A woman brought her wedding forward by three months after she was told her Bullmastiff had terminal cancer.
Estelle Harris desperately wanted her dog Bruce to walk her down the aisle. The pair go everywhere together and Estelle describes him as being ‘her son with four legs’.
34-year-old Estelle and her partner Danny, 31, were due to get married in May, but when Bruce fell ill just before Christmas they decided to rearrange the wedding in just three weeks.
Bruce was diagnosed with cancer on 4th December, after Estelle came home from work and noticed his breathing was funny.
He was struggling for breath and couldn’t run to meet her – and usually he legs it to the door with his tail wagging.
She then checked his gums, which were white, and noticed his tongue was turning blue – a sign of oxygen deficiency.
She and Danny rushed him to an emergency vet’s appointment 40 minutes away where they discovered he had fluid build-up around his heart and lungs.
Later, they discovered a tumour the size of a grapefruit attached to the poor pup’s rib cage.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Dogs have wet noses because it helps to absorb scent chemicals.
Further tests revealed it to be an aggressive blood cancer with no chance of Bruce surviving.
He was given one to four months to live – and Estelle and Danny knew they would have to reschedule their big day.
Estelle said: ‘It’s hard to put into words how much I love him. I’ve got no children and he’s the first dog that I’ve had since leaving home. My love for him is unbelievable.
‘I’ve lost grandparents before, but knowing that I’m losing him hurts me more. I knew he had to be at our wedding, there was no question of it.’
Bruce’s illness saw his weight plummet from 70kg to just 63kg and although an operation removed the tumour, it would not prolong his lifespan.
So the couple cancelled their previous wedding booking on 4 May and rescheduled, bringing their nuptials forward to 26 January.
It meant they lost more than £600 in cancellation charges, and some guests were unable to attend at such short notice.
The night before the wedding at Burton Registration Office in Burton, Staffs, Bruce stayed with his owner as she prepared for the big day.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent. Children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.
The next morning, they all got ready together, with Bruce kitted out in a specially-made tuxedo to match Danny’s.
The dog was chauffeured to the ceremony in his own car and sat on a special white cushion with a good luck horseshoe attached to his neck.
Estelle also carried a horseshoe with Bruce’s picture on as she wed dad-of-two Danny.
But the pup only managed an hour at the reception at a village hall in Moira, Derbyshire – near the couple’s home – because he’d had so much attention throughout the day.
Estelle explained that it was either move the wedding forward – or not get married, as she couldn’t bear to celebrate without Bruce.
She said: ‘Bruce is so funny and very much a mummy’s boy. Bruce is my child, a four-legged one but still love him as much as a human child. He’s my world and nothing will ever come close to me and Bruce.
‘It was important to have him in my photos. Our families totally understood as they are all dog lovers and know how much Bruce means to us.’