Bridesmaid rescue dogs help couple say ‘I do’ | TeamDogs
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Bridesmaid rescue dogs help couple say ‘I do’

Indie and Arlo played a big part in their owners' special day

Paul McAuley

Posted 56d ago

Our dogs are so special we wish they could be part of each important event in our lives and one couple had the privilege of tying the knot with their best friends by their side.

Shannen Dabson and Ben Whittle recently said ‘I do’ with Shannen’s bridal party being made up of her two Romanian rescue dogs who the pair saved from a kill shelter.

The couple first met in University when Ben was working as a lifeguard while completing his degree.

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Shannen happened to be a keen swimmer so the pair would often spot each other at the sports centre.

After talking at a friend's party, they started dating and have now tied the knot.

Following their engagement in Zante, Shannen and Ben decided to extend their family during lockdown and welcome rescue dogs Indie and Arlo into their home.

Arlo and Indie were understandably very timid and nervous at first though three-year-old Arlo settled in quickly and after just a few days enjoyed a roll around at the beach as it was her first time ever seeing sand.

Unfortunately Indie, now described as a mummy’s girl, was terrified of everything for a while but with the help of her own room, easy access to the outdoors and a calming dog playlist she eventually settled down.

Shannen, who works with underrepresented young people in higher education throughout, explained: “I have wanted a dog my whole life. I was dedicated to learning about dog breeds and acquiring as much knowledge as I could.

"I don’t think Ben realised just how much I loved dogs until we watched Crufts on TV together one year and I was naming each dog breed and their key characteristics before the commentator had a chance to.”

All images by photographer Shauna Paton

The 26-year-old says she was never in a position to welcome a dog into her home before.

But that changed last year when they bought their first house in Liverpool.

Shannen, also a volunteer counsellor for Childline, added: “Getting a dog from a rescue centre was so important to us. We did some research and applied for a few dogs from various charities but, unfortunately, as we did not have experience of owning dogs in the past we were unsuccessful.

"We came across a charity which rescues dogs from Romania after a recommendation from a local dog walker. We had a look online and applied for a home check. Once we had passed that we were matched with a dog, well two dogs.

“I was over the moon that we had been offered a pair of dogs whilst Ben was sensibly more sceptical. It didn’t take long for me to wear him down and Indie and Arlo were on their way over to us.”

Coming a long way with the dogs, the couple knew they needed them by their sides when they said 'I do’.

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Ben, a 25-year-old criminal justice worker, said: “It was so important for us to have the dogs as part of our day. They are our family and we wanted them to be involved in the wedding as much as possible.

“We were so lucky to find a venue who loved dogs as much as we do. It just wouldn’t have been the same without them there.

“They made us smile so much and it’s a day we’ll treasure forever. We wouldn’t have been without them on our special day. “

Arlo and Indie weren’t the only dogs to enjoy the day.

Tommy, an 11-year-old black Labrador and a retired guide dog, Opal, a three-year-old trained therapy dog and Ferris, a blue merle Australian Shepherd, were all guests.

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