Puppy love helps couple tie knot
Published 23/03/2014 | 11:12
A case of puppy love has led to the wedding of two guide dog owners - with the bride saying their pets helped her find "true love".
Claire Johnson, 50, and Mark Gaffey, 51, got married in Baralston, Stoke-on-Trent, after their dogs fell in love at training two years ago.
The guide dogs, Venice and Rodd, took the happy couple through the service and even acted as ring-bearers.
The newlyweds met in 2012 on a two-week guide dog training course.
It became apparent that Rodd and Venice had fallen head-over-paws in love, playing and nuzzling together throughout the training.
The bride said: "I have no doubt that our guide dogs brought us together and helped me find my true love. Much like our two guide dogs, we really are best friends and soul mates."
She added: "Our dogs were the class love story. Everyone used to joke about how Mark's dog Rodd and my dog Venice were meant to be together."
When training came to an end, their lives had changed forever.
Now partnered with guide dogs they began their new life of independence and, as the couple could not bring themselves to split the two Labrador-Retrievers, they agreed to meet for play dates.
With only 1.5 miles separating the couple, coffee dates soon turned into lunch dates, and eventually the foursome became devoted to each other.
After enjoying a whirlwind romance, Mr Gaffey popped the question and asked Ms Johnson to marry him on Valentine's Day last year.
She said yes.