Bridesmaids Hold Shelter Dogs, Not Flowers

Many dogs in the wedding have been adopted
By Karen B. London PhD, July 2019

Dogs have played a role in Sally Burky’s relationship with her husband since the beginning. She adopted a Pit Bull puppy named Tank before they started dating, and the way he treated the dog convinced Burky that he was “the one”.

During their time together, Burky and her husband have taken in rescues and fostered many dogs. They are outspoken about the importance of adoption and actively support Haven of the Ozarks, an animal rescue that Burky regularly visits and donates to.

Given her love of dogs and desire to help as many as possible find their forever homes, it was natural to include shelter dogs in her wedding. Rather than carry bouquets of flowers, Burky’s bridesmaids carried adult shelter dogs. She says that seeing these wonderful dogs come down the aisle added to the strong emotions on her wedding day. She was so happy that they were a part of the celebration.

Many of the dogs at the wedding waited for a long time, but have finally been adopted into loving homes. The choice to include shelter dogs in this wedding helped the rescue in another way because many guests donated money in honor of the couple.


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Nine-year old Tank lives with the newly married couple on their farm, and thanks to his people, many other dogs now have families of their own.

Would you consider including shelter dogs in your wedding?

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She has authored five books on canine training and behavior.

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