This bride had a unique idea for her wedding. Instead of opting for bouquets, she chose to have adoptable shelter dogs be present for her big day. It was an emotional day for all present.
Sally Burky, a dental assistant from Ozark, Missouri, wanted to do something different for her big day. Just like any other girl she too dreamt of a beautiful ceremony, and to add a unique touch to her wedding, she decided to source some inspiration from Pinterest (because you can always count on them). She told PEOPLE that she was looking for a creative replacement for her bouquets and she luckily she found exactly what she was looking for.
CURRENT TEAM FUZE [DOG]SESSION 🐕😍🐩— Humanist Weddings by Fuze Ceremonies (@FuzeCeremonies) May 28, 2019
When Sally Burky & her bride tribe ditched their bouquets in favour of rescue centre dogs, we were already OBSESSED, but when we found out that all the happy hounds have now been re-homed, we nearly exploded 🙌🎉🥂#charitytuesday pic.twitter.com/GtXc3GvDn5
"I was searching different options other than bouquets and puppies popped up on Pinterest. I thought how neat it would be to not only have puppies, but adolescent, and senior dogs as well!" the dental assistant said. The idea of including these rescue dogs seemed to be the perfect one and thankfully her husband was in for it. Elaborating her reason behind her choice she said, "I’ve always had a soft spot for animals, but it was after I rescued a pit bull puppy, that we [Sally and her now-husband] started dating. He treated him so well, and that’s when I knew, he was the one."
"Now Tank, (the pit puppy) lives with us on our family farm as a happy 9-year-old. Since we’ve been together we have always fostered, taken in rescues, and spread the word of adoption," she added. Just like she wanted, her bridesmaids carried senior shelter dogs instead of bouquets while walking down the aisle. Every dog present at the ceremony was provided by Haven of the Ozarks, an animal rescue shelter. Burky has been donating to Haven for the past eight years. "I have been donating to Haven for the last 8 years, and try to drive down to Cassville 3-4 times a year but will attend their local adoption events near our home if I don’t have the time to make the trip," she said.
Burky explained why people need to do this more often. She said, "Animals don’t have a voice, but we do. By having them in our wedding I wanted to share my compassion and show how important it is for us to be their voice. They count on us. I thought, maybe, by having them at our wedding just one might get adopted. With that adoption that is one more opening for another rescue." She continued, "It’s a never-ending cycle, but I’m hoping I can make a small impact. There are so many assistance programs out there to help with the cost of spay and neuter surgeries, I wish they were advertised more. It’s so important to have your companions fixed so maybe one day our local shelters and rescues won’t constantly be overwhelmed with residents."
The 29-year-old then recalled the time when she first heard of this place. Apparently, she was looking for a suitable home for two neglected dogs she had found. The rescue team then introduced her to Haven of the Ozarks. Praising their good work she said, "Seeing their sanctuary and how each one of their volunteers treats the animals made me feel so confident that this was the rescue I was going to support." Burky couldn't hold back her emotions at the touching sight of the shelter dogs walking down the aisle. The guests attending the wedding were emotional, too, after this heartwarming sight.
"It was incredible. I was already emotional from having our first look with my now husband, and then seeing the dogs being unloaded … I just couldn’t hold back the tears," said the Ozark-based newlywed. Being able to include these furry friends and showing everyone how kind they are had to be the highlight of the day. "They were tears of happiness that they were here to be a part of my day, and, in some way, I was a part of their day too. I wanted to show what sweet and well-behaved animals the Haven has to offer as companions for individuals and families."
As much as Burky's gesture was appreciated, it turned out to be a life-changing opportunity for many of these shelter dogs. Most of the cute canines who participated in her wedding (who otherwise were having a hard time finding a home for themselves) were immediately adopted by loving families. Well, her good deeds didn't just end there. Along with her husband, she collected donations for rural rescue on their big day. The animal sanctuary could not help but be thankful for Burky's kind gesture and Jennifer Silverberg of Haven of the Ozark told People, "It’s a lot of fun for the dogs we brought and I think the guests really enjoyed it too."
"We plan to use the donations they give us to go towards the fund for a new mobile adoption van. Ours is on its last leg and it is vital for getting our dogs and cats out to larger cities for mobile adoption events every weekend to give them a better chance at finding homes," she added. Burky's creative choice of presenting these faithful rescues to an array of guests and sharing with them the happiness that they bring to the world worked! Looks like everyone (Burky, the shelter dogs, and Haven of the Ozarks) got the happy ending that they deserved!