8 min read

Bridal Party Hangs Out With Foster Kittens Before The Wedding

“Animals are such a huge part of my life … so I just couldn’t picture having my wedding day any way else.”

When Jossie Ehler imagined her wedding day, she always knew that animals would be involved somehow. So she was delighted to have three rescue kittens take part in her special day.

Five and a half years ago, Ehler started working as a shelter assistant at the PEI Humane Society, which is the only animal shelter on Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Bride holding kitten
Ehler holding one of her foster kittens on her wedding day | Brady McCloskey Photography

“I’m a nurse for the animals,” Ehler told The Dodo. “I help clean them, feed them, give them medication and just make sure that they’re happy and healthy. It’s basically the best job in the world.”

In addition to her day job, Ehler frequently volunteers to foster tiny, milk-dependent kittens.

Foster kittens
Ehler's most recent foster kittens — Einstein, Billy Nye and Neil | Jossie Ehler

“We’re a pretty small shelter, and the kittens who come in … under the age of 8 weeks can’t be placed for adoption because they’re not old enough,” Ehler said. “So they need to go into foster care, where they can get the specialized care and socialization to turn them into great loving cats.”

Over the past two years, Ehler and her now-husband, Liam Gauthie, have fostered over 70 kittens, according to Ehler, as well as the occasional senior dog.

Kitten around man's shoulders
Ehler's husband, Liam Gauthie, with one of their foster kittens | Jossie Ehler

When Ehler and Gauthie’s wedding day approached on September 10, Ehler had three kittens in her care — Einstein, Billy Nye and Neil.

“They were actually originally my coworkers’ foster kittens — the girl with the dark hair in the photos,” Ehler said. “So she was fostering them and they decided to start escaping out of the little room she had them in, and her personal cat didn’t like that, so she asked if I would take them on, so I’ve had them for a few weeks now.”

Bride holding kittens
Brady McCloskey Photography

While Ehler and her five bridesmaids (three of whom work at the humane society with Ehler) were getting ready for the wedding at Ehler’s house, the kittens were the perfect companions.

“It was really sweet,” Ehler said. “We were all getting ready, and it was relaxing having the kittens. They were de-stressors. It was great.”

Bride and bridesmaids with kittens
Brady McCloskey Photography

To make the kittens an official part of Ehler’s big day, Ehler and her bridesmaids posed with the kittens for the wedding photographer.

“Animals are such a huge part of my life … and anyone who knows me would definitely tell you that,” Ehler said. “So I just couldn’t picture having my wedding day any way else.”

Bride and bridesmaids with kittens
Brady McCloskey Photography

Another special wedding guest at the wedding was Divot, the first dog Ehler fostered from the PEI Humane Society, and who is now owned by one of Ehler and Gauthie’s friends. He acted as the ring bearer in the ceremony.

“If it wasn’t for Divot, I never would have realized the passion I had for animals because he was the first dog that I had ever interacted with and took for a walk,” Ehler said. “I realized, ‘Wow — animals are so cool and so fascinating.’”

Dog as ring bearer at wedding
Divot acted as the ring bearer at the wedding | Brady McCloskey Photography

Divot even played a key role in Ehler and Gauthie’s engagement.

“We were painting a room in the humane society, and Liam said, ‘Oh Jossie — Divot got loose down at Victoria Park. We have to go get him,’” Ehler said. “So we went down there, and I couldn’t see Divot, and then Divot runs out from the trees and [Gauthie] says, ‘Oh my goodness, Divot, what’s on your neck?’ And I’m like, ‘Who cares? We found Divot! Who cares what’s on his neck.’ And he’s like, ‘No, no — look what’s on his neck,’ and it was a box with a ring in it, and he proposed.”

Woman holding cat at shelter
Ehler holding a cat while working at the PEI Humane Society | Jossie Ehler

“We thought it was pretty fitting that he gave me my engagement ring, and then he gave me my wedding ring too,” Ehler added.

But it was the kittens who got all the attention — Ehler’s wedding photos went viral, much to her surprise. The photos also helped the kittens find forever families.

Bride holding kitten
Brady McCloskey Photography

“They just went up for adoption when the photos published, and they instantly got adopted,” Ehler said. “It was amazing. One of them has already gone home, and Billy Nye and Einstein are going home together tomorrow.”

When asked if she planned to foster more kittens soon, Ehler said, “Oh yes. But I have a little old dog in my house right now. I like to go between kittens and old doggies and then back to kittens. We just take turns — you know, whoever needs me the most.”

To help PEI Humane Society rescue and rehome more animals, you can make a donation.