A freelance embalmer tied the knot to her pet pooch – and says despite people thinking she’s barking mad, he’s ‘perfect’ for her.
Celebrating her eighth wedding anniversary to Cork-born Henry, Wilhelmina Morgan Callaghan, 43, calls him her ‘king,’ praising his unfailing loyalty and support through several major crises.
‘Things have fallen apart somewhat since we married in 2009,’ said Wilhelmina, of Northern Ireland. ‘I lost my job in a morgue, so was forced to become a freelance embalmer, there is not much money in that, and then my house flooded.
‘But Henry has been great throughout – he is so loyal.
‘I call him ‘Ri’ which means ‘King’ in ancient Gaelic, because he is like a king – my king.’
Wilhelmina Morgan Callaghan, 43, from Northern Ireland, married her pet dog and calls him her ‘king,’ praising his unfailing loyalty and support through several major crises
Wilhelmina adopted Yorkshire terrier Henry in 2009 from a friend who had a litter, and was inspired to become his bride after learning about people marrying their pets online.
‘I saw something on the internet and I thought it would be wonderful,’ she said. ‘I’m certainly not the only person to have married a pet.
‘One woman married both her cats and another lady in Australia tied-the-knot with her snake.
‘And Henry is great, he’s wonderful. He likes cuddles, food and television.’
Henry – whose full name is Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan – and Wilhelmina, became dog and wife via a website, with her friend Rebecca Carter acting as a witness.
Although they were given a certificate, as it is not legal to marry your pet, their union is a spiritual one, although she takes it completely seriously.
A big fan of Sealyham Terriers – a medium-sized Welsh breed – Wilhelmina runs a Facebook page dedicated to them, under the pen name Celia Ham. She also has 10 other pooches, including Chihuahuas, Chinese-crested dogs and Schnauzers, which she has acquired from places as far flung as Slovenia, the Ukraine and Lincolnshire.
The pet owner lost her job in a morgue so was forced to become a freelance embalmer and then her house flooded but she says her ‘husband’ supported her through it
Although they were given a certificate, as it is not legal to marry your pet, their union is a spiritual one, although she takes it completely seriously. The dog lover is pictured, left and right, with two of her other dogs
Wilhelmina and her dog Henry’s marriage certificate
‘There is Merrick-Thor, Mercurius, Medeia, Celia, Madoc, Francesca, Bebe, Victor, Blodwen and Ludwig,’ she said, naming her menagerie.
‘We all get along – most of the time – but there can be arguments.’
When there is tension amongst her canine companions, Henry is usually the peacemaker.
‘It’s one of the many things I love about him,’ she explained. ‘If a new dog enters the fold, Henry is the first to go over and say hello. There’s no ego, he is just so friendly.
‘He’s not an alpha dog, he’s just kind, friendly and easy.
‘You know he’s with you for the long haul.’
She also has 10 other pooches (one is pictured) which she has acquired from places as far flung as Slovenia, the Ukraine and Lincolnshire
When there is tension amongst her group of dogs, she says that husband Henry, pictured, is usually the peacemaker. She credits his unwavering loyalty and support
Wilhelmina with another one of her dogs, lost her job when the recession hit, followed by her house being flooded
A big fan of Sealyham Terriers – a medium-sized Welsh breed – Wilhelmina, pictured with another of her dogs, runs a Facebook page dedicated to them
Romantically, she even has a song she croons to him.
‘When I sing it, he runs over,’ she said. ‘It’s called “Harry’s Song” and it includes the lyrics, “Harry is my love. Harry is the one”.’
She needed his support in 2010, when the recession hit Ireland and she lost her job, followed by her house being flooded.
‘It was such a stressful time,’ she reflected. ‘But Henry, loyal like he is, was great.
‘He’s been there for me more than any men have ever been.
‘But, then, dogs are better than men. In fact, the only man who could possibly match up to Henry is Gregory Peck – and I will be waiting a long time to meet him now in the after-life.
‘Unlike other marriages which fall apart, I know I’m with Henry for life.
‘People may think I’m barking mad, but he’s perfect for me.’