66 canine couples get married (yes, really) at Cougars' ballpark for a good cause

  • Kevin, left, a basset hound mix owned by Kelly Keyes of Villa Park, and pit bull mix Roxy Gurl, owned by Elvia Paredones of Aurora, get to know each other before getting married Sunday during to attempt to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony. The bid fell short, but still raised money for a good cause.

    Kevin, left, a basset hound mix owned by Kelly Keyes of Villa Park, and pit bull mix Roxy Gurl, owned by Elvia Paredones of Aurora, get to know each other before getting married Sunday during to attempt to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony. The bid fell short, but still raised money for a good cause. Ryan Rayburn for the Daily Herald

  • Dogs and their owners gathered Sunday for an attempt to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva. The attempt fell short, but was a success as a fundraiser for K9s for Warriors, a national organization that rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and trains them to become service animals for veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma.

    Dogs and their owners gathered Sunday for an attempt to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva. The attempt fell short, but was a success as a fundraiser for K9s for Warriors, a national organization that rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and trains them to become service animals for veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma. Ryan Rayburn for the Daily Herald

  • Mike Marcotte, an adjudicator with the Guinness World Records, makes his official count Sunday during an attempt to set a world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony.

    Mike Marcotte, an adjudicator with the Guinness World Records, makes his official count Sunday during an attempt to set a world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony. Ryan Rayburn for the Daily Herald

  • Goldendoodles Denver, left, and Brooklyn, owned by Abby Israel of Chicago, wait patiently for their brides during an attempt Sunday to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony. The charity event, held at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva, fell short.

    Goldendoodles Denver, left, and Brooklyn, owned by Abby Israel of Chicago, wait patiently for their brides during an attempt Sunday to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony. The charity event, held at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva, fell short. Ryan Rayburn for the Daily Herald

  • Kelly Keyes of Villa Park, left, and Elvia Paredones of Aurora wait with their dogs, Kevin and Roxy Gurl, during an attempt Sunday to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony. The charity event was held at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva.

    Kelly Keyes of Villa Park, left, and Elvia Paredones of Aurora wait with their dogs, Kevin and Roxy Gurl, during an attempt Sunday to set a Guinness world record for the largest dog wedding ceremony. The charity event was held at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva. Ryan Rayburn for the Daily Herald

 
Updated 10/2/2022 6:50 PM

A baseball field normally filled with Cougars was dominated by dogs Sunday for an attempt to smash the world record for the largest canine wedding.

Sixty-six dog couples, many brought together after a whirlwind courtship, gathered for the nuptials at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva, home to the Kane County Cougars baseball team.

 

The number, however, fell short of the record 178 canine couples wed in 2007 in Littleton, Colorado, for the still-reigning Guinness world record.

If the "Diamonds in the Ruff" event at first appears frivolous, the purpose was serious. It was held to raise funds and shine a light on K9s for Warriors, a national organization that rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and trains them to become service animals for veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma.

Mike Marcotte, an adjudicator from the Guinness World Records, was on hand, as was a Guinness world-record-holding magician from England, Martin Rees, who emceed the mass wedding.

The doggy couples were led by the Cougars' mascots, Ozzie and Annie, down a red carpet and across a balloon canopy to the awaiting outfield grass.

Rees relayed the words from an ordained canine minister, the Rev. Henry Cleotis Farnsworth III, that bound the four-footed couples in matrimony.

Pronouncing them husbands and wives, Rees declared, "You are now friends fur-ever."

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"Give yourselves a round of apaws," he added.

After the ceremony, there was a goat's milk toast and the serving of doggy wedding cake.

Event organizer Leslie Allison-Seei, president of Robust Promotions and chair of the Villa Park Community F.U.N. (Focus on Unifying Neighbors) Commission, said this is the second year in a row she has attempted to break the record. Last year, she organized a ceremony in Villa Park that joined 80 canine couples.

"Today is strictly a day about love and romance and smiles," she said.

If the record wasn't quite attained, it wasn't for lack of trying -- there was a station for doggy speed dating designed for quick hookups.

The Cougars, which teamed up with Robust, sponsored two dogs, placing them with local veterans.

"Our only stipulation is they needed to be named Ozzie and Annie," said Bob Froehlich, the Cougars' owner and chief executive officer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Among the couples getting hitched was Denver, a Golden Doodle owned by Abby Israel of Chicago, and Maddie, a combination husky and pit bull owned by Jennifer Fink of Villa Park.

Elvia Paredones of Aurora had her dog wear a headband adorned with flowers, a veil and a petticoat. Paredones' Roxy Gurl, an 8-year-old pit bull mix. was paired with Kevin, a 1½-year-old a basset hound mix owned Kelly Keyes of Villa Park.

"He's into older women," Keyes said.

Rebecca Chacon of Yorkville, owner of a pit bull mix, said she cared less about the record and more about donating to veterans in need.

"I'm not a veteran, but I have PTSD, so I understand how much you would need a dog," she said.

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