SIOUX FALLS, SD – If you’ve been online in the last few days, you may have noticed a photo of a young bride sitting with her dog.
In a matter of days, a sweet moment at a South Dakota wedding has become the talk of the internet, which is something the bride and her photographer never imagined.
“She sends me a message and was like, ‘Oh my gosh. We’re viral,'” bride Valerie Parrott said.
“To just see it kind of spiral from there and to get attention from local media and national media and phone calls from people I never thought that I would talk to, it’s been a pretty cool couple days,” Mad Photo and Design owner Maddie Peschong said.
What makes this photo extra special isn’t the tutu Bella is wearing, but the job she is doing in that moment for her owner.
“She just finished checking to make sure that I was kind of calming down. And then she starts doing distraction techniques,” Parrott said.
Bella is a Psychiatric Medical Alert Dog. She’s been trained to recognize warning signs for panic disorder, anxiety and migraines among other things.
Parrott was about to walk down the aisle when she noticed Bella signaling it was time to take a break.
“When I saw Bella trying to help Val before she walked down the aisle, I just thought it was a really sweet moment and that it needed to be captured. But I didn’t necessarily think this would happen,” Peschong said.
Now that the photo is getting international attention, Parrott is using this opportunity as a way to raise awareness about the multitude of jobs service dogs can offer.
“All of these different news programs and news stations that want to kind of get a little bit of insight into the picture, each one is just letting someone else out there know that there’s this type of service dog. And that they can really help people,” Parrott said.
Providing a service that made the perfect day even better with a bride’s best friend at her side.
Parrott says Bella is able to give her about a five-minute warning before she needs to take a break or use her panic medication.