By Tanner Cheek

You know the type—they leave the party early to get back home to their “child.” They must have a friendly patio or they won’t be able to attend the brunch. They created a separate Instagram account for their fur baby. They are the crazy dog person.

We are those people, and of course, we had to include our dog in our wedding. I have had Meeko since he was a pup. When Stephen came into our lives, he naturally adopted Meeko as his own and we have been like the Three Amigos ever since. To give some insight on Meeko, he is super well-behaved (for a husky), very smart yet also pretty stubborn and has an infectious personality. This wedding story is dedicated to him.

Our entire wedding was self-planned, so the day before we tied the knot, we spent hours laying bales of hay, stringing light, and manicuring every foot of farmland. Old McDonald might have had a farm, but on this particular farm, Danny (my father-in-law) had 90 chickens. That’s not a typo. He has become obsessed with raising them from chicks and collecting dozens of farm-fresh eggs every morning. It’s actually really endearing and I’m tempted by the countryside lifestyle he has created.

However, the charm passed as soon as someone called me over to show me a lifeless hen with blood all over it, my dog standing over, guilty with feathers protruding from his muzzle. This was only the beginning of the events that lead us to believe that Meeko had become possessed and was destined to ruin our wedding day. The chickens had been locked back up in their handmade mansion of a coop and Meeko was free to wander the grounds again. That is until a flock of wild turkeys showed up out of nowhere flying away as soon as they arrived with Meeko chasing after them into the expanse of woods behind Danny’s house. Stephen and I hurried after him yelling his name, losing sight of him in seconds. Winded and distraught, Stephen huffed, “We are never going to see that damn dog again.” I stood there, shaking my head.

We walked back to the house still yelling, “Meeeeekoooooo!” in hopes his instincts would diminish and his sense would get the best of him. It did. He came back five minutes later acting as if nothing had happened. That was it, we decided we would have to lock him up in the guest house while we were still setting everything up. We couldn’t afford any more distractions.

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Photo courtesy Tanner Cheek

I forgot to mention: Meeko is a talker. He tends to howl when we leave him alone for short periods of time, this being no exception. It took short of 10 minutes of miserable howls and whines for us to finally look over at the guest house only to find Meeko had chewed halfway up the window blinds. “What has gotten into this dog?” I thought as I decided to chain him up to a tree near the patio we were setting up so he would feel more included. The whining did not let up.

The day of our wedding arrived, and we could only imagine the inevitable with the way Meeko had been acting just the day before. All he was supposed to do was walk down the aisle with me and my mom, but even this seemed like an impossible task. Surely he would pull my arm out of my socket or decide the aisle would be the perfect plot of grass do his business. Guests had started to arrive and he seemed surprisingly calm.

We decided to stick with the plan and hope for the best. Everyone was seated, and the rest of the party had made their way down the aisle, no problems. I held my breath, squeezed both hands—my mom’s in my right, Meeko’s leash in the other—and we began walking.

All anxieties went away when I took my first step and Meeko was keeping pace, walking just a step behind me, as if he had choreographed this moment. We made it to the altar and I passed him off to my maid of honor. What he did now was out of my hands; I didn’t even look back at him to see how he was doing. After all, my handsome husband-to-be was the only thing I could focus on anymore.

Looking back at our wedding pictures, we were finally able to see what Meeko was actually up to throughout the ceremony. Turns out, he was actually laying down the entire time. He could not have been more perfect throughout the night. During the reception, friends and family took turns holding his leash and walking him around. We even got to dance with him at one point. Whatever demon had possessed him to murder a hen and some blinds had apparently left him and an angel had taken its place.

If you’re thinking about including your dog or cat (or chicken for that matter) at your wedding, take my advice: Do it. It can only make your day special and that much more memorable.

Tanner Cheek was born and raised in Florida. He went to the University of West Florida and received his BA in Psychology and then completed his Master’s in Secondary Education at the University of Denver after moving to Colorado. Tanner teaches middle school science and is passionate about connecting people to the world they live in. Tanner’s biggest fans are his husband Stephen and their Siberian Husky named Meeko. You can find him on Instagram @tan.cheek.