A Special Wedding Photo
This wedding photo of a bride and her dog has gone viral. And it’s not surprising that animal lovers around the Internet would fall in love with a photo that so sweetly captures a blushing bride and her precious pet. But there’s actually something else that makes this special moment all the more powerful!
You see, Bella is more than just a beloved pet to Valerie. She’s also the bride’s service dog. The young woman suffers from an anxiety disorder, and she relies on Bella to help her avoid and cope with the high anxiety, migraines and panic attacks associated with her condition.
So when Valerie’s wedding photographer, Maddie Peschong of Mad Photo and Design, happened upon the touching scene, she immediately snapped a photo.
“I just thought, ‘this is a really sweet photo of a girl and her dog,'” Maddie said. “That was about all that crossed my mind.”
But the sweet moment carried even more meaning than she realized. Bella knew that the stress of the wedding was taking a toll on Valerie.
And so, the psychiatric service dog used one of the therapeutic tactics she’d been trained in to help calm her owner down.
“Like maybe three minutes before the photo was taken, she alerted to my high anxiety, and she was trying to get me to refocus on the day and how to enjoy it,” says Valerie.
After the wedding, Maddie did what just about every wedding photographer does. She shared a few pictures from the wedding online as a preview. To her complete surprise, the one of Bella soothing Valerie went viral overnight on the popular site, Reddit!
“In the photo it really just shows the bond of a service dog and her handler and how much you have to be attuned to each other, and really thrive and make things work,” Valerie said. “It’s hard to really explain and put into words just how important she is to me, and I think what’s cool about that photo is that it kind of does that.”
So, while the beautiful photo is garnering it’s share of “awwws,” it’s also raising awareness about the very important role service animals play. They are a true blessing to the humans they aid, and Valerie describes Bella as “an extended part of me.”
h/t: People Pets