Canines “hitched” for a good cause

August 4, 2011 Heather Chin
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It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon for the Loyal Wedding ofthe summer: the marriage of Jack and Penny, two dogs rescued by thenonprofit Brooklyn Animal Foster Network (BAFN), which placesabandoned animals in foster homes until someone adopts them.

Nearly 50 friends gathered in the garden at the BrooklynSociety for Ethical Culture on Prospect Park West on Saturdayto watch the symbolic nuptials, which doubled as a farewellfundraiser for BAFN, closing after five years due to lack offunding.

We’re out of business as of today, [so now] we’re going to get allthe animals adopted. Then, when the economy is better, we’ll startagain, said Laurie Bleier, BAFN’s director. We usually board themin foster homes; otherwise, it costs $120 a week to board apet.

The bride, Penny, a one-and-a-half year old gray poodle recentlyrescued and fostered, was clad in a white dress and veil and couldbe found frolicking in the grass before the ceremony. The groom,Jack, sporting a small black top hat and bow tie, was resting inthe shade while his foster mom, Bensonhurst resident Vivian DiStefano, beamed as guests arrived.

Joining Penny and Jack at the altar was the maid of honor, ZZ, athree-year-old Maltese-poodle sporting a frilly pale blue skirtwith matching bow; the best pooch Chico, a long-haired Chihuahualooking snazzy in a silver-trimmed tuxedo and pale blue bow tie;and ring bearer Barkley, a two-year-old shitzu-poodle mix wearing ablue bow tie. All wore matching sunglasses.

The bridal party’s outfits were either donated by volunteers orhandmade by Ada Nieves, New York City-based a pet couture fashiondesigner recruited by the dogs’ owners/foster moms, all of whom arevolunteers with BAFN.

Fellow volunteers and pet lovers explained that they came thanks toa general curiosity about what was universally considered a cuteevent.

One of my coworkers saw an ad in the New York Times and Ilove animals, so I came here to support [BAFN], said Josie DelRosario, who came with her husband and two kids from Staten Island.It’s for a good cause [whose funding] goes straight to theanimals.

We saw the sign and Mom said that in her 88 years, she’s neverheard of an event like this, so that’s why we came, said Betty,who walked over with her mom Muriel.

Notable guests in attendance included State Senator Eric Adams andBorough President Marty Markowitz, both self-described animallovers.

Adams, who has a five-year-old poodle, said he wanted to supportthe event because there is an important relationship betweenhumans and pets [and] I thought this was an attractive way tohighlight animal emotions and feelings.

Markowitz agreed, noting that he was there because he believe[s]in the sanctity of marriage… for everyone, and to support BAFN.We’re emphasizing that there are lots of beautiful pets in need ofa home, who can bring such comfort and happiness, he said.

At around 2:45 p.m., Penny and Jack were read their vows by BAFN’sBleier, who joined the two in howling muttrimony, Penny becomingJack’s pawfully wedded wuff and Jack becoming Penny’s pawfullywedded huffdog.

Then, to the strains of Beyonce’s Halo, sung by Brooklyn singerGwendolyn Star, the bridal party headed out to get their photostaken in an antique Ford car, loaned by Evans Georgopulos of theAntique Automobile Association of Brooklyn, decorated with a JUSTMARRIED sign and empty pet food cans on streamers.

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