Animal-Related Weddings Questions

I'm getting married next fall, but my cat doesn't really like my fiance. What can I do?
-- Mara, New York City

This is actually a common phenomenon that can occur when a new person interrupts the dynamic between a pet and its owner. And it isn't restricted to cats; it also frequently occurs with birds such as Amazon parrots, macaws, and cockatoos. If you've tried to get your pet and your fiance on better terms and it hasn't worked, you may not be able to do anything about it -- if an animal doesn't like you, it simply doesn't like you. It may not be the best or most convenient situation, but it probably won't disrupt life in your house too much if everyone works around it.

After my wedding, my husband and I are going on a three-week honeymoon. Where is the best place to leave my dog, so I don't worry the whole time I am away? --Heidi, Natick, Massachusetts
The best approach, and the most stress-free option for your dog, is to have a dog sitter come to the house to feed and walk your pet. If this isn't possible, check with your veterinarian about boarding the dog on his or her premises. That way, you'll know that expert care and, if needed, medical attention are at hand.

I've heard that throwing rice at weddings is bad because birds that eat it can die. Is this true? --Lenore, Orlando, Florida
The belief that rice will swell in a bird's stomach and kill it is a complete myth. In fact, rice does no more harm (or good) than seeds commonly thrown at weddings, such as millet. On the other hand, it is true that, given a choice, birds usually find seeds a little more appetizing than rice. No matter which you choose, though, you can rest assured that you aren't harming the birds.

I've attended many weddings at which people set white doves free after the ceremony. I would like to do this at my wedding too, but is it safe? What happens to the doves after they are let out of the cage?  --Pauline, Washington, D.C.
As breathtaking as the sight of doves rising into the air may be, if a dove gets lost, it will almost certainly die. There is another option, however: Some pigeon breeders have bred white pigeons resembling doves that will fly back home once released. Check with your wedding planner or caterer to see if they know someone who provides this service.

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