The bride wore a veil with a white satin dress edged in lace. The groom wore a yellow bandana and a black bow tie. That was it. No shoes. No shirt. No pants.
But then the wedding party – mostly homeless – was similarly attired. “Frankie” fit right in with all his friends, all of them pit bulls.
Frankie and “Isabelle” tied the knot Sunday at Conimicut Point.
It looked like rain would wash out the ceremony. An earlier shower had left wet grass on the lawns and puddles in the parking lot. But then the day brightened and Tammy Collins stepped forward to officiate.
A lot of life has brightened in the last year for the two pit bulls.
Frankie was first to be rescued, by Lauren Fontaine, a registered nurse at Rhode Island Hospital.
Fontaine had a dog as a child and searched on PetFinder.com for another. Frankie’s face called to her. She had no idea she was looking at a pit bull, and certainly no clue that the initial connection on the Internet would lead to meeting a group of people who stand by and support the breed.
Fontaine visited Frankie at the West Warwick Animal Shelter. She was torn. Was this the dog she should bring home? Was he the right one? Finally she decided to let Frankie make the decision.
She sat and posed the question, “Do you want to come home with me, buddy?” Frankie wagged. He does a lot of wagging. He jumped in her lap. Question answered.
Then there was Isabelle, a refugee from the great flood of 2010, recalls Warwick Animal Supervisor Ann Corvin. Isabelle was one of those dogs that were evacuated when the Pawtuxet flowed over the levees and inundated the shelter with water that almost reached the ceiling.
By then, Fontaine had connected with Susan Parker, the founder of the Little Rhodie Bully Breed Club.
“I was working with Sue and I knew there were a whole bunch [of pit bulls] that needed a home,” said Fontaine.
Her first recollection of Isabelle was a dog that couldn’t stop jumping up and down. Isabelle jumped into Fontaine’s heart. Now Frankie had company.
So, how did co-habitation lead to a wedding?
Well, it wasn’t a doggie thing. Rather, the wedding was the brainchild of Parker and
Fontaine who saw it as a means of bringing club members together and raising some funds to help homeless pit bulls.
They created Facebook pages for Frankie and Isabelle. Interest grew. The dating couple suddenly had lots of friends.
Sunday’s wedding was followed by a reception at Dynamic Dog Training on West Shore Road. There was plenty of food, including hot dogs that Isabelle and Frankie would have for their wedding banquet. Of course, they had cake too. The newlyweds will honeymoon in Fontaine’s backyard, although the couple won’t get too much time alone. More than $1,000 was raised to help homeless dogs.
“I have a wonderful boyfriend,” Fontaine says of Dennis Greenless, who gave away Isabelle. Fontaine and Greenless work alternating shifts so the dogs aren’t left on their own much.
And what about the family planning for the couple?
“They decided long ago that life is all right without puppies,” said Fontaine. Not to mention that both dogs have been fixed.
But Fontaine said that shouldn’t change things.
“Maybe they’ll adopt," said Fontaine.