What do you give a guy that recently won his second Super Bowl championship, and who just married his college sweetheart? Well, skip the bridal registry, because new Tennessee Titan, Logan Ryan, and his new wife Ashley, are asking wedding guests to donate to the local animal shelter in the sovereign island of Saint Lucia, where they had their big day! What made them decide to help out the island shelter?
New bride Ashley Bragg-Ryan recalled walking around the mountainous island and told ABC that she noticed a lot of stray domestic animals wandering around, looking for food. “When we got to St. Lucia we noticed on our drive all the stray dogs and cats on the street. It was very strange to us.”
Then, on the day after their wedding, the couple who met at Rutgers, along with their 1-year-old daughter Avery, were all dressed in their wedding finery, while taking their wedding photos in picturesque Soufriere, was followed by a stray dog. The former Patriot spoke of their encounter with the stray dog that they instantly “felt attached” to.
“We were just having fun, having just gotten married. We’re walking the streets, doing this photo shoot and this dog kind of chose us.”
At first, Ryan was concerned about his new wife’s expensive dress because the dog tried to play tug of war with her veil, but soon, the animal lovers fell in love with the stray.
“The dog was following us and I was just worried about Ashley’s dress, because it was so expensive. It was Ashley who welcomed it, petting this dog — that’s just the type of person she is. When I saw she was OK with it, I was OK with it.”
The couple then decided that instead of wedding presents, they asked their wedding guests to donate to the local animal shelter, Help Animal Welfare in Saint Lucia, or otherwise known as HelpAWS.
While taking some wedding photos in the St.Lucian town of Soufriere we ran into this stray dog and many others like her. This one in particular followed us thru the streets for 20 plus minutes. When we flew back to the states we were determined to help any way possible. We donated & We encouraged all friends and family that instead giving us wedding gifts to make donations to @helpaws, a St.Lucian based dog rescue. Just got word back that based on our picture they found this particular mama dog, named her Logan, and the donation paid for her Spay!!#MadeOurDay#DogRescue
The couple, who have two dogs of their own, Nala and Leonardo, could not bring their pets to the wedding, that took place at the stunning Jade Mountain, in St. Lucia. They felt that having guests donate to this case was meaningful.
Not only do they have their own cherished pets, but they also have a social media campaign called Ryan’s Monthly Rescue, where monthly, they post strays that need a home.
Logan Ryan's custom bright colorful charity Nike's supporting shelter dogs ???????? pic.twitter.com/Jxz4fKBTBu
— Athlete Cleats (@AthleteCleats) March 22, 2017
The appreciative HelpAWS confirmed that the wedding donations from the Ryan wedding has already made a difference. They pointed out that it is easy to see the problem, feel bad, but do nothing.
“Running a rescue anywhere in the world is financially, physically, and mentally draining and it is impossible to do it without help from people like the Ryans. It is so easy to see a problem and walk right past or continue scrolling through your news feed hoping someone else will deal with it. Not many people actually stop to see what they can do to help when faced with a situation like this.Their actions showed us how big their hearts truly are.”
The statement went on to mention that most of the animals they treat have pre-existing conditions, which means that they are much more expensive to care for. Also, this story has put the HelpAWS on the map, giving the organization much more exposure than they could have done themselves.
According to The Dodo, HelpAWS spends a great portion of their budget spaying or neutering animals, as well as vaccinations. This also includes helping out local low-income pet owners who need these serves as well. The stray that Logan and Ashley encountered has been spayed and given the name Logan. She is now up for adoption.
What are your thoughts about Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan, and his new wife Ashley’s request that wedding guests donate to the animal rescue instead of gifts? Does this inspire you to do the same?
[Featured Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]