Suffering from migraine, panic disorder, and anxiety, Valerie Parrott was having trouble staying calm on her wedding day, what with the many things that need to be prepared and kept in order. Sensing a panic attack was soon to happen to Valerie, her service dog Bella quickly nudged her for a cuddle.
It was a simple moment that looked to many of the wedding guests like Valerie’s dog had wanted to steal the spotlight but, in reality, the dog was merely doing her job of keeping the bride calm. The pair from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had been together for two years.
“My life wouldn’t be the same without her. With Bella, and because of our partnership, I have been able to live my life to the fullest that I normally wouldn’t have been able to have done,” Valerie proudly mused about her medical alert dog.
Photographer Maddie Peschong of Mad Photo and Design was able to capture the touching moment. She was surprised when the shot went viral on the web. She said, “In the photo that is going viral, Bella was performing a job. She’s calming Val down during a hectic, stressful wedding day, making sure her heart rate is where it needs to be and anxiety isn’t getting to be too much. It was a work day for Bella.”
The photographer revealed, “On Thursday, I got a message from a friend that said the photo had been posted on Reddit and was #4 at the time. I thought that was a really big deal and really cool. Texted Val. We got really excited. Within an hour or so, we got media inquiries from all over the United States.”
“I never thought it would be this big. When I posted it, I thought this is a sweet photo of a girl and her dog. I thought ‘Val needs to see this’. I was amazed by the amount of attention it got from friends and family. I thought it was cool my grandma liked it so much let alone Mashable.com,” she added.
Maddie enjoyed the attention but knew that the moment was for Valerie and Bella. She said, “The bigger story is that it’s really giving Val a platform to talk about service dogs and that they’re valuable life companions. Not things you can see and here, but a slough of invisible diseases and that’s what Bella is for.”