Locals wed on tropical island

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By Carol A. Clark

Warm ocean breezes added another pleasant layer to the marvelous memories two local adventurers brought back from their exotic wedding in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

“It really was perfect,” Veterinarian Shayna Whitaker said. “In fact, the entire week we spent in Jamaica was perfect.”

The only slightly imperfect fact about the trip, said Los Alamos Police Capt. Randy Foster, was that the couple’s luggage didn’t make the connection from Dallas. “We laughed it off saying we’d just get married in bathing suits,” he said during a recent interview.

The luggage arrived on their wedding day, Jan. 14, allowing the couple to marry in their elegant wedding attire at 3 p.m. on a pier above the Caribbean Sea.

Foster and Whitaker explained that they don’t typically do things in traditional ways. “Why should our wedding be any different,” Foster said laughing.

“We both like to travel and see new places and we really had a great time in Jamaica,” Whitaker said. “Also, both extended families are spread all over the place and it would have been difficult to get them all together for the wedding.”

During their weeklong island adventure, the couple sailed the Caribbean in a catamaran, hiked up a waterfall, went white water rafting, tubing and snorkeling.

Foster and Whitaker first met when his dog Barney became gravely ill in March 2003. “He was 16-years-old and had to be put down,” Whitaker said.

That sad situation afforded them both a unique insight into each other’s character. “Anyone who knows Shayna knows how kind she is to animals,” Foster said. “The thing that impressed me was the kindness she showed to my animals and to me.”

Whitaker described being touched by how Foster treated his dying pet. “He was very kind to his dog and I knew he was a really nice guy – I could tell because of the way he was with his dog,” she said.

The couple met for the second time in April 2003 after someone stole the hood ornament off Whitaker’s BMW. Foster happened to respond to the call. Their third meeting occurred the following month during White Rock’s annual dog jog. They spoke for quite a while that day and dated from then until they married last month.

Foster is a sharp shooting expert and named his Golden Retriever Beretta. Whitaker has a ferret named McStinky.   

She co-owns the local pet grooming business, Zoom and Groom and maintains her veterinary license through practicing part-time with colleagues in Albuquerque.

She also travels occasionally to foreign countries on missions to treat dogs and cats infested with parasites and other ailments and performs spay and neuter operations on strays as well.

Whitaker has been to Ecuador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Foster pilots his own small plane and in addition to flying around the U.S., has visited Russia. Together the couple has traveled to the Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Mexico.

They have decided to stay in Los Alamos and marriage won’t change their traveling ways, they both said.

“It’s hard to keep us still for long,” Whitaker said. “We’ll keep taking trips together.”

She also plans to continue her missions treating animals in third world countries.

“Randy doesn’t mind my going off on these adventures at all, she said laughing, “that’s why I married him.”

Whitaker is keeping her last name because her licenses are in that name and it’s just easier, she said and Foster agreed.

While in Jamaica, the couple stayed at the well-known Sandals Hotel, which supplied the minister, a large wedding cake, a candlelight dinner, morning breakfast and photographs of their big day.

Jamaica has become a popular wedding destination. The Sandals Hotel alone coordinates some 1,300 marriages annually.