so far.

The ambulance had just 40,000 miles on it, Mike Arsenault said, and was outfitted for the medical devices needed. There was a way to hook up oxygen, to store gauze and a gurney and sharps and a defibrillator. “No muzzles,” but just about everything else, Wendy said, smiling.

The pets to whom she administers emergency care are always “patients” when she talks about them.

Which is fitting, since many people do consider their pets family members, particularly in this area with its large retired population.

“We hear very commonly ‘I don’t have children. This is my child,’” said Wendy Arsenault, who followed four years in college earning an undergraduate degree in accounting with four years of veterinary school, an internship and three years specialty training in cardiology. Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists on Old 41 Road includes six animal doctors.

She traced her career choice back to the family’s 9-year-old English springer spaniel who had a heart condition. “That was probably my first memory of a veterinary visit. She had an EKG.”

She’s been in business in Bonita Springs for five years, the past 1½ years as a 24-hour emergency clinic.

Most of her business comes from other veterinary offices, when the problem requires specialized care. If the family’s vet calls and believes emergency transport is needed, a qualified staff member talks the caller through stabilizing the animal and being prepared for anything that might happen before the Emergency Pet Transport arrives. The service is offered all over Lee and Collier counties. It may take 15 or even 30 minutes to convey instructions, arrange payment and get the ambulance dispatched. Meanwhile, staff at Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists is readying supplies and items for the pet’s hospital arrival. The ambulance, usually driven by Mike Arsenault, can’t put on flashing lights or ignore traffic laws.

Fancy George, a 9-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is home now with Betsy and Ed George. But earlier this month, she had something wrong with her throat, said Ed George, and it required a call to Arsenault’s ambulance service, and then an operation.

The Georges of Bonita Springs were very relieved to know that the pet EMS service was available. “She’s one of the family,” said Ed.

Her favorite thing to do, he said, is “eat.” Thanks to the emergency service, she can indulge again.

Many owners spare no expense when it comes to treating four-legged family members.

In June 2010, an Associated Press and survey about pet health expenses showed a majority of pet owners would pay $500, fewer than half $1,000. A full third said they would pay $2,000 or more. Willingness to spend money on pet health held true regardless of the owner’s income. Those who made $50,000 or less annually answered about the same as those earning more.

Also according to the AP and, owners spend an average of $505 annually in veterinary bills.

Wendy Arsenault says she offers only services that the family’s regular veterinarian does not. That would include at-home euthanasia, if the regular vet doesn’t handle it.

Oxygen-dependent animals, post-operative patients who need overnight care and critically ill or injured animals benefit from this service, which can cost anywhere from $95 to “hundreds of dollars,” she said, depending on the travel time and what the pet needs.

Cat That is Rescued Becomes Rescuer:
Saves Owner’s Life
Howard Portnoy -

Rescuing a pet is good karma—and not just for the animal. A Wisconsin woman learned this lesson firsthand.

On February 18, Amy Jung suffered a diabetic reactive seizure that could have been life-ending were it not for Pudding, one of two cats she had adopted 10 days earlier.

According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, the 21-pound, orange-and-white cat sensed something was wrong with his owner and sprang into action:

Pudding planted his weight on her chest and, when he could not wake her, began swatting her face and biting her nose.

It worked. She woke up and the convulsions stopped long enough for her to call to her son for help. When Ethan did not respond to the calls, the cat ran to his room and jumped on his bed.

Ethan later told her that he didn't know anything was wrong until the giant cat landing on the bed woke him up.

Amy and Ethan Jung did not intend to rescue a cat when they drove to the Door County Humane Society on February 8. Their goal, rather, was to spend some quality time with the kitties.

But when Amy saw Pudding lying on a counter, she made the decision on the spot to adopt him and his pal Wimsy. Little did she suspect at the time how fortuitous a move it

The day after her episode, she spoke with her doctor about the seizure and the cat's unusual actions. The doctor told her he had heard of animals alerting their owners to health crises but had never known of anyone who had actually experienced this phenomenon.

Amy is sold on Pudding’s undeniable health benefits and has decided to register him as a therapy animal. She told reporters that Pudding will also sit at her feet and meow when her blood sugar is low.

Man Charged for Stealing His Cat
Back from Animal Shelter
Written by Lee Hermiston / Iowa City Press-Citizen

A photo of Justin Kaufman's daughter and their cat, Smokie. Kaufman was charged with fifth-degree theft for taking the cat out of the Iowa City Animal Shelter. / Photo special to the Press-Citizen

An Iowa City man has been charged with stealing his cat back from the animal shelter after it was impounded.

However, the man charged said the incident was “extremely ridiculous.”

“I’m going to fight it,” said 31-year-old Justin Kaufman.

According to an Iowa City Police criminal complaint, Kaufman, of 1716 Grant Wood Drive, went to the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center at 1:45 p.m. Feb. 25 to retrieve his cat. Police said Kaufman’s cat had been impounded for running at large.

Kaufman said his cat, Smokie, has gotten out a few times before. Kaufman had a chip installed in the cat after one of the escapes so animal services knew who Smokie belonged to in order to avoid future charges. The last time Smokie got out and was taken to the animal shelter, Kaufman said he didn’t have to pay any fee to retrieve him. Another time, there was no fee, but he did pay for a $10 rabies shot, Kaufman said.

This time, however, animal shelter staff advised Kaufman that he had to pay a $35 fee before he could have his cat back. Kaufman said he mentioned to the employee that he was not charged the last time his cat was picked up. When the employee went to ask a manager about the potential fee and turned her attention to another customer, Kaufman took his cat from a cage, put it in a carrier and returned home.

According to the criminal complaint, Kaufman entered a restricted area to retrieve the feline.

Kaufman said that three hours after getting Smokie back, the police showed up at his door. An officer threatened to charge him with burglary from a government institution and take him to jail.

Police said Kaufman admitted taking his cat was “not the best thing to do.” He was fined $95 for having a cat at large, plus a $35 fee from the animal shelter. Police charged him with fifth-degree theft, a simple misdemeanor.

Kaufman said he will plead not guilty to the charge.

Smokie belongs to “a loving family,” Kaufman said. However, Kaufman said the cat has been sent to live with his sister in Dubuque to avoid any further issues.

“I can’t be getting charged with bogus, trumped up charges every time he gets out,” he said.

Dog Psychic Tells All
Marsia Mason -

Want to know what's REALLY happening around Moorestown? Just ask Lulu!

While Marsia Mason is off inserting herself into other people’s columns, her dog Lulu, a famed advice columnist and psychic, will answer questions, read minds and agitate the locals. Below are some of the more interesting exchanges she’s had over the last few weeks.

Dear Miss Lulu: I am wondering what qualifies you to give advice, considering your less-than-stellar background? Love, Just Blundering

Dear Blunderbuss: Thanks for writing to a dog! The less-than-stellar background you refer to is a slight to cardboard boxes everywhere. Yes, I was thrown from a moving car, and yes, I started my life in Camden. But look where I ended up! Moorestown! If that’s not a success story, I don’t know what is. I got my "advice column" degree at Rutgers/Rowan Camden. I am "sensing" some danger in your future, due to your lack of a real name. Avoid soft pretzels, binge drinking and judgmental Jersey girls.

Dear Lulu: I’ve noticed people don’t like your owner very much. Is Marcy as vain, obnoxious and opinionated in real life? Sincerely, Town Whiner

Dear Whiny: Oh no! Marsha’s much worse. Just recently, she knocked down an old woman in the Wegman’s parking lot AND stole her groceries. She has never done a good deed in her life. She also seems to think writing a column entitles her to prate on and on about herself and her opinions. I worship her, although I wish she would get her roots touched up and give me more Milk-Bones.

Dear Lulu: The political scene in Moorestown has gotten very contentious. Have you ever considered running?

Of course I’ve considered running and DO run every afternoon on Memorial Field. Speaking of which, the drainage is so bad on the field it is carrying away my owner’s backyard. I am planning on resuscitating the snack bar there in an effort to fund my campaign in the mayoral race this fall. Surely an attractive dog like me has a shot at running this burg. My platform will be “No Plastic Fields.” I don’t know one pooch in town that likes that stuff.

Hey Lulu, it has been rumored you plan on buying one of the million-dollar liquor licenses. What kind of restaurant do you plan on opening? Love, Wiener Dog

Dear Wiener: Because the term "fine dining establishment" is open to interpretation, I am planning to open a “Doggy Diner” at the Mo’town Mall. The cuisine will appeal to both humans and canines, especially with multiple cocktails featuring amusing names like “Downward Dog” and “Dirty Water-Bowl Swill.” More and more people are treating their dogs as spoiled children, so this venture is sure to be successful and will greatly validate the widely held notion that Moorestown is "going to the dogs."

Lulu! Have you been following the GOP debates on TV? Love, Rush.

Love Rush! What a great name! That’s exactly what I get every time I watch one of the Republican debates. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy watching the fabulously wealthy Mitt and the charmingly adulterous Newt duking it out on my very own HDTV. I love them both because of their one-syllable names, which BTW, would be perfect names for dogs. Hard for me to get behind Santorum, though. He’s a cat man.

Lu-Lu Licious! Any reading suggestions? I’m thinking us dogs need our own book group! xoxo Bark-ly.

Dearest Barkly: They don’t call me the “Book Group Whisperer” for nothing! Dog-themed books are always popular, as are books about cats dying slow and painful deaths. Bear in mind when you are drafting members, it helps to like the participants somewhat. Try not to include blowhards who think their opinions are more significant than yours and anyone with a hyphenated last name.

Dear Loo Loo: What is the future of Main Street? I love your column, although I absolutely despise you. Fondly, Where-Wazz-I?

Dear Fuzzy Wazzy: Are you off your meds this week or are you just totally obtuse? I thought so! My predictions about Main Street can be found on my website, www.Mo’ Long story short? I predict someday, one of Mo’town’s elected officials will actually do something about Main Street, but not until 2021, when the new town hall is built. In Maple Shade. Next to the custard stand.

Hey you! Heard you have some insider information on the lie-berry smell. What’s it all about, doggie? Sincerely, Alfie.

It’s about famine, disease and squalor. It’s about peace in the Mideast and a pork chop in every pot. It’s about medical marijuana and the worst drug of all: the nicotine in cigarettes. Sorry! I got sidetracked for a moment. Is that a squirrel? Where was I? It is called a li-brary, not a lie-berry. And really … how would you expect a poorly maintained, leaky building to smell? Of course we would all prefer it smell like prime rib or perhaps a nice Sunday roast, but the people that use the library on a regular basis know it is a wonderful resource and pay no attention to the smell. Heck! One patron has suggested bottling the fragrance and selling it to raise money for a new facility. Oh! Sorry! That wasn’t a patron, it was a member of town council.

After standing in for Marcie this week, Lulu can be found residing in the doghouse. All further questions and comments will be considered for publication at a later date.

About this column: Marsia Mason has been writing internally for many years. She is grateful to be given a forum for her rants, opinions and recipes, although not necessarily in that order.

Pudgy Pets are Problematic
By KATHY ANTONIOTTI - Akron Beacon Journal

Gabby doesn't exactly walk anymore, she sort of ambulates on her daily strolls. As she moves, her "love handles" sway from side to side.
Shamefully, we have to admit that we can no longer pass her undulating fat rolls off as rippling hind-quarter muscles.

Our rescued Jack Russell terrier was a trim and svelte 16 pounds when we got her about seven years ago from a foster home near Dayton where she landed after being found running loose along a busy highway.

Today, as an elder dog, she weighs about 20 pounds. For a dog her size, each pound she gained equates to about 20 pounds on an average woman who is 5 feet, 4 inches tall.

We cheered last week when Gabby's doctor told us she had lost four ounces since her weigh-in last September, as trivial as that might seem. We were content that she hadn't gained weight.

In her defense (as well as our own), I have to say that for an 11- or 12-year-old dog, she does very well. Although she takes daily medication for a chronic illness that gives her a ravenous appetite, the added bulk doesn't seem to slow her down.

Gabby's doctors have never expressed much concern over her weight but we know we need to watch what she eats, even when she pleads for more food with those big brown eyes.

We aren't alone when it comes to overfeeding our pet. Apparently as Americans, we don't seem to understand that we are killing our pets with kindness by giving in when they want more.

Pet obesity is becoming an epidemic in America, according to a report from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention based on the findings of its fifth annual veterinary survey. The results, issued earlier this month, noted that 94 million animals - 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats - are classified as obese or overweight according to veterinarians.

But the fact that many people seem unaware that their pets are overweight is called the "most distressing" finding in the survey, with 22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners saying their overweight animals are fine.

And although almost 95 percent of surveyed pet owners recognize that obesity is a problem, the number of obese pets continues to grow, according to the APOP.

"We've made fat pets the new normal," said the agency's president and founder, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward.

Obesity is now the leading health threat of pets, he said.

The simple truth is, being overweight has caused many of the same health problems in animals as it has in their human counterparts. Arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and kidney disease cause pets untold misery and cost pet owners millions of dollars in medical bills each year.

"The reality 1/8is3/8 most of these cases could be avoided simply by preventing weight gain and shedding excess pounds," Ward said.

The APOP advises that an owner's best tool to fight against obesity is a measuring cup. Unfortunately, most pet owners don't use one and many don't even know how much food they should be feeding their pets, anyway.

To assist owners, the APOP has devised a weight translator to help people understand their pet's weight by comparing a human's weight gain to an animal's. To find your pet's optimum weight, go to You will also be able to find information on the safest ways to help your pets lose excess baggage.

In the end, the advice is the same for pets and their humans: Eat less and exercise more.

Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to

Senior Citizens, Older Felines
Forming Warm Companionships

PINE GROVE - You could say it's the purr-fect match for senior citizens and senior pets.

The Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA, Pine Grove, has been matching those ages 65 and older with cats five years and older since December.

Called "Seniors for Seniors," the program gives older cats a home and companion for those who otherwise might not have one or could afford one.

"It's a no-fee adoption," Jessica Bettinger, shelter manager, said Tuesday.

Cats are spayed or neutered and tested for feline leukemia. And an adoption contract is needed, which stipulates the cat is not to be left outdoors and must be returned to the shelter if it can't be cared for, along with other guidelines.

"We've placed six cats through the program," Bettinger said.

Fatty - so named because she was pregnant at the time she arrived at the shelter - is one of those cats. The 5-year-old cat found a new home with Bud Wink, 90, of New Ringgold.

Wink noticed Fatty's picture in The Republican-Herald in January and thought it would be nice to have her.

"I'll never get her," he recalled while sitting at his kitchen table with Fatty relaxing nearby.

He was surprised when he was told he could have the cat.

"I loved her right away," he said.

Donna Moyer, a neighbor, said she noticed a change in Wink after he received Fatty. Prior to getting her, Wink tended to a stray cat that had been coming around the area for months. The cat had then disappeared and Moyer said she noticed Wink was sad.

"He got so lonely. He wanted a cat so bad," she said.

Wink has a 9-year-old dog named My Girl but he said he still wanted a cat, something he's almost always had in his life.

The first thing Fatty did when she got in the house was jump on the kitchen table, he said.

"She has her own mind," Wink said.

Sleep is something Fatty does wherever she feels the urge to. My Girl has dominion over the bed and when the dog is around, Fatty keeps her distance. Both behave well together, he said.

Bettinger said cats like Fatty could stay at the SPCA for a long time since it's a no kill shelter, and the program helps both the shelter and the seniors. Fatty had been at SPCA since July 12.

"People tend to overlook them," she said of senior pets. "With the right amount of love, affection and time," they can become just like another one of the family, she said.

As of Tuesday, 15 cats were eligible for adoption, Bettinger said.

"They can come and find their match," she said.

A New Breed of Ring Bearers Trot Down the Aisle

Debbie Parsons and Brad Slayton with Major on their big day.

WHEN Melissa Kahn walks down the aisle at her April 15 wedding in her parents’ garden in Beverly Hills, Calif., in place of a flower bouquet she plans to be clutching a chicken, her little black frizzle cochin bantam hen that she says looks like a “fluffy pompom.”

“In theory it’s a good idea; it’s so ‘us,’ ” said Ms. Kahn, a life coach to teenage girls, who, with her fiancĂ©, Adam Wilkenfeld, a producer for cable television, is raising six chickens at their home in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“Our love of our chickens is a quirky thing we share in our life together,” she explained — “something our friends associate with us.” So much so that drawings of chickens appear on the save-the-date card and the envelope liner of the couple’s wedding invitation.

Including pets in weddings, as the singer Carrie Underwood and the hockey player Mike Fisher did in July 2010, has become just one more way for couples to personalize their weddings. (Ace, their rat terrier, scampered down the aisle in a pink, Swarovski-crystal-encrusted tuxedo.)

“We don’t want a generic wedding,” Ms. Kahn insisted.

In a 2011 study of American weddings, Brides magazine found that nearly 5 percent of brides included a pet in the wedding party, and its editors estimated that nearly double that amount had pets present during the ceremony and/or reception.

Of course, it helps if one chooses a pet-friendly location, as Debbie Parsons and Brad Slayton of Auburn, Wash., did when they married on Feb. 14 in the staging area at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. Although Major, the 120-pound black-and-tan ball of fur that typically sleeps next to them, was the only dog in attendance, the barks, yips and growls of others served as background music during their vows.

Mr. Slayton, an instructor at a technical school, said, “He’s a part of the family, so there was never a question” that Major would be at their wedding, planned only a week before by Ms. Parsons, a fuel services executive. “I didn’t think it was very romantic, but then she said, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day.’ I couldn’t argue with that.” And to “make it a real dog day afternoon,” Mr. Slayton said, Major, a Tibetan mastiff, won best of breed at the show.

Because animals are unpredictable, the downsides to such a plan are obvious and sometimes embarrassing.

Although Ms. Kahn says her frizzle is “docile and sweet tempered,” she frets about how the chicken will react to the music, crowd and extra attention. In addition, she worries that her feathery friend could have an “accident” en route to the altar, become lunch for neighboring hawks or just be “a major distraction; after all it is our wedding.”

Steven May, a Los Angeles marketing consultant to the veterinary and pet product industry, knew that very well ahead of his own wedding, held in 2009 in Palm Springs, Calif. But nothing, he said, prepared him for the sight of his white German shepherd, an honorary maid of honor, “entering what I’ll call ‘relieving mode’ about halfway down the aisle.” He added, “When I saw her locking in to take care of business, I sort of forgot where I was, ran down from the altar, grabbed her and took her around the corner to do her thing. After we came back, everyone broke into applause.” Luckily, he said, the 5-year-old child who acted as the ring bearer didn’t get any ideas.

“For many couples, their pets are like their children or their best friends, and who wants to have a wedding without your child or best friend?” asked Colleen Paige, an animal behaviorist and the founder of the Wedding Dog, a company in Portland, Ore., that preps pets — including potbellied pigs and goats — to participate in weddings for $2,500 and up. Her own Chihuahua, Tinkerbelle, was ring bearer at her 2005 wedding to Stan Southworth at a marina in Sequim, Wash. Ms. Paige does acknowledge that “some people don’t get it and unfortunately think it’s crazy,” but that’s why she always checks with a couple that no guest is adamantly opposed to the idea, highly phobic or allergic.

It’s the little details that make incorporating a four-legged creature into a wedding a success, advised David Rousseau, a veterinarian from Essex, Mass., who spent months training his pet horse, TrĂ©, to pull a carriage with him; his partner, Michael Carter, an interior designer in Boston; and their two dogs.

Their “family” grand entrance to the couple’s September 2010 ceremony at Castle Hill in Ipswich, Mass., went perfectly, and a designated dog wrangler escorted Tucker, an English springer spaniel, and Miss P, a pug, home afterward. But, most important, the couple remembered “to bring a lint brush to get off all the dog fur from our tuxedos before heading down the aisle,” Dr. Rousseau said.

Most pet owners take their pets’ antics in stride. Take Brandy Caldwell and Joshua Bakken, who started their wedding ceremony at the appropriately chosen Dog Beach in Coronado, Calif., on Nov. 11 at exactly 11:11 a.m. Wesley, their Weimaraner, was the best man — tuxedo and all — and Freya, their Weimaraner puppy, dressed in a flower collar, was the maid of honor.

“Despite our dogs having an extreme love for the beach and wanting desperately to run into the water, they waited patiently while we exchanged our vows,” said Mrs. Caldwell-Bakken, a veterinary technician from Phoenix. “No sooner had they pronounced us ‘man and wife,’ Wesley ducked out of his collar and ran into the waves, still wearing his tuxedo. When he came out of the water, his tux was barely hanging on, bow tie crooked, shirt open, and a look on his face, as if to say, ‘They’re married, let’s party!’ ”

The couple still managed to get some great photos, despite Freya’s attempt “to eat the roses off my bouquet,” she said. “The ceremony was as beautiful as it was a disaster, but we loved every second, and their antics had everyone laughing.”

Ms. Kahn and Mr. Wilkenfeld, meanwhile, have pledged that their chickens will play an important role in their wedding day no matter what. The brown, white and bluish-green eggs they lay will be the main ingredient in the frittatas served at the party and will be displayed in bowls as centerpieces, “Martha Stewart style,” Ms. Kahn said.