Kelly O’connell, met Charlie Bear when he was just 12 weeks old.
When O’connell first met Charlie – a black lab abandoned in a shopping cart outside a groccery store, in an animal shelter where she worked, she decided to take him home. “He came in, and I was like, ‘Yup. I’m taking this puppy home.'”
Charlie became Kelly’s best friend.
The two of them grew up together and moved from New York to Colorado.
In 2010, O’connell met fellow veteriarian James Garvin, and fell in love. They were getting married this September and wanted 15-year-old Charlie to be there more than anything.
“Charlie got whatever he wanted, but I couldn’t offer him a family. As soon as I met James and the boys, it was the last thing that I could give him.” O’connell said.
Sadly Charlie Bear was diagnosed with a brain tumor last April.
He had 5 seizures the week before the wedding. O’Connel and Garvin made arrangements for him to be put to sleep.
Then suddenly, the week of the wedding Charlie had no seizures, no trouble walking.
He “seemed like a whole new dog.” O’connell said. she thought he might actually make it to the wedding.
Guess what? He did make it down the aisle. But he couldn’t make it back.
“James and I just grabbed onto him, and we just kept saying, ‘You made it, buddy, you made it.'” O’Connell said.
Charlie was too tired to walk back, so Katie Lloyd, Kelly’s sister, scooped up the 80-pound dog and carried him back in her arms.
O’Connell said she could “see it in his eyes” that Charlie held on in his final days for her.
“He wasn’t suffering – he was having the time of his life,” she said. “His body was failing him, but he was happy.”
Charlie Bear was put to sleep a little over a week later on Sept.9.
He died peacefully at home, on front of the fireplace and surrounded by his family.