While more than two million Americans marry on Valentine's Day each year, few have a wedding quite like Debbie Parsons and Brad Slayton. With their prize-winning Tibetan Mastiff Major standing besides them, the Seattle-based couple was married Tuesday at the Westminster Dog Show in New York.
Alongside hundreds of dogs, breeders, handlers and spectators, Parsons, 54, walked through a backstage area of the show to meet Slayton, 58, at their makeshift altar. Parsons wore a pink Vera Wang Pink Organza strapless gown and Slayton sported a gray tuxedo with a pink rose boutonniere.
The couple's 120-pound Mastiff sporting a purple bow tie happily accompanied the pair. He stood quietly as the couple exchanged vows alongside best man and handler Tony Carter and maid of honor Cathy Johnson.
The couple first met on an online dating website in 2006 after Parsons moved to the Seattle area with three Tibetan Mastiffs. Known for their intelligence, stubbornness and skills as guard dogs, Slayton had to work his way into her pack of four.
He did so in record time with a great deal of respect and love from all of the dogs, Parsons said.
Parsons inspired a love for Tibetan Mastiffs in Slayton and the couple has raised a number of dogs together. In 2008, the couple entered a Tibetan Mastiff named Loki in the 2008 Westminster Dog Show.
To make their Valentine's Day wedding especially sweet, the couple's 5-year-old Tibetan Mastiff Major, the son of Loki, won Best in Breed Tuesday against five others. Major will compete in the Working group late Tuesday as the number one Tibetan Mastiffs.
For two people in love who are addicted to dogs, does it get any better than being married at Westminster? Parsons said laughing.