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Over The Top? Maybe. Worthwhile? You Bet.


story and photos by Anna Cooke Tia. Bella.


Lakeland - Billed as the Dog Charity Wedding of the Century, all kidding aside, there was some seri- ous time and devotion put into making this event a success. Nine months of preparation, including plans for separate bachelor and bachelorette par- ties, a rehearsal dinner and horse-drawn carriages for the arrival of the bride and groom at the site of the wedding. And not one Bridezilla moment from Fifi, the blushing bride. The couple, who are up there in age, seemed


bemused by all of the attention, while perched on their custom-made strollers, created by Katie’s Carriage. The cacophony of dogs barking and fur flying didn’t seem to phase the bride in the least. As most weddings go, this was a pretty well-


behaved crowd of canines and their humans. The groom managed to keep his eyes open until the first dance (as long as someone kept tossing him bits of cooked chicken). Afterwards, however, the wedding night was in question, as the groom fell fast asleep on someone’s lap.


The event took place at Oak-K Farm, a (Above): The bride and groom, Fifi and Dapper. (Below): ChaCha. The wedding cake.


beautiful wedding venue just outside of Lakeland, in November. It was misting when guests arrived, but the rain stopped just before the ceremony commenced, officiated by Justice of the Peace Nancy Beck. The wedding planners paid close attention to detail, even using a copy of The New Barker dog magazine to hold the wedding vows. Why the hoopla over a couple of dogs, you


might ask? Lynne Tonte, Barbara Wilson Strouse and other members of the Chihuahuas of the Tampa Bay Area meet up group have always looked for unique ideas and venues to get together and have fun with their dogs. What began as a tongue-in-cheek gesture (Lynne getting down on one knee with Fifi, to ask for Dapper’s paw in marriage) soon had a bigger purpose: rais- ing money for Tampa Bay Area rescue groups. And, raise money this group did. The more than $12,000 raised was immediately split between Limbo Chihuahuas - Chihuahua Rescue, Pet Pal Animal Shelter, CARES Rescue and Animal Based Charities. Good work, dog lovers.


78 THE NEW BARKER www.TheNewBarker.com


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