As Chicago wedding photographers, we have been asked to be a part of thousands of weddings, all unique and special. However, on Sunday, March 26th, we photographed our very first dog wedding and it seems like we’ve fallen in “puppy love.” This month we want to share a very special story with you; of two pups who found love and celebrated it in an amazing way.
Chachi Leon Sakoda was just a small town Maltese/Pekingese pup from Missouri. In 2011, when he turned 8 weeks old, he moved to Chicago to seek a future in the big city. One day he was approached by a woman who said,
“Baby boy, I don’t know what life may have in store for you. All I can say is if you choose to come home with me, that we will have the best of times and the worst of times together. I can’t promise you all the things a wealthier family can give you, but I do know if you choose to come home with me you will be loved and adored.”
He thought about it and watched the woman walk around before he decided he was up for a challenge! With bags packed he sat at the door of his suite, waiting for her to return and said, “I’m ready! Let’s Go!”
Chachi’s new home was in the suburbs. He spent most of his days as a Security Specialist and Goose Control Manager. His favorite assignment was caring for his grandparents Frank and Suki. He made sure they laughed at least once a day and were covered in kisses and know they were loved. Grandpa Frank taught him to love the outdoors and feel the love of God in the warmth of the sun and how to communicate with all the other animals in the neighborhood.
In 2013, Chachi spent a short time as a therapy dog. Both grandparents fell ill…one to a rare, aggressive cancer, another to a stroke. He visited them in hospitals and in rehab centers, trying to keep their spirits up. He sat by their side and told them funny stories about the squirrels and rabbits in the neighborhood. He was a good boy. With great sadness, he lost both grandparents that year. He did not know if he would ever find unconditional love like that again. His grandmother Suki, once told him that she hoped he would find a nice girl, with whom he could share his big heart, settle down, get married and have some pups of his own. She stressed the importance of getting married before the pups were born and that the girl also shares a love for the Chicago Cubs.
Chachi wasn’t looking for love when he went to interview a young pup, who posted her resume online, at Patty’s Pups. He went there thinking that he was interviewing for an assistant to his security business as he now monitored the subdivision twice a day and was on Goose Patrol all summer. He was introduced to Leilani Mae, an 8 week old Shitzu/Bichon, who was young, hungry for adventure, super independent and fearless. He told her the job doesn’t pay a lot, is 24 hours on call, requires the ability to walk long distances and run really fast. She said she was up for the challenge, but would need a day to think about it.
Leilani Mae accepted and shadowed Chachi on his security walk detail and learned how to chase the geese off their property. During those first few months, she realized that he was special. A confirmed bachelor, at five years old, he was tall and handsome and all the girls in the neighborhood loved him. She found herself having to slow him down at times by holding on to his left ear as they walked. This method was good to keep him at her pace and she found it was effective in turning his head when other girls flirted with him because everyone loves Chachi. She didn’t care that people referred to her as “Chachi’s earring.”
Chachi was resistant to this new recruit, but in time, she wore down his defenses. He began to enjoy having her around. She was feisty and independent. She was a wrestler and always won. She watched Chicago Cubs games with him on the weekends. She always wanted to be by his side.
Soon Leilani was tall enough to keep pace and walk side by side with Chahci. Then one day, it happened…Chachi saw Leilani as a beautiful, young dog. Every morning she woke him with kisses and every night she cuddled with him before she went to sleep. He had changed his flirtatious ways and only had eyes for her. He was in love. Every morning, he woke up and gave her his first snack of the day. He even found that he was used to paying her his first Chicken Coin after each security walk and he didn’t even mind it.
Leilani soon found out that she was pregnant. Chachi proposed and she accepted. Chachi and Leilani joke that,
“This was a “shot gun” wedding when we found out that we will be parents and will be expecting puppies around the second week of April 2017. But we decided why shouldn’t we get married? We have unconditional love for one another, hard work ethics and love for the Chicago Cubs.”
Our cousin, Kay Fujiyoshi, provided the flower centerpiece for the wedding and is the mother of the Maid of Honor, Isabel (Pitbull). Our friend, Gerry Perez (DJ GRP), provided the soundtrack for our wedding day and is the father of the Best Man, Miko (Black Lab). Our friend, Martin Felshman, a comedian at Cupcake Caberet, formally known as the Cookie Guy, was the baker who provided the Gluten free pup cakes. Fromm’s Dog Food provided the wedding favors and a wedding gift bag of food. Chachi’s life savings allowed him to pay for a custom Chachi + Leilani, peanut butter Gluten-free wedding cake from Happy Dog Barkery in Downers Grove. Custom La Marca Prosecco NV Minis were customized for our guests and Garage #1 is where the BMW with light up rims and hood were purchased from.
The bow vows were initially planned to happen at Mary Bartlome Dog Park, but due to the rain, the ceremony moved to Sit Social: A Dog Lounge, 3920 Ashland Ave, Chicago, Il 60613.
We were thrilled to have been a part of Chachi + Leilani’s big day and we want to do something special. In honor of Chachi + Leilani’s story, we want to share the love with other pups who may not be as fortunate. For every couple booking with TWA through May 31st and who mentions Chachi + Leilani, we will donate 5% of their photography package price to local animal shelters and charities. But, that’s not it! If we reach $5000, we will double the total! Schedule a visit here!
Chachi + Leilani, we were so inspired by your love and look forward to making more puppy dreams come true!