Photo captures the bond between bride and her service dog

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Maddie Peschong of Mad Photo and Design was hired by South Dakota bride, Valerie Parrott just last weekend to photograph her wedding. “It was unique in the fact that it was a January wedding and we don't get many of those in South Dakota,” said Peschong.

The bride and groom incorporated the bride's service dog, Bella, into the wedding. She even got her own dress! 

Bella, is a Medical Alert Psychiatric Service Dog. Bella alerts the new bride Valerie, to migraines, panic attacks, and general anxieties. 

“Something I didn't realize until I spoke to Valerie is that those who are familiar with service dogs may see in the photo that Bella is actually performing a task! She is licking Val's hand to alert her that her heart rate is high, and attempting to lower it. To qualify as a service dog, Bella must be task-trained to a specific person. In this case, a tactic that works well for Val in lowering her heart rate is a distraction technique. So, Bella is doing her job!”

Peschong said it was a pleasure and honor to capture the couples special day for them. “It certainly opened my eyes to understand that service dogs are for many people, not just those who have a need that you can see from the outside. Bella helps Val live a full life and that is just beyond cool. As a dog lover myself, it's so special to see the bond the two of them have, AND how Val's new husband, Andrew, loves Bella, too. She's truly part of their family.”  

The bride says she hopes the viral photo of her and Bella will bring attention to the great benefits of having a service dog.