JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY (nj.com) - What is it about former Rutgers football players, dogs and weddings?
Tennessee Titans star cornerback Logan Ryan and his new bride—former Rutgers softball player Ashley Bragg -- asked the eight guests at their wedding in St. Lucia earlier this year to donate to a local animal shelter rather than give gifts, according to a story making national headlines this week.
The couple of dog-lovers got the idea during a photo shoot after arriving in the country.
"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," Bragg Ryan, who is a certified professional dog trainer, told ABC News.
Ryan—a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots who changed teams for a three-year, $30 million contract in free agency -- sounded like a typical groom who put his wife's needs first on the big day. The couple also has a one-year-old daughter.
"We were just having fun, having just gotten married," he told the site. "We're walking the streets, doing this photo shoot and this dog kind of chose us.
"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."
With an attachment formed to the dog, the newlyweds decided to do more. Help Animal Welfare in St. Lucia became the beneficiary of their unselfishness.
Ryan, an Eastern High School graduate, played at Rutgers from 2009-12, leaving school as a redshirt junior First-Team All-Big East selection. He was a third-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Ryans started Ryan's Monthly Rescue, a social media campaign that brings attention to needy shelter dogs, especially pit bulls, across the nation.
"Dog rescue is with us wherever we go," Ryan told Brides.com. "It's just something we're passionate about and want to make a difference in any way we can."
Another former Rutgers star in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah, walked his pit bull down the aisle as a groomsman in his wedding last summer.
Zuttah and his wife Haile -- who met at Rutgers -- changed their wedding venue after being told that the dog could not be a witness at their original venue of City Hall.
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Updated 7 days ago Article ID# 4215002