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Terminally ill woman planning to "marry" her dog for charity

dog and owner dog-sad
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A terminally ill woman has decided to “marry” her dog in a bid to raise money for charity.

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 20/02/2019, 09:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:51

Lilly Smartelli, 55, is a nurse from Michigan, USA. Last summer she was diagnosed with pulmonary diffusion defect; the doctors gave her less than two years to live. Speaking about her condition, Lilly told People.com, “I have a defective membrane in my lungs and I have a problem processing oxygen. There is nothing they can do about it. It’s kind of like replacing a little part in a car they don’t make anymore.

Lilly was devastated by the news, but she also saw it as an opportunity for reflection.

When you get news like that, it makes you start wondering about your life,” said Lilly. “What haven’t I ever done?”

A ready-made life partner

And of all the things she hadn't done, there was one that went straight to the top of her list. Lilly decided it was time to get married.  Luckily, she had a ready-made partner who was more than happy to go "walkies" down the aisle. The lucky fella is Bernie, her rescue dog:

“Bernie and I can pretend to get married,” she said. “Bernie and I are like magnets. I always joke that he is my husband."

Lilly has now written and a self-published a  book called The $5 Dog Wedding. The book charts Lilly and Bernie's unique friendship.  It's full of pictures of the two of them together, as well as various plans and scenarios for the big day. But rather than using the proceeds for the "wedding,"  Lilly is donating every penny to various human and animal charities.

It's all for a good cause

Although she's still keen on walking Bernie down the aisle, Lilly is hoping that the book can raise awareness regarding organ donor charities and animal rescue centres.

The $5 Dog Wedding is available to buy at Amazon and other online stores.