My interest in social issues inspired me to write about a recent experience traveling back to my home country, Mexico.
Vouch: “confirm that someone is who they say they are or that they are of good character.”
If I must speak the truth, it all started a few years ago: on my wedding day.
There were countless important people missing, most of which were not in this land, but there was one living being that was there who could not attend: my dog. And that’s where this story starts.
Fast forwarding to a few months ago; I attended a wedding back home, in Mexico. I’ve been friends with the groom for almost 10 years, I met his future wife during that time. Because of work, my husband decided not to attend. I didn't think twice and soon enough, I was on a plane to my native Mexico, ready to celebrate this important day with my friend and his fiancé.
“Would you care bringing my dog to the wedding?” I said yes, without thinking twice.
A week before the wedding we met for a run. And as it’s common with me these days, the conversation about our four legged family members popped up. Needless to say I offered my help for the doggie to join in. A few days later a message arrived “would you care bringing my dog to the wedding?”. I said yes, without thinking twice.
The night before our departure (a very, very long ride inside a rented van), my friend’s sister dropped off my +1. A blind date, I must say, since we had only met years ago, when he was a puppy.
Faster said than done, the road was long with plenty of stops and little help. My companions, although patient, wondered why a dog was going to attend the wedding… And why this guest of the groom, a married woman, was attending without her husband. After a few weird looks and several awkward silences, I began to ask the same. I reminded myself that my husband was working and taking care of our own dogs. In the end I came to my conclusion, adult women (either married or not) can and should be able to travel alone, can we not?
Adult women (either married or not) can and should be able to travel alone, can we not?
Upon arrival to our destination, the groom was endlessly grateful and excited to have his former stray dog with him. And happy to see that his friend had used almost every single means of transportation to arrive to that wedding (it felt like it, at least). Being the caretaker of the dog, communication was constant for logistical purposes.
After our long journey, I got a night off from taking care of my furry companion and the next morning I woke up and got ready to party with him. My friend’s family was surprised but happy to have the dog around. Growing up in the same small town of 4 million people, we sort of knew each other. My brother has been a long time friend of the groom’s sister and sister’s husband. The guests were taking any opportunity to have selfies with the dog. And soon enough people were realizing how much work it was for me to be in charge of him.
My dog companion and I did not attend the wedding ceremony, we stood outside the door of the church waiting patiently for it to end. An old lady, whom I’ve never met, approached to express how ugly my dog was. I, instead, would’ve liked to let her know how ugly humankind can be. But I breathed in.
“Why is the single looking woman that claims to be married attending this wedding alone…?”
The newly weds came out of the church. And while the groom couldn’t be happier to see his puppy-son, the bride was not as much. I soon realized that the bride’s mom, a widower, was not happy to have him there either.
I could tell she might have said out loud already “Why is the single looking woman that claims to be married attending this wedding alone and is such good friends with my son-in-law’s family?”
In the shuttle, on the way to the party, I sat next to the priest that officiated the wedding. He was once my teacher in junior high. He also was surprised to see me attending with a dog, but reminded me that St. Thomas used to say that animals are welcome in God’s Kingdom. I’m not very religious, but I have plenty of respect for him since he has always been very open minded and focused on social change; as any leaders (including religious) should be. He told me we could’ve and should’ve been inside the church.
The dog and I did everything together; eating, dancing and going to the bathroom.
The dog and I did everything together; eating, dancing and going to the bathroom. Still my lack of a male attendance kept on bringing stares. But now, I wasn’t the only human partner-less. A priest was too and we both understood how we felt.
The priest and I kept talking throughout the wedding. If it didn’t bothered the priest that I came alone, so why should it bother the bride, her mom and the guests? My attendance at this wedding had received the Church's blessing, after all.
The guests' attitude changed. Toward the end of the night, everyone but the main female characters of this show understood the time and effort that it took to be with the pup. This was reaffirmed the next morning when the bride’s mom welcomed us for brunch with a “Oh! That ugly dog!”
I had been vouched for by a male dog, who had been by my side all this time, finally giving me re-entrance to my old fashioned society.
On the way back however something had changed, the maids of honor were no longer giving stares and everyone in our ride home was being extra helpful. There was a difference. “What could it be?”, I asked myself. I had been vouched for by a male dog, who had been by my side all this time, finally giving me re-entrance to my old fashioned society. The bride had her groom, the mother in law had her defunct husband, and I had a male dog.
Have you ever experienced a similar realization?
The Dog Walker is a woman in her early thirties from Mexico, who recently moved to the U.S. following her marriage.