Wounds of war aren’t always visible. For veterans who’ve served, many know this too well. Our most-recent wedding client, retired US Army Sergeant Leonard Moya, lives with this every day. Injured in the Iraq War, Sergeant Moya now needs assistance with some of the basics of life that most people take for granted. To aid in his daily chores, Sergeant Moya relies on his constant companion, his service dog, Chance. The two are inseparable and have a bond that goes beyond master and pet.
When it came time to choose a ring bearer for his upcoming wedding, Chance was the obvious choice. Trained to answer his master’s commands and to perform routine tasks, Chance fit the requirements for ring bearer to a tee. The Moya’s wedding planner was on board but knew it might still be a challenge using a canine in such a role.
Planning and coordination was a key to making it work. In addition to a nod from family and friends, Sergeant Moya got the go-ahead from parish leaders to let the dog perform his duties in the beautiful Catholic cathedral in Corpus Christi. With a little help from his former First Sergeant, Sergeant Moya and Chance worked hand-in-hand on the wedding day to make the ceremony flawless.
Chance followed the groom into the sanctuary, and at the command of the First Sergeant, sat patiently at the steps of the dais during the ceremony. When the time came for the rings, Sergeant Moya motioned for Chance to come forward. The dog paused, then kneeled and let his master untie the rings from the ring pillow tied strategically to the dog’s service vest.
The guests oohed and ahhed, but Chance wasn’t deterred. He performed his task and went back to his position and waited patiently as the couple sealed their vows.
It was very touching to see the interaction between the service dog and his master. The ceremony was a poignant reminder that we’ve been at war for a very long time, and that our veterans deal with the consequences every day. It would be easy to dwell on the negative impacts of all this on our families, friends and loved ones, but, but for this day, the focus was on the couple, their future, and their constant companion, Chance.