A Wearside couple have renewed their vows with their beloved dogs by their side following a campaign to get one of their precious pups back on her feet.
Dog-mad couple Claire, 54, and Mel Dixon, 52, from Donwell, Washington, have finally renewed their vows along with ring-bearing rescue dogs Oscar and Nettie, who accompanied them down the aisle.
The couple, who met on the Tyne and Wear Metro in their 20s, renewed their vows at Springwell Methodist Church, Gateshead, on June 24, where they were married ten years ago, in an emotional ceremony following pup Nettie’s major surgery.
Just weeks ago, the pair launched an urgent appeal for funds to help two-year-old lurcher cross Nettie walk down the aisle with them after she was struck down with cranial cruciate ligament damage.
They managed to raise enough funds to cover the £6,000 fee and were able to celebrate the day with Nettie and tri-colour collie cross Swiss mountain dog Oscar.
Claire, a bookkeeper at HR Fabrications, said it was an amazing day which saw them renew their commitment with the same minister they had ten years ago, Kathy Reader.
She said: “We first tied the knot in 2006 with our pet dog Zoe as ring bearer, who is sadly no longer with us. “We decided to renew our commitment and wanted our dogs by our side, but it has been an unreal journey to get to this point. “I can’t believe the hurdles we have had to overcome and now we have just about cracked or fundraising for Nettie’s operation.
“We had all of our renewals booked and paid for when Nettie was struck down with the condition so all of the money raised went directly to her treatment.
“But everything has fallen into place and the day is finally here.
“Nettie is really well, she is like a spring chicken - although she is unable to sit correctly now - she can still run and walk normally.”
On the day, friend Gareth Brewis looked after Oscar, while Claire’s niece Nicola Hamilton, cared for Nettie, with the pair escorting the couple down the aisle in front of 65 guests before they were taken home.
Claire added: “The day was brilliant and our minister Kathy was amazing, as she realises just how much the dogs mean to us and welcomed them into the church. “We want to thank everybody for their support to allow us to celebrate this wonderful occasion.”