Fur Better Or Worse: Pets Playing An Increasing Role In Perth Weddings

BESIDES the bride, it’s usually the cute flower girl or page boy who attracts all the “oohs and aahs” from wedding guests.

These days, the source of their adoration is just as likely to be a dog in a tuxedo, a canine ring bearer – or even an alpaca walking down the aisle.

More and more, brides and grooms are making their “fur babies” part of their special days. And that’s been made easier thanks to a host of Perth businesses offering services solely designed to getting your pet to and from your wedding and chaperoning them to ensure they’re on their best behaviour.

The four-legged special guests end up being just as, if not, more popular than the lucky couple, with guests often clamouring for selfies and pats. While dogs are the most common animal wedding guests, The Sunday Times has heard of cats being part of the bridal party and a bride wanting a pig ring bearer. Alpaca breeders and hobby farmers have been fielding hiring requests for weddings.

Jacinta Andrews and Louise Adams had their wedding in 2016 before same-sex marriage was legalised, and their dogs Minx (who has since passed away) and Stanley had special roles as “Dog of Honour” and “Best Dog”. “They’re like our kids, so we really wanted to have them as part of it,” Ms Andrews said.

Kate and Matthew Podesta got married in a church, so they weren’t allowed to have their beloved puggle Alfie there for the ceremony but enlisted professional help to get him to Kings Park for the photo shoot. “He was the star attraction in our photos. His dad organised his little tux,” Ms Podesta said. “We recognised everyone else that was important to us on the day, and he’s also important so we wanted him there as well.”

Cahris Mahney, of Barks in the Park, said her job didn’t feel like work. She said now that same-sex marriage was allowed, she had been receiving many more enquiries for her services.

“Some couples can't have children or struggle to go through IVF so their pets are their children,” she said.


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Here Comes The Pooch: Meet Perth's Pet Wedding Attendant

Move aside best man - Its all about man's best dog

Barks in the Park pet wedding attendant business was founded by pooch-lover and dog-walker, Cahris. Having seen the love that Perth pet-lovers had for their pooches through her dog walking and doggy day care business, Cahris decided it was about time that couples had the opportunity to include their pups in the most important family event - their wedding day!

“Paw-rents invite their most important family and friends to celebrate their love, so why not include their pet on their special occasion!”

For those looking to ditch the conventional best man in favour of their four-legged friend, Cahris’ pet attendant service allows couples to include their furry friends in their big day without the stress of walks, nap times and toilet trips!

Puppy Presentation

Like any important member of your bridal party, your pooch will need to be well-prepared for the big occasion. Before the big day, Cahris organises a meet and greet with you and your pooch to discuss their role during the ceremony and, more importantly, to make sure your pup is comfortable with her. When the wedding day arrives, she’ll ensure your pooch is suited, booted and well-walked, and she’ll even put them down for their doggy nap at the end of the ceremony!

Barks in the Park pet attendant service allows your pooch to be involved in your wedding day in whatever capacity you choose, whether it’s as a front-row guest, a furry member of the bridal party or ‘best dog’. If you’re thinking about including your pup in more than just the walk down the aisle, here are a few ideas on how to incorporate a little more puppy love into your wedding day:

  • Make your dog the ring bearer

  • Include your pup as a flower girl with a flower wreath as a collar

  • Organise a photoshoot with your pooch

And Cahris’ pet-sitting service isn’t just limited to furry friends of the puppy variety - she hopes to see pets of all sorts involved in those all-important nuptials!

"I am open to any pet being involved! I’d love to see a pet pig walk down the aisle next!”


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Where To Take Your Dog To Day Care In Perth

Barks In The Park (Picture Elle Borgward)

So your friends are all off having babies while you’re just wondering where the heck to send your dog to day care in Perth? You’re our kinda people!

If you’re not lucky enough to be able to bring your puppy to work with you, it doesn’t mean they have to spend all day at home pining for you to walk back through those mystery doors which lead to the outside world. There are plenty of amazing doggy day care joints in Perth that would happily take on your dog’s wagging tail for the day, and some include treats, bubbles, and grooming (just to make your life even easier).

Here’s where to send your dog to day care in Perth.

Barks In The Park, Booragoon

Open Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm, Barks In The Park is like Disneyland for your doggo. They’ve got plenty of indoor and outdoor play zones for your pooch to enjoy and they even offer discounts if you’re a frequent visitor. Dog washing and clipping can be arranged for an extra fee and they run Freshen Up Fridays where your pet will be cleaned, blow dried and ready to step into the weekend in style, all for just $20. Barks In The Park also offers a pet wedding attendant service, so you can include your fluff ball in your big day without having to worry about getting them to and from the ceremony—genius!


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Dogs On The Trail

Cahris Mahney with friends (Picture Will Russell)

Part-proceeds will go to the APS and Cahris Mahney said dog accessories would be sold along with clothing, household goods and books.

Her event is part of the Garage Sale trail and will be held at 3A Pitt Way, Booragoon, from 10.30am to 1.30pm. Cahris Mahney with friends.

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Doggie Day Care

Channel 7's Today Tonight ran a segment on how important Doggie day care centres are becoming.



Doggie Day Care In Demand As Perth Residents Work Longer

Cahris Mahney from Barks in the Park, with 3 of her charges - a Jack Russell named Laetisha, and highland terriers Pro and Bono (Picture: Sean Middleton).

PERTH'S pampered pooches are going barking mad for doggie day care.

As the work-life balance becomes harder to juggle, dog owners are asking for help to look after their furry friends.

Dog walker Cahris Mahney said demand for her to walk and play with dogs during the day had become so strong she may start her own doggie day care centre next year.

She said her new business would operate similar to a childcare service, where people would bring dogs to her.

"I'm going to go to America and hopefully do work experience at The Barkley (a Californian pet hotel) to bring the doggie day care and overnight stays model here," she said. "There's a demand for them. There are a few (doggie) day cares in Perth that have two-month waiting periods."

Ms Mahney also offers a dog-sitting service and said she was booked up for next Christmas.

She said many owners treated their dogs like children and wanted to make sure they were equally well looked after.

Perth Dog Walking operator Jenny Sparkes said she had also noticed increased demand for day services.

Ms Sparkes said many of her clients only had time for short walks with their pooches and used her services to give them a bit of company.

The UK's People's Dispensary for Sick Animals charity found the proportion of dogs left alone for five hours or more on a regular basis had increased from 18 per cent in 2011 to 25 per cent in 2013.


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Dog walker takes the lead


Walkies... Dog walker Cahris Mahney is a keen advocate of Walk to Work Day.

ALFRED COVE dog walker Cahris Mahney will be walking to work on Friday to promote physical activity and health and is encouraging others to do the same.

While Ms Mahney walks most days for work, she said that this Friday, October 1, she would be walking as part of the Walk to Work Day initiative.

“Walk to Work day is an important message for all Australians – we live in a country with beautiful fresh air and lots of sunlight but too many people ... do not take advantage of it,” she said. 

“I try my hardest to walk to work, catch a bus or park a couple of blocks away from my destination just to squeeze in a few more minutes of exercising.”

Ms Mahney recently started her business Barks in the Park where she walks to her clients’ houses and then walks their dogs.

Organisations that register for Walk to Work Day will receive free information, support and ideas on how to make walking work in the workplace.

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