9 Wedding Readings for Children

Getting your children to do a reading within your ceremony can be such a great way of involving them, and making sure they feel included.  Below are some examples which I’ve seen work really well; they tend to be easy for children to read, and the words can feel very appropriate for a wedding.

Hilary_Rich_Ring

I Love My Family So Much – Filoi Hemopo

To be a part of a family like mine
is so divine
where love is shown
hurt is shared
our love for each other is never impaired

we talk
we laugh
we cry
but we are a family
and we do it all together
for as a family we do it all as one

for we are family
a family full of strength
a family full of love
a family no one can touch
that’s why I love my family so much
my family is my life and always will be forever

 

Guess How Much I Love You Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare’s very long ears. He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening.

“Guess how much I love you,” he said.

“Oh, I don’t think I could guess that,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.

“This much,” said Little Nutbrown Hare, stretching out his arms as wide as they could go.

Big Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms. “But I love YOU this much,” he said.

Hmm, that is a lot, thought Little Nutbrown Hare.

“I love you as high as I can reach.” said Little Nutbrown Hare.

“I love you as high as I can reach,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.

That is quite high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that.

Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea. He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet.

“I love you all the way up to my toes!” he said.

“And I love you all the way up to your toes,” said Big Nutbrown Hare, swinging him up over his head.

“I love you as high as I can HOP!” laughed Little Nutbrown Hare, bouncing up and down.

“But I love you as high as I can hop,” smiled Big Nutbrown Hare – and he hopped so high that his ears touched the branches above.

That’s good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I could hop like that.

“I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river,” cried Little Nutbrown Hare.

“I love you across the river and over the hills,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.

That’s very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think any more. Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be further than the sky.

“I love you right up to the MOON,” he said, and closed his eyes.

“Oh, that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare. “That is very, very far.”

Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night.”

Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, “I love you right up to the moon – AND BACK.”

 


Family Comes Together – Glaedr the poet

Family comes together
For always and forever
In sickness and in health
In poverty or in wealth
Family comes together
For always and forever
Without any reason
Anytime or any season
Family comes together
For always and forever
In death or in life
In happiness or in strife
Family comes together
For always and forever
In anger or in kindness
Whether all seeing or in blindness
Family comes together
For always and forever
Whether for work or for play
They somehow find a way
For family to come together
Because families are forever

 

Dr Seuss Quote

“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

 

Never Going to Give You UpRick Astley

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but you’re too shy to say it
Inside we both know what’s been going on
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

And if you ask me how I’m feeling
Don’t tell me you’re too blind to see

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

 

 

Somethings Go TogetherCharlotte Zolotow

Pairs of things that go together.
Pigeons with park
Stars with dark
Sand with sea
and you with me.
… Hats with heads
Pillows with beds
Sky with blue
and me with you

 

Sheep and GoatMarleen Westera

“What are you doing?” asks Goat. “I’m looking for happiness,” answers Sheep. “Don’t waste your time, Sheep. Happiness will find you.” “Help me look!” shouts Sheep. “No, I’m much too comfortable here,” says Goat. “Then I’ll look by myself. But if I find happiness, I’m going to keep it,” says Sheep. …

“Well, did you find happiness?” asks Goat. “I thought I had. But I was wrong. I’m sorry.” “That’s all right, Sheep,” says Goat. “Would you like a mouthful of hay? It’s a little dry today.” “It doesn’t matter,” says Sheep. She takes a big bite. It is dry, and a little dusty. But it tastes like happiness.

 

I Like YouSandol Stoddard Warburg

I like you and I know why
I like you because you are a good person to like
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special
And you remember it a long, long time
You say, “Remember when you told me something special?”
And both of us remember
When I think something is important
You think it’s important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I’m funny and you think I’m funny too
You know how to be silly
That’s why I like you
If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag,
then you are getting ready to jump
I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don’t always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad
You want to think about things
It takes time
I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It’s awful when the other person isn’t
I can’t remember when I didn’t like you
It must have been lonesome then
Even if it was the 999th of July
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again
And that’s how it would happen every time

 

I Love You as Big as the WorldDavid Van Buren and Tim Warnes

I love you as big as the world.
I love you as deep as the sea.
I love you as bright as the sun.
I love you. And I know you love me!
I love you as blue as the sky.
I love you as long as the days.
I love you as high as the mountain top.
I love you in so many ways!
I love you as strong as the wind.
I love you as soft as the dew.
I love you as far as a star.
I love you because…you are you

Let me know if there’s any you’ve heard delivered by younger ones that you really like by sending me an email at roxy@roxyrocks.com

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

 

Acknowledging a loved one in your ceremony

When an important person in your life isn’t able to attend your wedding, it can be hard.  Whether it’s because they have died or are unable to travel to your wedding, you may be considering ways to acknowledge them. If so, what is the best way to do so, and how?

To Acknowledge or Not?

This is something that only you can decide, but in my experience, acknowledging a person who is notably absent can address the elephant in the room.

I conducted a wedding where the brother of the groom had passed only recently.  The groom wanted his absence acknowledged in the ceremony and so I said ‘Dave, has asked me to acknowledge his little brother, James, who I’m sure is in many of your thoughts today. Although James is not here, it does feel like he’s looking on, and probably having a bit of a laugh seeing Dave all suited and nervous.  Although his absence is felt deeply, think of him with a smile, and imagine him taking full advantage of the free bar and throwing a shape or two on the dance floor later on.’

After the ceremony, the groom’s parents came and spoke to me.  They explained that they were so grateful that James had been acknowledged, and had been worried that the whole day would go by without him being mentioned.

At another ceremony, the bride’s grandmother was too poorly to travel.  The relationship between the two of them was very close, and she explained to me that her grandmother had had a dream where the bride had married in olive green which was her grandmother’s favourite colour.  I suggested that I wore one of my frocks which was in this colour, and during the ceremony I explained I was wearing this specifically in honour of her.  The bride loved this idea, and sent her grandmother an extract of the ceremony where this was mentioned.

However, acknowledging someone with words may feel too upsetting, and there are other ways of doing so.

Photos

Whether you have a photo of your loved one somewhere near the ceremonial area or chose to carry a photo in your bouquet or pinned to your jacket, having a photographic reminder can be a wonderful way of feeling as if they are close by you throughout the day.

l-r: Rachel Clingen Roxy’s own,  Shea Christine

Their Favourite Thing(s)

A fun inclusion could be serving your loved ones favourite drink or food, or making something from one of their recipes.  Alternatively, you could have one of their favourite songs played or, if the lyrics work, read by a friend or family member during the ceremony.

l-r: Inked Weddings, Roxy’s own, Inked Weddings

Personalised Items

Whether it’s a fragment of your loved one’s wedding dress, his favourite tie, a hand-written note, their names embroidered into your dress, or a piece of jewelry or cuff-links worn, this can be a subtle, yet memorable way of including them in your day.

l-r: Zofia and Co.Kay McKee photographer,  Janine Deanna, Lindsay Docherty

I also love this idea of creating a kilt pin with specific items and wearing this somewhere on your dress or suit.

To see how to make these, check out Something Turquoise.

Rituals

Whether it’s lighting a candle, placing a flower which has significance to the deceased, or using materials from a wedding dress in a handfasting, there are existing rituals that you can tweak or utilise as is to acknowledge absent guests.

l-r: Amanda Macy Hall, Wedding Star, EL Simpson 

Seating

You may want to leave a seat for your loved one, either within the ceremony area, or in a more discrete area, such as under a tree with one of their favourite flowers or a bottle of their drink so people can go and have a private moment and remember them.

l-r Wedding ChicksSouthern Weddings

And finally….

Sadly my husband’s brother passed away only nine months before our wedding.  His absence was on all our minds in the lead up to the wedding and on the day itself.  However, we had a very happy day, and it was the first time many people who had been at his funeral were together again.  Although there were tears, there was much celebration of him and of us.

Please feel free to chat to me about any of these ideas.  You can contact me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478041227

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

How To Sign The Register

Register Sign

How to sign the register?  Are you confused as to whether it should be your married name?

The answer is ‘no’ – you sign your name in your current signature. Getting married doesn’t automatically change your last name; after all, some couples choose not to do so.

Your name change can happen once you start to get identification in this name. The process is:

1) After your married your celebrant will send your paperwork to Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State where you were married
2) Once this has been registered by the Births, Deaths and Marriage in that State, you can then apply for your marriage certificate which can be used as evidence that you are now legally married
3) You can then begin applying for documents which you can use as ID, such as your passport and drivers licence with your new name

Simples! For a comprehensive list of people to contact regarding name change, please see link here: Super-Handy Name-Change Check-List

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this or anything else.

Handy links:
Drivers Licence Name Change in QLD

Passport Application for Name Change

Photo: This is Life Photography

Thinking of eloping? Read my handy top tip guide to get you on track.

Thinking of eloping?  Whether you want to do so to save money, to negate the ‘inviting the masses’ issue, or you just want a really intimate commitment with only you and your witnesses then I’m able to help you with your elopement ceremony, ensuring it meets all your needs.

As a starter, I’ve produced some guidance on how to organise the perfect elopement:

  1.  Submit your completed notice-of-intended-marriage at least one calendar month prior to your elopement date with your celebrant.  Unless there is a reason which falls under the exceptional circumstances (please ask me for more advice on these), you will need to  lodge this at least one calendar month before your chosen date to get married.
  2. Think about what kind of elopement you want.
    • Do you want super-intimate with only two witnesses or something with a small, intimate group of family and/or friends?
    • If you do want to invite guests, do you want them to be aware that you are eloping, or do you want to invite them under a different guise?
    • Do you want to include personalised vows in the ceremony?
    • Do you want any readings included?  Would you like any of your guests to say something during the ceremony?
    • Do you want your elopement to be captured by a professional photographer and/or videographer to then share with others at a later date?
  3. Decide where you would like to hold your elopement ceremony.  I have conducted elopements:
    • at parks (depending on your type of elopement, it’s worth checking first to see if you need any kind of permit for that particular park)
    • on beaches, including those on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts
    • in a coffee shop (with the bride and groom in shorts and thongs)
    • at the home of a couple, just before they were to fly off for a trip of a lifetime
    • at a small family 30th birthday party which turned into a surprise elopement
  4. How are you going to share the news with your family and friends after the elopement?  It must seem an odd question to ask, but quite often couples elope, and then spend days, weeks, even months, before they share the news because, well… basically they’re not sure how to do so!  It’s worth having a think about this beforehand; are there those whom you want to tell first face to face, or are you happy to make an announcement on social media?

Please do not hesitate to contact me about elopements – I have a real sense of adventure and love surprises, so am more than happy to get fully on board to make your elopement totally right for you.

“Thank you foKellDr your wonderful assistance on our surprise evening… even your commitment to your backstory so my family wouldn’t guess you were a celebrant. Thanks for fitting in with our very simple, kinda last minute decision and making it super chilled with was just perfect for us.” Kellee and Ben (left)

 

 

Roxy signature

www.roxyrocks.com

 

How to Show Marriage Equality Support in your Ceremony

Marriage Equality… sigh…

It truly is something which I’m very passionate about and it beggars belief to me as to why we don’t have it.  Please read my post on my thoughts about Marriage Equality, which can be found here.

As you may be aware, by law, all celebrants must include some monitum wording which includes:

‘I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law.  Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’

I really don’t like saying the bit in bold.  I truly don’t.  And often couples I work with don’t like me saying it either, and they ask if I can exclude it.  Unfortunately I can’t, but what I can do is include a precursor sentence before the monitum wording paragraph which explains that this is not the views of all of us, and we hope one day to have marriage equality.

I recently conducted a wedding where when I said this, everyone cheered.  It gave me goose bumps; I was so proud that so many like-minded people are out there.  After the ceremony a guest came up to me and shook my hand.  He was in his late 50s and told me that in all his life, he’d never been to a wedding where he and his (male) partner actually felt included.

This in itself is one of many reasons why I will keep supporting change for the introduction of marriage equality.

Marriage Equality. It’s only fair.

Roxy signature

What absolutely, definitely must and must not happen during your ceremony.

Have you been thinking; ‘what must and must not happen during a wedding ceremony?’

Have you wondered what the legalities are within the ceremony itself?

Are you worried you’ll have to say long vows or ring exchange wording?

Well, there’s actually very little which must happen during your ceremony and equally very little that must not happen.  But, before you think this is a nagging, boring post, dictating to you about traditions, read on…

What Must Happen

  • Your celebrant must say the legal wording which is ‘I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.  Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’  I know that some find this paragraph insensitive and, as an advocate of Marriage Equality, I am more than happy to include a precursor to this paragraph which helps guests understand that a marriage between a man and a woman is not necessarily the belief of all.
  • Bride and groom must say the mandatory words ‘I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (name in full), take thee (name in full) to be my lawful wedding (wife/husband).  There are some slight changes in the wording which is a permissible (such as ‘you’ instead of ‘thee’).
  • The following three documents must be signed by the bride and groom in presence of two witnesses, followed by the celebrant:
    • the big red register (which your celebrant keeps)
    • the fancy looking certificate of marriage (which you keep)
    • the other one (which your celebrant submits to births, deaths and marriages)

That’s it… that’s all the ‘musts’ for a wedding ceremony!

Must Not

  • You must not do something just because it’s tradition. This is your wedding, and you can do it your way.  You may want to follow traditions, and that’s completely fine, but if you want to arrive together, do it!  If you don’t want to exchange rings, don’t!  If you’d prefer to have a shot of tequila rather than ‘kiss the bride’, go ahead!
  • You must not sweat the small stuff.  The best weddings I’ve conducted are where the bride and groom are present and enjoying the ceremony.  I know this is easier said than done, but your guests are there to celebrate with you, and you’re there to marry the love of your life.  Enjoy every second of it and it will be the best day of your life.  No-one will ever say ‘it was a crap wedding because the flowers were a centimeter out of place’.
  • You must not get stressed if something doesn’t go according to plan.  I’ve had ceremonies where someone who was going to do a reading couldn’t as they were so emotional.  I’ve had the wrong song played on the entrancenicandlee3 of the bride.  I’ve had children come wandering up and chat to the bride and groom during the ceremony.   I’ve had my heel caught in the paving and couldn’t move for a few seconds (pictured right). And do you know what… with every single ceremony I’ve always had people come up to me and say it was the best ceremony they’ve ever seen.

Of course, the most important thing is to enjoy your day – please feel free to contact me to discuss further how to make your day absolutely perfect for you.

Roxy signature

 

 

Filling in a Notice of Intended Marriage

Filling in a Notice of Intended Marriage looks straight forward – and it is.  But there are some common mistakes often made.

To marry in Australia you need to fill in and lodge with your celebrant a Notice of Intended Marriage between one and 18 months before your wedding date. You can find this document here New-notice-of-intended-marriage

Here are the most common mistakes which are often made on this document:

General Points

  • Write really really neatly and use capital letters.  Alternatively, you can type the information
  • If you make a mistake, don’t use white-out.  Cross the mistake out once with a line, initial it, and write the correct information next to it
  • Do not sign until you are in front of your witness, and, if you’re not using your celebrant as your witness, make sure the person you choose is eligible to witness the document.  The only eligible witnesses in Australia are:
    • Authorised celebrant
    • A Commissioner for Declarations
    • A Justice of the Peace
    • A barrister or solicitor
    • A legally qualified medical practitioner
    • A member of the Australian Federal Police or police force of State/Territory

Mistakes Made on Specific Questions

Question 3: Usual Occupation

Sometimes people will write ‘administration’ or ‘army’.  Think of the following: if someone asked you what you do for a living, you wouldn’t answer ‘I am an administration’ or ‘I am an army’.  Therefore you need to write ‘administration assistant’ or ‘soldier’.

Question 5: Conjugal Status

If you’ve never been married then you need to write the words ‘never validly married’ (not ‘never married’)

Question 10: Mother’s Maiden Name

This question is often misunderstood; it requires your mother’s first, middle and her last name at birth.

If you have any specific questions about any of the other elements of this form, please don’t hesitate to ask me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478 041 227.  Always happy to help.

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

 

‘Princess Consuela Banana Hammock.’ A handy name-change check-list.

Name Change After Marrying

Are you considering changing your name once you get married? It’s a personal choice as to whether you want to – obviously you don’t have to, and you don’t not have to.  Me, well when I got married the second time I kept my first husband’s last name (weird, huh, but it’s my kids last name, you see).  My current husband and I unofficially call each other ‘Mr and Mrs Hotten-Brown’ or ‘Mr and Mrs HB’ for short.  It’s almost like I’m going through life collecting husbands’ names…  And yes, Mr HB is an amazing man without one iota of jealousy in his body and, call us freaks, but my first husband came to my second wedding with his partner.  But that’s a whole other story that I won’t bore you with…

So, getting back onto topic, if you do want to change your name, you will first need to get your standard marriage certificate from the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) in the State where your marriage took place.  I always email couples I work with details on how to do this after their wedding, and your celebrant can give you guidance on this, but below is a list of where to apply for your marriage certificate via Births, Deaths and Marriages in Australia:

ACT

Northern Territory

NSW

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

The super-handy name change check-list has proven to be a real help for those considering changing their name.  I have a printed version of this that I give to all couples just after their marry.

Once you’ve got your hands on your certificate, it’s time to start contacting people to let them know.  It’s a laborious process, and there are undoubtedly some on the list below which are not relevant to you, and some not on the list which are. Below is a starter for ten, but if you’d like to provide me with any suggested inclusions, please feel free to email me at roxy@roxyrocks.com

NameChangeCheck
Name Change Check List

 

Hope this helps, and if you’d like a PDF version of this emailed to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478041227.

Happy name-changing!

Roxy signature

Two Of My Favourite Things: Dogs and Weddings (Part Two)

Hopefully you had a chance to read Part One of this blog, which was basically a love story between my handsome boy Valentine McFarty, and Mr HB and I.

As promised in that post, I wanted to provide some ideas on ways you can include your dog in your ceremony.

To Have, Or Not To Have

What’s that saying? Never work with children or animals… Well, I’ve worked with both, many times, and never once have I found it a major problem.  Yes, even the best trained animal can be unpredictable, and if you’re looking for a ceremony which runs as smoothly as Kate and Wills, then it’s probably not such a good idea to have your four legged friend involved.  However, if you are comfortable with the thought of your dog (or any other animal!) going off script then I think they can make such a wonderful asset to your ceremony.

dog3
http://snapweddings.ca/

 

Getting Your Dog Involved Prior to the Ceremony

Getting your pet involved in your engagement shoot or save the date photos can result in beautifully unique pictures.  You can also include your dog in your wedding invitation – Etsy.com has lots of creative artists who can help you with this idea.

During the Ceremony

Having your furry friend as a bridesmaid, grooms man or flower girl can be a lovely addition.  

There’s some great ways to include your pooch as your ring bearer.  Not sure if my Valentine McFarty is well trained enough to carry the basket in his mouth like the dog below, but there’s other, perhaps safer, options available too.

I recently conducted a wedding where their dog, Ernie, was a big part of the day.   He was there at all my consultations with the couple, he was mentioned during the ceremony, he escorted the groom’s party on arrival, and walked both bride and groom down the aisle.  One of their friend’s made a fingerprint tree with Ernie sitting underneath.  Ernie is very much part of their lives, and therefore very much part of their wedding.  I ‘heart’ Ernie…

During the Reception

Even if your furry friend isn’t at the reception, there’s still ways you can acknowledge them.

What about having you, your partner, and your pet on your cake topper?

I went to a wedding once where Valentine, and other doggies were invited for the ceremony and the reception.  If you’re doing the same, what about some wedding favours for your furry friends?

Fingerprint trees are very popular at the moment, and a great way of having a keepsake of all your guests.  Why not include your dog in the print, or do the fingerprint dog in purple below.  Or, if you’re really adventurous, what about a paw print from your pooch?

Pet Assistants

As much as you love your dog, you may not want to have to keep an eye on him or her all day, and you also may want to consider them going home after the ceremony.  If so, there’s companies who can do this for you such as the lovely Sherron at Howl Yeah.

Love Animals, but are Animal-less?

If you don’t own an animal, but are an animal lover there’s still ways you can show your love for our furry/feathered friends. How about hiring some Alpacas from our wonderful friends at Alpaca Pooch – these lovely, friendly, super cute animals make a great addition to any celebration.  Other ideas include a dove release from White Wings Dove Service or an owl delivering your rings (Raptor Vision).

And Finally…

If you decide against having your dog or pet at your wedding, I have some wording I can use which will give you and your guests a giggle and will acknowledge your pet within the ceremony.  Please don’t hesitate to ask me about this.

Roxy signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Of My Favourite Things: Dogs & Weddings (Part One)

When I worked as a celebrant in London, I rarely had an opportunity to include dogs into ceremonies – for a couple of reasons: 1) not that many couples had dogs and 2) not many wedding venues allowed dogs.  However, here in Australia I’m doing many weddings where dogs are a part of the day and this means two of my favourite things come together.

In this two part post, Part One tells the story of my dog, Valentine McFarty, with Part Two providing ideas on ways to incorporate your dog into your ceremony.

Adopting Our Boy

My husband, Mr HB and I wanted a dog since forever.  We’d both grown up with them, but living in small apartments in London whilst working full time made it seem impossible.

It was only when someone suggested that with the help of dog-walkers and friends, we could make being a dog owner a reality that we decided to go for it.  So, with much excitement we contacted Battersea Dogs Home, which was handily located down the road from where we lived.

Like many rescue centers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers make up the majority of abandoned, abused and lost dogs, so it wasn’t surprising that we were matched with two brindle boy Staff’s, one six months old, and one three years old.

Mr HB and I played with both, before unanimously agreeing that the three year old – ‘Mitch’ – was our boy.  Poor Mitch had been in the rescue center for three months, and was suffering from signs of stress, whereas we knew the other puppy would have more chance of finding an adopter.  The home knew nothing about his past; he had been found wandering on Clapham Common, scavenging through rubbish, and was rather overweight, but as to who his owners were, they knew zilch.

Within minutes we were walking out of the center with Mitch.  We were dog owners!

We Ditch the Mitch

On our half hour walk home from the rescue center, Mr HB and I babbled excitedly whilst Mitch yanked on the lead, desperate to put as much distance from the center and himself as possible.  It was at this time that Mr HB came up with an idea.  Mitch had been found on 14th February 2011 by the rescue center, so why not call him Valentine?!  A genius moment from Mr HB.  Reader, this is why I married him.

His last name, ‘McFarty’, came from the moment I first saw him in hisVal6 jacket we bought for London’s many cold winter days.

Me: ‘Oooh, don’t you look handsome’.

Valentine: ‘…’

Me: ‘And what clan do you belong to?’

Valentine: ‘…’

Me: ‘The McFarty clan, you say!  How appropriate…’

I can assure you, he lives up to his clan’s name.

Life in London

Valentine quickly settled into life with Mr HB and I, though initially was very quiet and cuddly boy, perhaps frightened that if he showed his personality too much we might return him to the center.  He didn’t play with the plethora of toys we’d bought him, but he did learn many tricks; ‘bang’ (where he drops dead), jumping through a hoop, ‘high five’ etc.  He also loved coming to the pub, which was handy as we did this a lot.

As time went on, his confidence grew, and soon he would play with his toys, throwing his ball around our flat, and playing tug-of-war with his ropey.  He loved chasing (but never catching) squirrels and foxes in the park opposite our house.  We took him on our holidays, and realised he liked swimming in the sea and ponds, but not in a pool.  He enriched our lives in ways that we never expected, and the cheeky, funny, silly side of his personality came out in droves.

Life in Australia

In 2015, Mr HB and I decided to move to Australia.  This meant organising for Valentine to get his Pet Passport, a million or so vet checks and a very, very expensive flight, followed by 10 days in quarantine in Sydney.  And every penny we paid was worth it, as Valentine took to living here like he was a true blue Aussie.

Now we live in a house with a garden he has learnt to bury his bones (though he does struggle to remember where he left them), bark and chase the postman, tease the magpies (who take much joy in swooping him – it’s a fun game), and going for a swim in the sea at least twice a week.

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Some people say Valentine is lucky we adopted him, but Mr HB and I are the lucky ones.  Seeing this boy, who had experienced god only knows what in his first three years, living the life he deserves is the most satisfying thing to observe.

I guess you can say that I am a proper dog lover.  I truly love Valentine, but I also love many other dogs.  I can’t walk past a dog without saying ‘hello’, and many of my friends’ dogs received the same kind of loving I give Valentine.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about my boy, and keep an eye out for ‘Two Of My Favourite Things: Dogs & Weddings (Part Two)’ coming soon.

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