This past Saturday, the Heritage Humane Society — an organization based in Williamsburg, VA — held its first-ever Dog Street Strut, a two-mile walk (people and pooches!) to benefit homeless pets.
And while the animals were the biggest beneficiaries, it was extra-special for a West Virginia couple — Mara & Matthew Dudley — who tied the knot in Williamsburg that day, as well.
The Dudleys had researched what would be going on in Williamsburg that weekend, since many wedding guests would be making the trip, and when they found out the Dog Street Strut was on the same day, they decided to incorporate the event into their weekend — spending the morning, along with some 400 dogs and their people — walking the streets in unity for homeless animals.
“We felt it was a great opportunity for us to relax the morning of our wedding,” Matthew told the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily. “We didn’t want to go all day without seeing each other…we said why not do this dog walk, something we love to do, and also have the opportunity to be together the majority of the day.”
The dog walk finished up at about 10:45 am and they made it to the church on time to say their “I dos” at 3:40.
“Remembering back to my wedding day, I can’t imagine doing a dog walk the morning of,” said Kimberly Laska, executive director of Heritage Humane Society. “[They’re] clearly a very animal loving couple for that to be their emphasis and focus a couple hours before the biggest moment of their lives.”
Laska was delighted that Heritage was able to share their big day, calling them up on stage and congratulating them along with the crowd.
None of their family and friends were surprised about their interest in the event, and many joined in the festivities. The Dudleys have two rescue pups of their own.
“We loved that our families took time to do everything for the weekend for us, and we thought it was a hell of a way to spend our wedding day morning,” Mara said.
“I never would’ve gone on a date with him if he didn’t like dogs,” Mara said.
Both admitted it was a long day, joyful though it was, but attending the DoG Street Strut was worth it.
“We hope this event continues on,” Matt said. “Tentatively, we intend on going next year.”
They hope to bring their own dogs next time.