Bride walks down the aisle with eight disabled rescue dogs by her side

Samantha Kelly with her dog Jessie
Samantha Kelly had all her dogs involved in her wedding day (Picture: Andrew Mackin Photography/Mercury Press)
When Samantha Kelly, 33, got engaged to Ronan, 32, she knew she’d need her eight rescue dogs to be involved in her wedding day. The business owner, from Ireland, had already owned three dogs when she got together with Ronan five years ago. Over the course of their relationship, they’ve added five more disabled rescue dogs to their family. On the big day, all eight dogs – Papillion Louisa, disabled 12-year-old Jack Russell Pal, eight-year-old Pomeranian Jessie, 12-year-old Springer Spaniel Jack, 12-year-old Lily, chihuahua Toby, eight-year-old Pomeranian Bonnie, and former stray staffie cross Barney – were all involved with important roles to play.
17-year-old Louisa, who’s blind, served as Samantha’s bouquet for her walk down the aisle at the family’s country estate home, Loughanmore Court in County Louth, while the others each had their turn to take a trot in front of the guests.

All the dogs were well behaved and a big hit with the 100 human guests in attendance, even patiently posing for the wedding photos.

Samantha said: ‘Our eight dogs are our family, so like with family we wanted them there on our wedding day.

‘We don’t want to have kids, we prefer dogs – they are literally our children.

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‘All our 100 guests loved having the dogs there.

‘Everyone thought the wedding was pretty amazing, even the priest who married us has two rescue dogs, so he thought it was pretty cool too.’

Samantha and Ronan met through family friends, dating for five years before Ronan proposed on a cruise around the Mediterranean.
Samantha Kelly with her husband Ronan and dogs
All of the rescued dogs have disabilities (Picture: Andrew Mackin Photography/Mercury Press)

The couple have adopted their dogs from all over Ireland, building their gardens to work for the dogs’ disabilities, providing 24 hour care, and even hiring a nanny for the pooches when they go out for a date night.

Samantha said: ‘I had just three dogs when we got together, but Ronan loves dogs too so we ended up getting the rest. ‘I started about 10 years ago when we got Louisa, she is now 17, on the day I carried her down the aisle.

‘In total now we have saved eight dogs’ lives – we tend to adopt older dogs with problems as they are harder to rehome.

Samantha Kelly's eight dogs
The couple plan to turn their home into a dog-friendly wedding venue for other animal lovers (Picture: Mercury Press)

‘The dogs we rescue we got because their owners no longer wanted them or their owners had died, they would have been put down if we hadn’t rescued them.’

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The couple also have five rescue sheep and three ex-battery hens, which they keep as pets.

Following the success of their wedding, which was celebrated in tipis in the garden, Samantha and Ronan now plan to turn their home into a dog-friendly wedding venue for other animal lovers.

We’ll be waiting until cats are allowed, too. Even if that bouquet replacement might be a tad scratchy.

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