Currently taking the “aww” section of Reddit by storm is a photo of bride Valerie Parrott and her service dog, a yellow lab named Bella, on her January 9 wedding day.
Posted just one day ago, the photo of Valerie and Bella cuddling up together has since been viewed by over a million people and continues to draw more attention with its genuine sweetness.
According to Maddie Peschong, the owner of Mad Photo & Design, and the photographer who captured the popular moment of affection, “Bella is a Medical Alert Psychiatric Service dog who alerts Val to migraines, panic attacks, and other general anxieties.”
Like any bride who is about to take her first steps down the aisle, Valerie was experiencing some excitement, that raised her heart rate. When Bella sensed this coming on, she acted accordingly.
Maddie explains to The Knot, “Right before the photo was taken, Bella was alerting Val that her heart rate was elevated. She was attempting to calm her down and lower her heart rate by using a distraction technique, a task she is specifically trained to do for Val because Val responds best to it.”
Not only does the photo capture the love between a bride and her pup, but Bella’s personalized and invaluable training in action.
Bella, who is 3.5 years old has been by the bride’s side for 2.5 years, while her husband Andrew Parrott has been around for 2, Valerie shared with The Knot! The couple got engaged last January and as Valerie puts it, “It’s actually a funny story.”
“As we were driving to the Sioux Falls falls where we got engaged, Andrew was so nervous that Bella kept alerting me to his rising anxiety. She’d never alerted to him before so I thought she was alerting to me and I couldn’t figure out what was going on.” Bella almost spoiled the surprise with her keen service dog skills, but luckily Valerie didn’t put two and two together!
On January 9 Valerie and Andrew tied the knot at the Rustic Hills Community Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Bella “was a very important part of the wedding day,” Maddie tells The Knot.
“She was by Val’s side the entire day, and she was working! Bella helps Val in high-stress situations, and I think we can all agree a wedding day would fall under those parameters!”
Bella was not only Valerie’s aid in lowering her stress, she was dressed in a lovely pink tutu to star as the bride and groom’s flower girl, and help walk Valerie down the aisle.
With their new fame, the bride took to her blog The (Service) Dog in the Room to shed a little more light on the value of Bella and service dogs everywhere writing, “The best part about this whole thing is that I can finally help educate more people about service dogs. So many people don’t know that service dogs can be used for so many invisible illnesses. The other thing is a lot of people look at a service dog team and forget that it is because of that partnership, that both dog and handler can not only survive life, they can thrive at it.”
“I hope that as this small limelight continues, I can use it to continue educating my area on what it really means to have a service dog and be apart of this team.”
A very special thank you to photographer Maddie Peschong and Valerie Parrott for sharing this beautiful and mutually-beneficial bond between a bride and her service dog!