How do stray dogs go from wandering the streets looking for scraps to survive on, to walking their pet parents down the aisle? For Bacon and Putol, all it took was a little love, a little affection, a lot of patience—and a steady supply of treats.

This story begins with Bacon, who entered Len Montana’s life in 2009. She was only a puppy, but she already had a lot of fight in her—and that might be what motivated Frederick Siao, then Len’s boyfriend, to rescue her from where she and the rest of the litter had been found at a hotel in Lucena City, Batangas. Named for the first food item that she received from her new pet parents, she quickly won a place in their hearts by offering them her devoted and unconditional love.

Of Bacon, Len says, “It is the sound of her barks, the silly little things that she does and the scent of her paws that matters.”

Putol entered the story two years later, and was named for his stub of a tail. He used to be an “askal” wandering the streets of the subdivision in which Len and Frederick lived. Without any hesitations, the couple helped him shake off the scars of his previous life, such as the grimy nylon cord, apparently a makeshift collar, that had gotten stuck around his throat.

When they took him in, Putol was suffering from canine distemper, a viral disease that affects dogs, cats, and other mammals. The disease can affect an animal’s digestive and respiratory tracts, and go on to attack the spinal cord and brain. In dogs, canine distemper is also referred to as “hardpad disease” because it causes the skin of the nose and the footpads to thicken and form a crust. The disease can prove fatal if left untreated—but fortunately Len and Frederick never gave up on their companion, giving him the medicine and the support that he needed.

When it came time for Len and Frederick to make plans for the rest of their lives together, they naturally included their beloved Bacon and Putol in those plans. As family, they would be part of the festivities.

Bacon and Putol made their grand entry at the wedding ceremony to the delight of the assembled family and friends, and did their happy duty as witnesses to their pet parents’ exchange of wedding vows. Of course, the dogs were dressed for the occasion, in white clothes trimmed with red ribbons.

Len offers the following tips for other animal lovers who want their companion animals to join in on the fun of important occasions:

  • Take the animals’ needs into consideration as you make your plans. Does the venue provide them with a quick and easy exit in case they get stressed? Will the music that will be played be too loud, or cause them to become too agitated? Could they develop allergic reactions to the food?
  • Just as important is the need to let the guests at the event know beforehand that your companion animals will be coming. This gives the guests who might develop allergic reactions time to make their own plans so they can still have a good time. It can also prevent your companion animals from getting stressed out by the crowds.
  • Companion animals at a happy event? No problem, Len says. Just keep them and their needs in mind from the very start, and you’ll be on your way to creating memories that will last “fur-ever.”

 

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s January 2017 issue.