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Forget flowers! Bridesmaids carry puppies down the aisle

A couple in Northeast Ohio brings awareness to animal adoption by ditching traditional bridesmaid bouquets for adoptable puppies.

CLEVELAND — Dogs as ring bearers or attendants, these days we are seeing more four-legged friends front and center at weddings.

Recently a local couple took a different approach at their ceremony: Ditching traditional bouquets and replacing them with adoptable puppies. The choice was a statement of love for rescues by this couple and a show of support for one organization in need of some help.

That organization, Geauga Mama Dogs and Pups, suffered a devastating fire last month. A building, used by one of the group’s foster families, went up in flames during the night. Two puppies perished and their mother was severely burned but survived. Another expectant dog was rescued and delivered her puppies that night.

The building was a total loss. And the organization also lost supplies stored in the structure.

“We are still in shock," said Heather Thompson, who fosters dogs from the organization. "We go through a lot of puppy food, we go through a lot of bleach, blankets, bedding, leashes, collars, food, treats, toys, gloves, trash bags, everything,” 

3News covered the fire when it happened, and among those watching was pop-up wedding planner Kattie Cool. Her company, Haus of Cool, hosts pop-up weddings. The cost can be a tenth of what a traditional wedding would cost.

“My bride and groom, they are rescue fur mama and daddies. And they wanted to include something that was so near and dear to their heart and we reached out to so many rescues and shelters – and after seeing the story about the Geauga Mama Dogs and Pups on 3News 3, I reached out the them and said, ‘Any interest in allowing us to utilize adoptable puppies, to bring awareness to your shelter, help you out as much as possible?’”  

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The rescue was on board. So, on Feb. 29, the bride and groom, Allison and Mason, wed with family, friends and puppies on hand.

“It was one of the cutest things ever," Cool said. "To see these beautiful bridesmaids walking down the aisle with puppies, I feel like there is nothing better."

The wedding photos made the rounds on social media. Within just a few days of the wedding, all the puppies were adopted. Donations to Geauga Mama Dogs and Pups picked up steam, too. The couple shared the organization’s Amazon Wish List and much-needed supplies came in.

The love and support leave Thompson emotional. 

“It’s overwhelming. To be honest it is overwhelming. Here we are this little group of all these women who get together, for the love of our dogs, and to see that we have so much support from outside the community pouring in, it’s great. It’s great to know that people support us."

RELATED: Blind and deaf puppy relies on seeing-eye puppy brother

Geauga Mama Dogs and Pups still need supplies. How can you help?  If you'd like to donate, click HERE.

More than anything, there is a desperate need for foster families. The group has a Facebook page -- "Geauga Mama Dogs and Pups" -- with details.  

To learn more about Kattie Cool and the Haus of Cool, visit her site HERE.