Bridesmaids Picked To Walk Down The Aisle With Shelter Dogs Instead Of Bouquets


Being a huge animal lover, advocate, and volunteer, Sally Burky, a bride from Ozark, Missouri, always knew she wanted to somehow include dogs in her wedding ceremony. 

Initially, she thought about including just her own dogs, but while scrolling through Pinterest, she saw something that caught her eye. 

Sally noticed that there was a trend of having the bridesmaids carry puppies instead of wedding bouquets, and she immediately thought, “How neat would it be to have animals that need homes instead of ours?”

Her now-husband was on board with the idea, so they reached out to Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary in Washburn, Missouri, an animal shelter that Burky often visits and donates to. 

wedding couple with bridesmaids and groomsmen with shelter dogs
Source: Facebook

Sally wanted to include puppies, adolescents, and senior dogs as well in hopes that it would spread the word of adoption, and hopefully, some of the dogs would get adopted. 

The shelter was delighted with the idea and was more than happy to help Sally spotlight shelter dogs seeking a furever home. 

Sherah Farris, director of the no-kill shelter, told Today, “We have about 110 dogs at any given time, so I waited until about seven days before (the wedding) and I picked dogs I knew could handle the stress of the new environment and can handle being around other dogs and strangers.”

Sally has always had a soft spot for animals, so she was very emotional and happy to be able to do this thing on her wedding day. 

bride cuddling a dog in front of house
Source: Facebook

“It was after I rescued a pit bull puppy, that we started dating. He treated him so well, and that’s when I knew, he was the one (…) Since we’ve been together we have always fostered, taken in rescues, and spread the word of adoption,” said Sally. 

On the wedding day, May 11, the dogs were transported to Ozark, Missouri, to take their places as special guests. 

“It was incredible. I was already emotional, but seeing the dogs being unloaded, I just couldn’t hold back the tears,” Sally said. 

Each bridesmaid, accompanied by a groomsman, walked one adorable shelter dog on a leash down the aisle. 

groom and bride holding dog on a leash
Source: Facebook

Sally didn’t get the chance to see this moment as she was waiting to walk the aisle herself, but she later saw on the video that people were smiling ear-to-ear. 

“The fact they were rescue dogs really hit a spot with people,” Sally told Today.  

The bride and the groom also decided to collect donations for the Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary on their wedding day. 

Jennifer Silverberg, of the Haven of the Ozarks, told People, “We plan to use the donations they give us to go towards the fund for a new mobile adoption van. Ours is on it’s 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!”

Sally was just happy to have those furry friends in her wedding party, and she hoped that maybe one of them would get adopted. To her surprise, all the dogs that participated in her wedding quickly found their forever home. 

woman cuddling a dog at wedding
Source: Facebook

“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,” said Sally. 

Sally’s wedding idea quickly went viral, and the publicity helped the shelter receive donations from all across the country. 

It was such a wonderful thing to see people helping animals in need, and that’s exactly what Sally had hoped for. 

bridesmaids with dogs on a leash posing for photography
Source: Facebook

If you’re interested in adopting a dog, check out the Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary, or your local shelter.