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Deal: Rescue dog Duke joins adopted parents on their big day

By Eleanor Perkins

He’s only been a part of their lives for six months but that didn’t stop a Deal couple from including their pet dog in their big day.

Ruth Winder, 34, who works at Dogs Trust Canterbury as home from home coordinator overseeing the fostering programme, adopted homeless hound Duke around six months ago.

He has become such an integral member of their family that she and her husband, Steve, thought it was appropriate for him to have a part in their big day.

Steve and Ruth Winder with Duke on their wedding day

Steve and Ruth Winder with Duke on their wedding day

Tying the knot at The Blue Pigeons in Worth, the seven-year-old Labrador attended the couple’s ceremony while vows were exchanged and met and greeted guests at the canapés and drinks reception, even having his own dog-friendly canapés for the occasion.

Mrs Winder said: “Duke was the perfect wedding guest – he remained calm throughout and lapped up attention from guests, and thankfully he didn’t steal the limelight too much.

“Although he was a popular feature of the wedding, we ensured that he went for a walk while the wedding breakfast was served as, typical of his breed, he can be rather greedy!”

While the bride was having hair and makeup, Duke was even spruced up for the day with a trip to the groomers in preparation for his wedding debut. The finishing touch was his bow-tie.

It was ‘puppy love’ for the couple who met at a pub in 2009 and instantly hit it off.

Mrs Winder said: “I saw Steve playing pool and thought he was attractive – it must’ve been his pool-playing techniques that did it for me!”

Mr Winder popped the question the day before his partner’s birthday.

“It was the best birthday present ever,” she said.

“He’s made such a massive impact on our lives and he’s actually helped our relationship, as we spend more quality time together during walks and doggy days out." - Newlywed Ruth Winder

Mrs Winder explained it was also love at first sight with Duke, who was handed over to Dogs Trust when his previous owners moved back to their native America and couldn’t take the canine with them.

“I never thought I’d have a Labrador but when I saw his gorgeous face I just knew we had to have him. It helped that Steve had always wanted a Labrador, and as we know ‘a dog is for life’, it’s wonderful that Duke has fitted into our lifestyle perfectly and completed our family.

“He’s made such a massive impact on our lives and he’s actually helped our relationship, as we spend more quality time together during walks and doggy days out. It just means I have to vacuum the carpets a lot more!”

Mrs Winder has worked for Dogs Trust Canterbury for eight years. The couple even had yellow as their wedding colour scheme which is Dogs Trust’s brand colour.

The newly-weds will venture to Boston for their honeymoon in September. Although Duke won’t be joining them, they plan a UK mini-moon where they can go away together.

If you have love in your heart for a resident from Dogs Trust Canterbury, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk or call the rehoming centre directly on 0300 303 0292.

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