A while back, when Kelly O’Connell was working at an animal shelter, a 12-week-old black lab named Charlie was brought in after being found in a shopping cart. Kelly wasn’t looking for a dog at that time, but… “He came in, and I was like, ‘Yup. I’m taking this puppy home,’” Kelly said.
As time went by, Kelly met James Garvin, and they fell in love. Kelly and James (both veterinarians) got married this September, and they wanted 15-year-old Charlie to be there. Sadly, Charlie had been diagnosed with a ʙʀᴀɪɴ ᴛᴜᴍᴏʀ earlier this year, and he was very weak. He had 5 sᴇɪ.ᴢᴜʀᴇs the week before the wedding, and Kelly was getting ready to put him down. A week before his owners Kelly O’Connell and James Garvin’s September 1 wedding in Colorado, so the couple came to the difficult decision to put him down.
Then suddenly, the week of the wedding Charlie had no sᴇɪ.ᴢᴜʀᴇs. He “seemed like a whole new dog,” O’Connell said. And guess what? He DID make it down the aisle. And the precious pup made it to the wedding after all.
“It meant the world to me to have Charlie there on my wedding day,” O’Connell told.
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.
“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.”
But he couldn’t make it back… That was when Kelly’s sister picked him up and carried him. The moment was so emotional, everyone burst in tears. “James and I just grabbed onto him, and we just kept saying, ‘You made it, buddy, you made it,’” Kelly said
Sadly, September 9th Charlie was put down. He ᴅ.ɪ.ᴇ.ᴅ peacefully, in front of the fireplace at home and surrounded by his loving family. “It was a phenomenal 15 years. That’s for sure,” Kelly said “I am heartbroken but I know it was the right time,” O’Connell said.
The bride told 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.”