SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 25, 2014

Dogs can bark 'I do' at pet store promotion

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — PEABODY — You’ve heard the song “Chapel of Love,” with it’s catchy lyrics: “Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.”

This Saturday, you can substitute “Petco” for “chapel” and take your pet down to the store for a free wedding ceremony.

The promotion is the idea of Assistant Manager Polly Hamilton of Wenham. Each store has monthly events, and it’s Hamilton’s job to plan pet birthday parties or contests for best dog tricks.

“I decided this month, June is the month of brides, so, let’s have a doggie wedding,” Hamilton said.

There’s no need to reserve a hall. The weddings will take place in the store’s dog training ring. All kinds of pets are welcome.

The store’s “fish guy,” Jean Viel of Lynn, who in the winter doubles as Santa’s helper, happens to be a Franciscan friar, and he plans to wear a robe and officiate.

Hamilton said this is all being done for fun. But there’s a little bit of commercialism involved, too.

The store sells tuxedo costumes for dogs for $19.99. A dog’s bridal dress will set you back just $14.99, and a veil is another $7.99. There are also bridesmaid and maid-of-honor dresses for pooches. Or you can dress up your pet up like a ring bearer — or “bling bearer.”

“People get married, why not animals?” said Joanne Marcheterre of Danvers, who was shopping in the store the other day.

Marcheterre said her dog, Heidi, loves another dog that lives in her building; Heidi’s ears perk up whenever Capone heads out for a walk. But there is little chance of the pair finding everlasting love at Petco. Heidi, a border collie mix, is almost 16, her owner said, and Capone is about 7 and still acts like a puppy. The age difference is just too much.

“We call him her boyfriend, but he is much younger than she is,” Marcheterre said.

“So, she’s a cougar,” joked Hamilton.

Petco is not the only pet business to get into the wedding spirit. Penelope’s Pet Boutique on Washington Street in Salem carries bow ties and a little wedding dress costume.

All Saints Episcopal Church on Cherry Street in Danvers offers the Perfect Paws Pet Ministry to pet owners of all denominations, a ministry the Rev. Marya DeCarlen has recently taken over. The ministry, aimed at helping people deepen connections to their pets and to one other, does not perform weddings, however.

“We do honor the bonds they have with each other and the bonds they have with their humans,” DeCarlen said.

Free pet weddings will be performed Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. Anyone wanting to participate should call the store to reserve a spot.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.