Bella, a 3-year-old yellow lab, melted the hearts of many when a photo emerged of her with her owner on Reddit, an aggregating social media site.
The pup is specially trained to help Valerie Parrott of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, cope with anxiety.
Parrott also suffers from frequent migraines that affect her daily life. Two years ago, she was matched with Bella, who stays vigilantly by her side.
Parrott writes about her experiences to help others understand more about panic disorders and service animals. Weddings can cause enough stress on anyone, let only someone who suffers from anxiety.
“Bella’s medical alert title refers to her ability to predict and inform me of different type of body changes,” Parrott writes on her blog. “Such as rapid heart beat that may lead to more serious issues such as panic attacks, dizzy spells and other issues involved with my medical condition.”
As her wedding approached, Parrott’s anxiety increased.
“A lot of girls experience their first panic attack leading up to weddings,” she blogged. “A lot of girls with these disorders double their number of normal panic attacks.”
On Parrott’s wedding last weekend, her loyal pup was right by her side to help calm her down. Maddie Peschong, photographer and owner of Mad Photo & Design, was right there to capture this touching moment as Valerie married Andrew Parrott.
“I think it’s possible people don’t realize that while Bella was an adorable part of the wedding,” said Peschong, “she was definitely there to work.”
Dressed in a pink tutu, the pooch even had her own moment down the aisle, as she was the flower girl.
The photo has helped bring attention to service dogs and the role they play in their owners’ lives.
“To have people take this kind of attention to it, and then to have Val be able to turn this into a really teachable moment to educate about service dogs, has been extremely special,” Peschong told CNN.
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