Charlie Bear, a black lab mix, was found in the dead of winter, abandoned and trembling in a shopping cart. Kelly O’Connell was not interested in adopting at the time, but after just one look at the small bundle of innocence, she knew that she had found the one.
“It was just kind of like, yeah he’s mine,” the bride declared.
As time went by, Charlie moved from New York to Colorado, following Kelly everywhere she went, running by her side every time she was training for a new marathon. Even after Kelly met her future husband, James Garvin, and they decided to move in together, Charlie was not left out of the equation.
Apart from a house, Garvin and O’Connell share a love for animals, both being veterinarians. When they established to have their wedding in September, Charlie was supposed to be a part of the celebration, walking Kelly down the aisle as a true life companion.
However, their plans were derailed when the lab mix was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. His condition deteriorated fast until two weeks before the wedding he went through five seizures that almost convinced the couple to euthanize him.
Charlie was not going to give up without a fight, so he fought his condition, and he proved that he could hang on until the happy day. And he did.
In the day of the wedding, Charlie made it all the way to the aisle but lost his strength. So, as any sister would, O’Connell’s bridesmaid picked him up in her arms and walked him down the aisle, towards the couple.
According to the photographer that attended the event,
“There isn’t enough mascara in the world for these moments. Dog people are the best people.”
Referring to her sister’s gesture, O’Connell declared that it meant the world to her that Charlie was brought by her side.
“I just think to myself, despite that feeling of did I push too far, or did I force him to stay around for this wedding, looking at those makes me think, he just wanted to see that, us come together, and I guess his mom be taken care of.”
Charlie only survived a couple more days after the happy event. He was put down by his veterinarian due to complications caused by his incurable condition.
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