7 min read

Kids Hold A Wedding For Senior Dog So He Can Marry His Best Friend

“It was really poignant to see two misfits start to figure out friendship and eventually fall in love" ❤️️🔔

When Toby first arrived at Newman Nation: Senior Pets United, he needed a lot of help. He was 15 and had been severely neglected for most of his life. His fur was extremely matted. The rescue knew he would need a special family to foster him, and immediately thought of Jennifer Burke. 

Burke and her family have experience with fospice animals, and were immediately on board to take in Toby. 

dog wedding
Jennifer M Burke

“When Toby first joined our family, he was really scared and timid, in addition to being very sick,” Burke told The Dodo. “He was such a little pathetic mess and we fell in love with him immediately. Shortly after getting Toby, we discovered he was blind, and deaf, which was quite a surprise.” 

They soon discovered that he had cancer, but the little dog recovered surprisingly well after treatment, and the family quickly decided he’d be staying with them forever.

dog wedding
Jennifer Burke

Toby quickly fell in love with every member of his new family — especially Zoey. 

Zoey was rescued from a puppy mill where she had been bred over and over again. She was never properly socialized so she’s often a little awkward around other dogs, but for some reason, she and Toby just work. Over the past two and a half years the two dogs have fallen completely in love with each other, and do absolutely everything together. 

dog wedding
Jennifer M Burke

“It was really poignant to see two misfits start to figure out friendship and eventually fall in love,” Burke said. “They really are an awkward match made in heaven.” 

Toby is now 17 years old, and his family recently discovered that he has cancer again. This time, he was only given a few months to live. His family knew this day would come eventually, but they were still so heartbroken — and then they had the best idea. 

dog wedding
Jennifer Burke

“After giving my kids the devastating news of his prognosis, my 8 year old son, Dillon, said ‘Well, I think Toby and Zoey should get married before Toby dies,’” Burke said. “Immediately, our family agreed. It was a perfect way to celebrate Toby and the really meaningful role he has played in our lives.” 

All five family members began planning out the wedding together, as everyone wanted to be involved in making sure Toby and Zoey had the most perfect day. 

dog wedding
Jennifer Burke

“My daughter helped pick out Zoey's wedding dress and she wrote the dogs’ vows,” Burke said. “My boys helped prep the backyard for the ceremony. My husband suggested throwing the wedding on the date of our 12-year anniversary, making the day even more special.”

dog wedding
Jennifer Burke

Finally, everything was ready. The backyard was decorated, the cake was made and the entire family was dressed up and ready to celebrate the love of Toby and Zoey. 

dog wedding
Jennifer Burke

The wedding was absolutely perfect. While Toby and Zoey maybe weren’t as huge fans of getting dressed up and posing for pictures, they absolutely loved getting to kiss each other, eating cake and of course being together. That’s always been their most favorite thing of all. 

dog wedding
Jennifer Burke

Toby may not have a ton of time left, but his family is determined to make sure that what time he does have is filled with so much love. Toby has meant so much to his family over the past few years, especially to Zoey, and they’re so glad they were able to spend a day celebrating him and his best friend. 

dog wedding
Jennifer Burke

“Toby has enhanced our family so much in the last 2.5 years, but we had never realized the impact it could have on Zoey,” Burke said. “She is the one who has gained the most by having Toby in our lives. And I have no doubt that having Zoey in his life has enabled Toby to live so long. While I know Zoey will have a sad and difficult adjustment after Toby's death, he has made her life so much fuller than we could have ever expected.”