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Therapy dogs, in splendid attire, are getting married at Tampa General Hospital

TAMPA — After years of friendship and service, two Tampa General Hospital volunteers are getting hitched.

Call it puppy love.

The blushing bride: a female chihuahua named Chicklet. Her betrothed: an American Field Lab named Blake.

She will wear a white halter-style gown with a classic sheer veil. He will sport a tuxedo, hand-made by a hospital volunteer.

Chicklet's and Blake's owners, Pam Dickens and Ruth Cowan, have been taking dogs to TGH every Thursday morning for years to comfort hospitalized children. Chicklet and Blake also visit H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center each week.

It's the hospital's first therapy dog wedding. TGH spokeswoman Ellen Fiss said there's no real reason for it — no fundraising push, no ad campaign. It's just for fun.

It is June, after all. "June is wedding month," Fiss said.

The ceremony will be Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the hospital's child life playroom. A TGH employee with a notary license will officiate, with pediatric patients blowing bubbles to send off the couple.

Summer Moll, who spent months at TGH recovering from serious injuries she sustained in what authorities are calling a DUI-related car wreck on the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway last fall, will be a special guest on the bride's side. Summer, whose mom died in the wreck, goes to the hospital weekly for physical therapy.

Two other therapy dogs, golden retrievers Samantha and Simba, will be "bridedogs," and greyhound Blaze will stand by Blake as "best dog."

No word yet about where the couple is registered, though one gift already has been promised — a canine-friendly ice cream cake made by a hospital employee.

Therapy dogs, in splendid attire, are getting married at Tampa General Hospital 06/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:27pm]
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