The bride wore a sparkling tiara in her hair with a white veil cascading down her back. Etched on the side were two paw prints.
The wedding of Tracy Pendergast, of West Hempstead, and her groom, Michael Mesisca, of Island Park, was not your ordinary nuptials.
The couple tied the knot on Aug. 14 before their family and four-legged friends at Bobbi & the Strays in Freeport, an animal rescue shelter where they both devoted countless hours as volunteers.
Choosing the location was a no-brainer for the pet-loving lovebirds, who have had an inate passion for both dogs and cats since they were children.
“The shelter means a great deal to us," Pendergast said. "Both the animals and the people that work at this shelter have become family to us....There's no other place we would rather be."
The couple has volunteered with Bobbi & the Strays for years, and has lived through the trials and tribulations the no-kill shelter has dealt with, including problems with lack of funding.
To assist the shelter, they asked their wedding guests not to give them gifts, but instead, to make donations to the rescue organization. They suggested either monetary contributions or a committment of their time and services, which are both much needed.
In March, Bobbi & the Strays purchased the former Freeport Animal Shelter, which at the time, was already filled to capacity with more than 30 dogs and 150 cats. Bobbi & the Strays took on the responsibility of adopting out and caring for all those animals, in addition to the homeless pets they had at their Glendale and JFK airport facilities.
However, the antiquated building they inherited in Freeport was in far worse condition than the owner, Roberta “Bobbi” Giordano, had imagined. Leaky ceilings, broken air-conditioners and a faulty bathroom are all making it close to impossible to keep the shelter afloat while footing the astronomical vet bills and monthly food and supplies expenses.
With the current state of the economy, funds for Bobbi & The Strays have been at an all-time low with fewer donations coming in to assist them with their mission.
“Tracy and Mike are such beautiful souls," Roberta "Bobbi" Giordano said. "Their unconditional love and dedication to our homeless pets and our mission speaks volumes.”