“It’s hard to really explain and put into words just how important she is to me,” says Parrott

By Rose Minutaglio
January 15, 2016 08:34 PM

One South Dakota woman’s paw-fect wedding photo is capturing the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. 

Valerie Parrott, who got married on Saturday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and her yellow Lab service dog, Bella, shared a heartwarming moment together before Parrott walked down the aisle. 

The photo, captured by Parrott’s high school classmate Maddie Peschong of Mad Photo and Design, shows Bella dressed in a tutu, rubbing her head against Parrott’s knees — a tactic the trained medical alert and psychiatric service dog uses to calm down her beloved owner when her blood pressure rises. 

“I think the best part about this photo is that it really shows the bond that Bella and I have. I mean, when you’re paired with a service dog you have to put your life in their paws every day,” Parrott, who suffers from an anxiety disorder, told Grand Forks Herald. “That photo really just shows everything you can’t put into words. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that one really is.” 

Parrott says Bella can sense when her high anxiety, migraines and panic attacks are imminent, and is trained to help her cope with any stress she may be experiencing. 

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“In the photo it really just shows the bond of a service dog and her handler and how much you have to be attuned to each other, and really thrive and make things work. It’s hard to really explain and put into words just how important she is to me, and I think what’s cool about that photo is that it kind of does that,” Parrott told the news outlet.

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

“It was really crazy, really unbelievable and helps raise awareness that service dogs can be for many kinds of illnesses,” Parrott told Grand Forks Herald. 

Talk about a forever friend!