A 15-year-old black lab named Charlie was dying of a brain tumor but that didn’t stop him from being in the wedding of his beloved owner, Kelly O’ Connell, of Denver, Colorado.
When Kelly married James Garvin, both veterinarians, she knew she wanted Charlie by her side.
Charlie never wanting to disappoint, tried walking down the aisle with her but the journey proved to be too much for him in his weakened state.
Kate Lloyd, Kelly’s 5’3” sister and Maid of Honor, came to the rеscuе and carried the 80 pound dog to the altar.
Charlie could only rest on the grass near his owner during the wedding ceremony. Kelly told ABC News:
“Both of us just dropped to our knees and started crying. To see him be carried a few feet, it kind of solidified for me that it’s not the Charlie he likеd to be.
He was aging, and it hit me knowing that he Iơst a lot.”
Charlie loved everyone but Kelly was the person he loved the most. He hung onto life as long as he could but after the wedding, he began to decline even more.
A few days later, Charlie made his final journey and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Kelly and James have many wonderful memories of Charlie, as well as some very special wedding photos that were captured by their friend and photographer, Jen Dziuvenis.
O’Connell met Charlie Bear for the first time when he was just 12 weeks old.
He was found in a grocery store parking lot and then taken to the animal shelter where O’Connell worked while she was studying to become a veterinarian.
She wasn’t looking for a dog at the time,
but she and the pup instantly connected and they’ve been inseparable ever since.
“He came in, and I was like, ‘Yup. I’m taking this puppy home,’” she told BuzzFeed.
At the wedding ceremony, Charlie Bear walked down the aisle without a problem, but had some trouble making it back on his own.
So the bride’s sister (and maid of honor) Katie Lloyd scooped him up and carried him out of the ceremony. Then everyone ― including the bride and groom ― gathered around Charlie Bear and showered him with love.
“[We] just grabbed onto him, and we just kept saying, ‘You made it, buddy, you made it,’” the bride recalled.
“When I saw him carried by my sister I thought, ‘Oh God, I pushed it too far,’” the bride said. “But looking back at the photos he looks so happy.”
Back in 2010, O’Connell met Garvin, also a veterinarian, and later moved in with him and his two sons. Of course, Charlie Bear was there every step of the way.
“Charlie was witness to the relationship development between James and me and I believe he wanted to be [at the wedding] to see me happy,” O’Connell added.
On September 9, the sweet dog was put to sleep at the couple’s home surrounded by loved ones. “I am heartbroken but I know it was the right time,” O’Connell said.
The bride told HuffPost that she hopes this story is a reminder of how loving and loyal our furry friends can be.
“If this story makes people hug their pet or remember a pet that is no longer with them with fondness,
it has done its job,” she said. “I hope people understand that a mixed dog from a shelter that was tossed away can bring 15 years of joy and memories that last a lifetime.
”/Sources H/T BuzzFeed, huffpost