Making plans for a wedding can be stressful and time-consuming.
But when Sally Burky started planning for her special day, she wanted to include something that she really loves.
Speaking about the time she was still looking for some inspiration, Burky told PEOPLE: “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!”
She added: “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.”
Instead of bouquets or puppies, Burky had her bridesmaids carry older shelter dogs down the aisle. All dogs in her wedding came from Haven of the Ozarks, an animal rescue that she often visits and donates to.
The 29-year-old bride added: “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.
“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.”
Watching the shelter dogs come down the aisle had a strong emotional effect not only on Burky but also on her guests.
“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,” Burky said.
“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.”
Jennifer Silverberg of Haven of the Ozarks 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 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!”
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