When surveyed, one third of married women said their pet was a better listener than their spouse, and 14% would choose their pet over their spouse. So is it a surprise some people chose to cut out the middleman?
Marriage to animals is traditional in some cultures to attract good luck or repel bad luck, or as a consequence of bestiality. Here are some examples of people who married animals. But the idea of literal marriage to animals is normally limited to scary stories told by anti-marriage equality advocates.
Animal Marriage in Mythology
Many cultures have tales of people who marry animals. For example Inuit stories include many tales where human women marry different kinds of animal like a shark or a dog. Similar tales in native American cultures tell of women marrying fish or bears.
There are a range of myths where a person is able to find love for a beast and is rewarded with a proper human spouse. For example: Beauty and the Beast, and the White Bear King Valemon.
The stories below show some of he reasons way men and woman have chosen to have a non-human spouse, sometimes for symbolic reasons and sometimes altogether too literally.
Man and Pony (1998)
The Jerry Springer show interviewed American Mark Matthews who was married to a pony called Pixel. It was one of this controversial shows most infamous episodes, and also included the stories of an anonymous man and women who each had intimate relationships with their dogs. Matthews is also the author of book on the subject of zoophilia called "the Horseman: Obsessions of a Zoophile".
Sharon Tendler and Cindy (2005)
Sharon Tendler (41) is a British citizen who married a 35-year-old male dolphin called Cindy in Israel.She was quoted as saying: "It's not a bad thing. It's just something that we did because I love him, but not in the way that you love a man. It's just a pure love that I have for this animal." Tender saw her animal marriage as a spiritual connection not replacing her own options for conventional marriage or the dolphin's natural interactions with his own kind. Cindy passed away in June of 2006.
Mr Tombe and Goat (2006)
Mr Tombe of the Sudan was discovered in an intimate situation with another mans goat. he was required to pay the goats owner a dowry, marry and take possession of the goat.
Selva Kumar and Selvi (2007)
New Dehli resident Selva Kumar (18) had suffered ill health since he killed two dogs years earlier. In order to break the curse an astrologer instructed him to marry a dog. He will look after Selvi, a former stray, for the rest of her life.
Emily Mabou and Dog (2009)
Emily Mabou (39) of Ghana reportedly married her pug dog. She is quoted as saying: ""For so long I've been praying for a life with a partner who has all the qualities of my dad. My dad was kind, faithful and loyal to my mum, and he never let her down."
Her family boycotted the wedding.
Linda and unnamed dog (2009)
I am not sure this report is real, but the photo is cute. The woman, reportedly named Linda, is said to have married her dog.
I have found the picture all over the internet,but never associated with a reliable media report. I wonder if it may have originated in a print source like a magazine?
Uwe Mitzscherlich and Cecilia (2010)
Uwe Mitzscherlich from Germany married his cat, Cecilia, after she was determined to be terminally ill.
Joseph Guiso and Honey (2010)
Australian man Joseph Guiso (20) 'platonically' married his yellow lab, Honey--as a way to mark how important his canine companion is to him.
Ngurah Alit and Cow (2010)
Ngurah Alit (18), resident of Bali, was required to marry a cow who he was found to have had sexual intercourse with. The cow was then drowned. This was done to cleanse the community of the sin of bestiality.
Girl and Dog (2011)
A young girl in India was ceremonial married to a dog in an attempt to neutralize a bad omen.
Lakhan Hansda (2011)
This man tried to shake off bad luck from having an extra teeth by marrying a dog.
Wilhelmina and Henry / Dog (2017)
An Irish woman who is open about her spiritual marriage with her dog says it helped her through some hard time.
Technically, marriage is a form of contract which animals non-human animals cannot enter into. Therefore these marriages are more symbolic than binding. What these ceremonies reflect is a family bond a spiritual connection, a superstitious "cure" or on rare cases a sexual connection. The meaning of the ritual being as diverse as he individuals involved.
- Kroeber, A. L. (1899). Animal Tales of the Eskimo. The Journal of American Folklore, 12(44), 17-23.
- Sherman, H. J. (2014). World folklore for storytellers: tales of wonder, wisdom, fools, and heroes. Routledge.