By Sophie Norris
It really was love at first ‘site’ for a call centre worker who is now preparing to drop everything and move 4,000 miles to marry a man she met on a Facebook dog lovers’ group.
Samm Sexton and Alex Musk bonded after discovering they both had beloved Boston terriers named Lola and spent every day for six months exchanging messages and calls over Facebook.
Earlier this month 29-year-old Samm from Anderson in Indiana, USA, splashed out £1138 [$1500] on flights to the UK for a two-week trip to meet Alex in Leeds, West Yorks.
On June 11, just two days after clapping eyes on each other at a busy Leeds railway station, Alex dropped down on one knee and proposed during a romantic picnic in York Museum Gardens.
Samm said: “I was beyond excited when Alex asked me to marry him – it just felt so right.
“During the time we were apart we’d talk all day every day. In his lunchbreak he’d call me and we were in constant contact.
“When I first spotted him at the train station I couldn’t wait to get down the escalator and hug him.
“I saw him then he looked up and saw me and I couldn’t stop smiling.
“He was everything I’d hoped he’d be. It was amazing to get my arms around him finally.
“When he proposed I wasn’t too surprised. I knew it was coming but I thought it was amazing.
“As for moving from the US to the UK, I’m excited for it. It will be a huge difference but it’s one I’m ready for.
“My family and friends are very supportive. They will miss me of course but we will still visit and keep in touch.”
The couple are now planning their wedding in which their beloved dogs, Alex’s two-year-old and Samm’s seven-year-old Boston terriers, will play starring roles.
Samm is due to fly back to the US today [June 21] after her whirlwind trip to visit Alex but is hoping to get a visa to stay with him permanently.
Alex, a 30-year-old disability support worker, said: “We definitely have our dogs to thank for bringing us together in the first place.
“If it wasn’t for them we’d never have met. Our relationship is all thanks to the dogs.
“When I saw Samm get off the train at Leeds it was completely overwhelming. It didn’t feel real after months of just video calls.
“We locked eyes and she just smiled. She ran through the crowd, flung her bag on the floor and gave me a huge hug. We must have hugged for 10 minutes.
“Last Saturday [June 15] we visited York overnight and I proposed to her then. I knew by January that I wanted to marry her but waited until we were together to pop the question.
“We went for a picnic at York Museum Gardens and I asked her then. It was an immediate yes.
“I bought the ring two months ago, it’s a moonstone ring that Samm said she loved so I ordered it in secret.
“Her eyes lit up when I got down on one knee and her hands flew to her face.
“She turned around in shock and started crying happy tears. She put her arms around me and said yes.
“My family were a bit sceptical at first with us living such a long distance apart but the plan is for Samm to come and live with me.
“They are happy she came to visit and really like her. We sat them down and explained our plans for the future.
“We only have the dogs to thank, they are going to be a huge part of our wedding.”
Alex and Samm first spoke in October when Alex posted a picture of himself and his dog Lola on a ‘dogspotting’ Facebook group.
Realising they had the same breed with the same name Samm added him as a friend and they began chatting
Within a couple of months the pair admitted they were in love and on December 15 they made it ‘official’.
Samm said: “I realised early on he was a lot different to any other guys I’d ever spoken to. Five weeks in I realised I loved him.”
Alex revealed that both their lives centre on their precious pooches – who have now helped them find love.
Alex said: “We both chatted about the two Lolas and how weird it was that they were both Boston terriers with the same name. Our lives revolve around our dogs.
“The relationship just developed from there and after a month I started to develop feelings for her because she’s a really great person.
“When she told me she had feelings for me around November time, we’d been talking for around five weeks.
“I think because the feelings were so strong we knew pretty much straight away that we wanted a future together.”
For five months Samm saved any spare money she had to pay for a return ticket to the UK.
On June 8 Samm travelled 18 hours from Indiana to meet her fiancé for the first time and stayed with Alex who still lives with his parents.
Alex said: “Samm was tired when she finally arrived in Leeds because she’d hardly had an easy journey to get to me.
“She flew from Indiana to New York and was supposed to get a plane to London but there was a queue in the airport and she missed her flight.
“Instead she had to get a flight to Manchester Airport then the train to Leeds.
“It’ll be really difficult to say goodbye.
Samm has previously lived in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, for a short period with her mum in 2001 and says she is looking forward to finally introducing the two Lolas and starting her life with fiancé Alex.
Samm said: “Lola and Lola haven’t met yet but I’m so excited for that.
“If we’re both on video chat and Alex shouts at his Lola to get off the sofa, my Lola will do the same. They both look very puzzled.
“I think next time I come over I will bring her with me. She’s my service dog for epilepsy and she helped me find love.”ENDS