Dominique Lesbirel was with her last husband – her cat Doerack – for 16 years and says it’s too soon yet but she will wed her cat Travis
Dominique Lesbirel was devastated after the death of her husband from kidney failure.
They had been together for 16 years and did everything together.
Happily she has now found love again – but still believes it is too soon to marry, remaining loyal to her first love Doerack.
It is a predicament many people can relate to – except for a couple of small details.
Dominique’s first husband Doerack was her CAT – and her new love is her DOG Travis.
She wed her soul-mate, pet cat Doreack, eight years ago, but sadly he had to be put down at the age of 19.
“Putting Doerack to sleep was horrible, I’ve had him since he was three, but I feel lucky to have had 16 lovely years with him,” she said,
“It sounds strange but I wouldn’t marry Travis just yet,” she said. “It’s still too soon after the death of Doerack.
“I’ve had Travis for years. He was a stray I rescued when I lived in Greece.
“He would come down to the beach I swam at every day and eat from the bins or scrabble in the sand for old bits of crab.
“I’d leave him food and water so he didn’t have to drink from the sea. At first he would hide in the bushes but eventually he got brave enough to come over to me for cuddles.
“He’d steal my shoes and bag while I was swimming and, with it, he stole my heart.”
When Travis was struck with a life-threatening virus, Dominique, 41, decided to take him in full time and the pair have been together ever since.
The upcoming ceremony will be done through Marryyourpet.com , a website Dominique set up in 2003.
The site boasts several thousand visitors a day and Dominique, who lives in Holland, pronounces several couples a month lawfully wedded pet and owner.
After their applications to marry are approved, each couple is taken to a virtual chapel on screen, where they exchange vows.
The happy couple then click a button to say ‘I do’ and Dominique, who became ordained online, sends them a certificate.
She said she encourages people to see the ceremony as a normal wedding, planning in advance, inviting friends and throwing lavish parties to celebrate.
“Not all applications get approved,” she said. “There are rules, as with any marriage.
“I’m happy to conduct same sex marriages, or to let people marry more than one pet. I only marry domestic animals, though. In some parts of the world, you hear of people keeping lions and tigers as pets – I wouldn’t marry people to them.
“I also need to be sure they truly love and respect their pet.”
den rule is that divorce is not an option.
“The difference between a church ceremony and my online chapel is that I don’t allow divorce. I don’t want to let anybody abandon their pet,” said Dominique.
Although most people understand the light-hearted and loveable tone of the site, a small handful have not seen the funny side.
Dominique claims to have received hate mail and even death threats in the past.
“I had people emailing me telling me I was cruel,” she said.
“They said I was basically promoting animal cruelty. Some were horrified and thought I was condoning bestiality, which was awful and certainly not the case.
“I would never condone such terrible acts of cruelty to animals. My site is all about making a commitment to pets to show your dedication to them and promise that you will always look after them.
Dominique was inspired to set up the site after her cat Zeus was tragically run over and killed.
“I felt really depressed and nobody seemed to get it,” she said. “People just kept saying, ‘Come on, it’s just a cat,’ but it wasn’t to me.
“We have such a strong bond with our pets, but if you tell people you’d rather go home to your cat than go out, they look at you like you’re insane.
“With a human, you can point to a ring to show you’re committed to each other but with pets, there’s no one moment of joy to mark that bond.
“Pets are loyal and adoring so I wanted to create something to celebrate that.
“We all need that unconditional love, but it can be hard to find with a person, especially when everyone withdraws behind their phone or laptop screens, so why not look to a pet instead?”
Dominique ‘s site also offers advice for couples in crisis.
“So what if kitty’s having an affair with your neighbour or Fido’s too busy on eBay to give you quality time,” it reads. “For better or worse, remember? Clearly it’s time to put the spice back into your marriage.”
The section includes recommendations of pet therapists as well as ideas of treats for furry friends should any owners find themselves in the dog house.
Couples also keep in touch with theteam to update them on married life as they rack up anniversaries.
“We’d be lost without those happy little faces at our windows, so I’ll do anything I can to remind people to treat animals with love, kindness and respect.
“That’s why I’m planning to marry Travis. He’s given me so much happiness and unconditional love. I just want to celebrate that bond.”