After years of courtship, two therapy dogs finally tied the knot in front of their family and friends.
Hope and Hunter spend 40 hours a week bringing joy and comfort to children at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. They're good at their jobs, and no one was surprised when a workplace flirtation started between the two Golden Retrievers. Hope's handler, Allison Bowring, told PEOPLE:
"Since they first met in 2015, they've always been revved up to see each other. There's a special energy about them."
Their furry faces are a regular at the hospital, and Missy Stover, the hospital's Child Life volunteer and therapeutic programs manager, recognized their bond as more than just puppy love. The children at the hospital love seeing the fluffy friends interact, and Stover got the idea to make their romance official.
Thanks to Hope & Hunter, we get to celebrate #NationalPuppyDay every day! Watch Fox 4 tonight at 5 pm to get a glimpse of the many ways they help our kids!!
She proposed the idea of hosting a wedding ceremony for the beloved pair, and the dogs' handlers quickly agreed. Aimee Hofflander, Hunter's handler, admitted to pre-wedding jitters, but when the big day finally came, the groom was cool and collected.
Dressed in a dapper bow-tie collar, Hunter waited patiently for his bride at the end of the aisle. In true bride fashion, Hope stole the show walking in to the song, "Chapel of Love" in a white dress and veil. The pair of pups stood in front of their guests including 60 hospital patients and staffers in the Mercy Lisa Barth Chapel on May 18. The event was also live-streamed for children who couldn't leave their hospital beds.
Hospital public relations director, Jake Jacobson, stood in as minister and read the dogs their vows.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate Hope and Hunter. Before these witnesses, Hunter takes Hope to be his lawfully wedded doggie bride. They bow-vow to love each other and share their banana and peanut butter together, today, tomorrow, and forever."
The newly married couple culminated the ceremony by sharing a doggie biscuit and coating each other with a slobbery kiss. With their vows behind them and the rest of their lives in front of them, the pups took a celebratory roll in the grassy lawn outside the chapel. They gave each other puppy-dog eyes while wedding guests enjoyed their doggie bags filled with goodies like dog collar bracelets and bubbles.
The day was full of fun and love for Hope and Hunter, but in the end, the canine nuptials were more for the kids than the dogs. Stover said;
"The wedding was a fun way to get the kids more involved in the lives of these two special dogs."
There won't be a honeymoon, but the newlyweds will continue to celebrate and bring joy to the children at the hospital. They have a big job to do, but together, they're making a positive difference for everyone at Children's Mercy Hospital.
What do you think of this doggy wedding? Let us know in the comments.
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