By RACHAEL ROUBEIN and MIRANDA GASKINS
Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md.
REISTERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Tippy the Tank bounded down the aisle, the black-and-white terrier and American Staffordshire mix’s energy in full force.
A top hat fastened around his head and a tuxedo-like bib on his back, he was ready for the big day, as his bride-to-be walked down the aisle, sniffing pink-and-red glittered hearts scattered about the floor.
“When you’re frustrated by not being adopted, remember you have each other,” said wedding officiant Angelica Taggart, a reverend at the Center for Spiritual Living in Lutherville.
As couples went out for nice dinners and grocery stores boasted red, pink and white candies galore, the Baltimore Humane Society held a Valentine’s Day celebration of its own Thursday afternoon. Two cats, and then two dogs, were united in holy matrimony under a white arch at the Humane Society’s administration building to bring attention to about 200 animals at the no-kill shelter who are looking for a loving home, said Wendy Goldband, the nonprofit’s director of marketing and public relations.
The shelter is constantly filled, and there’s almost always a wait list of two to three months to get an animal into the shelter, which holds a maximum of about 200 animals, Goldband said.
“We need people to get in here and start adopting,” she said.
In the Valentine’s Day spirit, animals that have called the shelter home for more than a year have been placed in the “lonely hearts club” — Tippy the Tank is the only newlywed in this club. Throughout February, it is free to adopt these pets. The animals will also be spayed and neutered, receive a pet-tracking microchip and all their vaccinations for free, according to Goldband.
The shelter tries to match families with a pet’s personality that suits them, said Marya DeLuna, an adoption counselor. The married animals, Goldband said, don’t have to be adopted as a pair.
So, a compromise was reached for the newlyweds: “They have agreed to split up for the sake of a loving family,” Goldband said.
But for now, Taggart, the reverend, made felines Elena and King Julian promise to always share toys and treats and respect one another as married couples.
“You may touch noses to seal these vows,” Taggart said.
And the two domestic shorthair mixed cats wearing bride and groom attire, did. The ceremony was then completed again for the dogs.
Afterward, attendees walked outside to participate in a marriage tradition just for the two dogs: the tossing of birdseed into the air. As the seeds hit the pavement, the two dogs strolled toward their bright red Mini Cooper S, a white poster covered in multicolored hearts and the words “Just Married” written in Sharpie taped to the car’s rear.
Tin cat food cans strung to the back of the car clicked and clacked as the convertible carried Tippy and Fuschia off to their shelter home.
Information from: Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md., http://www.carrollcounty.com/
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)