Photos Show Service Dog Soothing Bride Before She Walks Down the Aisle
There’s nothing quite like the bond between a person and her service animal.
Valerie Parrott’s intimate moment with her service dog, a yellow lab named Bella, was caught on camera at her wedding on Jan. 9 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, The Huffington Post reported.
It has since gone viral, with nearly 2 million views on Imgur.
Parrott lives with anxiety, and Bella alerts her to oncoming panic attacks, anxiety and migraines. When this photo was taken, Bella easing Parrott’s anxiety before she walked down the aisle.
“She will do things like lick my hands or lean and put her weight on me to get me to focus on her instead of my surroundings,” Parrott told HuffPost. “Basically it helps me to take a moment away from whatever is causing the anxiety and keeps me from having a panic attack.”
Bella wore a tutu and helped escort the bride down the aisle.
“It is hard to sum up my relationship with Bella. She has given my life back to me. Without her, I have no clue where I would be in life,” Parrott told BuzzFeed. “She means the world to me.”
The photographer, Maddie Peschong, originally didn’t realize what was happening in the photo when she took it.
“At the time, I simply thought this was a sweet moment between a girl and her dog,” she told The Mighty in an email.
It was only later, after the photo went viral, that Parrott explained to Peschong that at the time, her heart rate was elevated and Bella used a distraction tactic to calm her down, which is what you see in that photo. Peschong is excited to see the photo raising awareness about the important role service dogs have in the lives of many people.
“I love that this is bringing attention to service animals and the positive impact [they] can have on so many people with invisible illnesses, like Val,” Peschong told The Mighty.