NJ native swaps bouquet for rescue pup on memorable wedding day
FARMINGDALE — What do you do when you're a self professed "crazy dog person" who wants a dog at her wedding while preparing for a wedding hours away from her pups on her way to an international honeymoon? For one woman her solution was to take to social media, and she said the whole thing couldn't have gone any better.
New Jersey native Leann Montalbano, who lives in Texas now, had posted in the "Animals in NJ That Need Homes" Facebook page in hopes that she could find a puppy she could borrow for her walk down the aisle. Montalbano said she had hoped to find a dog that was looking for a forever home, and that her wedding pictures would help in that effort.
"We really like dogs. We foster dogs. We board dogs. We have dogs," she said. "We were like 'maybe I can borrow a dog and the dog can be adoptable so the dog can get exposure and then I can carry the cutest puppy ever down the aisle.'"
As it turns out, one of the people who saw the post was Kimberly Lawler from Lost Paws Animal Rescue. Lawler shared a picture of 4-month-old Akita pup Fiona, and Montalbano was in love.
Montalbano said there were plenty of people who questioned her desire to borrow a dog for her wedding. Despite that, she said she took several steps to make the day as stress free as possible for Fiona.
"I am a crazy dog person, but I'm not actually insane," she said.
She said Fiona was only part of the day for five minutes and was only held by herself, her wedding planner, and the people from Lost Paws. One surprise for Montalbano was just how big Fiona was. She said she expected a small puppy, but instead got a dog that was "the size of a small child."
"It was a big puppy, but she was adorable and she was so sweet," she said.
Many of her guests had no idea that she planned to bring a puppy down the aisle, and she said Fiona was the hit of the ceremony. People were immediately asking her about Fiona and whether she was up for adoption.
"A lot of small hiccups came up. We didn't have enough tables at one point. People didn't have seats. But I had that puppy and that just made my entire wedding," she said.
Lawler told New Jersey 101.5 the whole day was a success, and that Fiona is still up for adoption. She said they are hoping to find a home for her that has experience with Akitas. Anyone interested in adopting her can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.