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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

"Muttrimony" unites a family

May 30, 2023 10:20AM ● By Marti Benson

You might say our daughter was raised by wolves. Or, at least, amid their kin.

When her father and I wed, Erin was 7 years old. Her dad and I each came into the marriage with our own baggage. Kyle’s was in the form of two golden retrievers and a yellow lab. Mine consisted of two smaller pups from a pound in Phoenix. In the ensuing years, we took in an abandoned border collie and a severely injured Pomeranian. Our dogs Chip and Ernie and their mom, Yvette, would enter our lives in Erin’s high school years. 

After school, when not at band practice or forensics, Erin was at the vet clinic where I worked. If she wasn’t helping a tech clean kennels or hand-addressing billing statements, she was masked and gowned in surgery. The veterinarians gave her a front-row seat to the cutting and removing and repairing and sewing. The proper names for animals’ anatomy and bodily fluids were freely discussed. 

Erin observed the inevitable cycle of life that occurs in an animal hospital. She was on deck when puppies were extracted from their mama’s belly during a c-section. And she witnessed her share of clients grieving after the loss of a beloved pet. Our dinner table discussions were not for the squeamish.

And then came college. And Dave.

Erin asked if she could bring a friend to Thanksgiving, as he was unable to get home for the holiday. Having a soft spot for strays, we said, “Of course!” Dave fit into our dog-centric home perfectly, respecting Chip’s boundaries, quaffing from our “WOOF” mug and telling us stories about his own family pooch back home, a chocolate lab named Coco. Dave was obviously from a good dog family, and Kyle and I could picture him as part of our own pack.

You know how dogs just suddenly start giddily zooming around the house or the yard with their tongues out and their eyes wide open? That’s how Kyle and I felt when Erin and Dave—and their lab mix, Ozby—got engaged. Ozby even gave his blessing to the union by putting his pawprint on the marriage license. 

On May 4, decked out in his Hawaiian-themed bowtie with the wedding rings securely attached to his collar (and fortunately, no squirrels in sight), Ozby trotted down the aisle to greet his human parents and take part in the ceremony. As we all cheered the newlyweds, Ozby joined in. He was the loudest of all! 

Out-of-town family and friends are home with their own pets now. Chip and Ernie are rested up from entertaining the human guests. Our daughter, son-in-law and grand-dog have settled back into their daily lives. All is well in this ever-changing puppy pile we call our life.