For those of you who have been asking to see more of Carole and Howard, here is another one for you.  This was taken in May.

Carole Baskin Weds Howard Baskin

Carole Baskin Weds Howard Baskin

Big Cat Wedding

Big Cat Rescue Founder Carole Lewis weds Advisory Board Chairman Howard Baskin on Nov. 1, 2004 !

On Nov. 1, 2002 Howie and Carole met at the kick off party for a new concept that Mary Hessler Key was introducing to Tampa Bay called No More Homeless Pets. The coalition was being formed to end euthanasia of healthy dogs and cats in shelters by implementing an aggressive spay and neuter program. Big Cat Rescue is one of the founding members of No More Homeless Pets of Hillsborough County.

At that party, Howie won Carole’s adoration immediately because he had actually visited WildLife on Easy Street and knew who we were when it seemed that no one in the area had ever heard of us.

By the following year Howie had joined Big Cat Rescue (formerly WOES) as the Chairman of the Advisory Board. He has worked with Carole full time to build awareness of Big Cat Rescue and its mission and build a sound financial base from which to continue our work.

On Nov. 1, 2003 Howie proposed to Carole on Anna Maria Island at sunset and Carole was so overwhelmed that all she could do was write YES! in the sand. (You know how she cries all the time…) This was her dream come true and the man she had waited a life time to meet.

The Fur Ball was such a major production that they couldn’t bear the thought of immediately afterward having to organize the huge wedding that would have been required to include Howie’s many friends and Carole’s large extended family. They opted instead to have a private ceremony on the same beach where they had gotten engaged. So on Nov. 1, 2004 at sunset Howie and Carole were wed by Phil Balducci, the friend of Howie’s who had arranged for their fateful stay on the island in Nov. of 2003. Jamie Veronica took photos, Daniel Capiro took video and serenaded the happy couple with a song and his guitar.

As you can tell from the photos, this wasn’t your usual wedding, but Howie and Carole aren’t your typical couple either. One glance at the wedding vows online and you get a sense of their commitment to each other and their sense of humor. They just returned from their honeymoon in the Virgin Islands so more photos will be posted later, but for now you can see that the theme was one of caveman takes bride before the ceremony and bride puts caveman on a short leash immediately after.


The Wedding Vows

Carole and Howie, you have come here to this beautiful beach where you became engaged one year ago to proclaim to your desire to spend eternity together. In doing so, you have created the following vows, or promises, that you want to make to each other as the foundation of this life partnership you create today. You view these promises as a kind of personal Constitution. By this you mean that as time goes by, circumstances change, and you face new challenges, you will refer back to these vows as principles that will guide your behavior.

There are some actions that are totally within your control and can be promised absolutely. There are others that are not totally within your control. You recognize that human frailty is such that, despite your best intentions, you are not perfect and may not always be able to live up to even your own expectations. With respect to these commitments, your promise today is to do the best you can to honor them, and at a minimum never intentionally or willfully dishonor them.

That being said, there is only one absolute promise you make to each other today, and for each of you it is the most important. That promise is to always be truthful with each other. You both believe that preserving that trust, and having it grow with time and never be damaged, is the foundation of your relationship. No matter what the future brings, you can deal with it together with respect for each other if you preserve that trust.

The following are things that you mutually promise to each other you will do to the best of your ability:

– You will do your best to treat each other each day in way that, if through the will of God it turns out to be the last day you have together, you will not regret anything you did or said that day. You will take to heart Steven Covey’s admonition that “Love is a verb,” a conscious decision about how you will treat the person you love.

– If you experience a negative emotion as a result of the behavior of the other, such as frustration, irritation or anger, you will do your best to neither lash out hurtfully nor, at the other extreme, allow silence to let these feelings become a festering sore that grows over time. Instead, recognizing that each of you seeks to make the other as happy as you can, you will treat these feelings as impediments to your mutual happiness that you should work on together. You will do this by sharing your feelings in as caring a way as you can, listening in the same caring way, and then working together on a solution, whether it involves efforts to change behavior, compromises, or simply understandings that will help remove the negative emotions associated with the behavior.

– When moods, frustrations and stresses from the outside world are pressing on you, you will remind yourself that in the face of this adversity, the one anchor you have is the love of your partner and you will do your best to avoid taking out your frustrations or moods on her or him.

– You will actively seek ways to keep your relationship, and your partner’s life, fresh and interesting, but not so interesting that you drive Howie nuts.

– You will try to be a rock-like base from which your partner experiences life. In times of joy, this is a rock from which they will be able to leap even higher because there is someone with whom to share the moment. In times of adversity, this rock will offer a base of unwavering support to lessen the burden of the challenges you face.

– You will take a moment to just hold hands at least once each day, and remind yourselves how lucky you are to have found each other.

– If at times you find you have not lived up to these commitments as well as you had hoped, instead of being defensive, you will do your best to acknowledge the variance from the vows and then forgive fully.

– In addition to these mutual promises, you make the following individual promises:

– Howie, you promise to close drawers and cabinet doors after removing items, and particularly the closet door to keep your old cat Crystal from peeing on Carole’s clothes. You also promise to fold up your recliner blanket after you use it rather than leaving it strewn all over the living room.

– Carole, you promise to turn on the light on when you wash dishes so they have some remote chance of being clean when Howie goes to use them. You also promise not to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West.

With these promises in mind, do you, Howie, take Carole to be your partner for eternity?

[Howie answers]

And Carole, do you take Howie to be your partner for eternity?

[Carole answers]

Howie, please give Carole the ring that symbolizes your eternal bond, saying “with this ring I thee wed.”

[Howie places ring on Carole’s finger saying “with this ring I thee wed”]

Carole, please give Howie the ring that symbolizes your eternal bond, saying “with this ring I thee wed.”

[Carole places ring on Howie’s finger saying “with this ring I thee wed”]

I now pronounce you partners for eternity.

You may now kiss each other to seal this union.

[Play Rod Stewart singing ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?’ as we open champagne]

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