When Kelly O'Connell got married earlier this September to James Garvin, she made sure to have all five of her dogs in tow. But getting there was a challenge for her 15-year-old dog Charlie Bear.
O'Connell met Charlie Bear when she was 19, attending veterinary school and working at an animal shelter. Charlie was brought into the shelter at just 12 weeks old when he was found abandoned in a shopping cart. Although O'Connell said she was in no position to adopt a dog at the time, the pair immediately fell in love and she had to bring him home to her parents' house. She told BuzzFeed, "He came in, and I was like, 'Yup. I'm taking this puppy home'."
Charlie certainly “got whatever he wanted,” according to O’Connell, but she could never offer him a family.
That was until she met Garvin and his two sons. She said, "As soon as I met James and the boys, it was the last thing that I could give him."
Sadly, Charlie was diagnosed with a brain tumor last April and was barely holding on. Prior to the wedding, he suffered five seizures and O'Connell was unsure if he'd make it the ceremony. Then, miraculously, Charlie found a newfound strength in the week leading up to the wedding and didn't suffer any seizures.
The only thought on O'Connell's mind was that she wanted the dog to see her get married.
That indeed happened and Charlie was in full garb, flower piece and all, for the September 1 wedding.
When he made it down the aisle to be next to her, she immediately broke down and told him "You made it, buddy, you made it.' While he managed to find the strength to get down the aisle, he unfortunately couldn't find the strength to make it back.
That's when the Maid Of Honor, Katie Lloyd, picked up the 80 pound dog and carried him back. The picture makes for one truly special family moment. If this isn't love, then we don't know what love is.
On September 9, the lab mix was put to rest in front of his fireplace at home. RIP Charlie Bear. You not only made it to the wedding, you touched a family's heart.