The bond between a pet and its owner is a special one that often lasts a lifetime. This was especially true for Kelly O’Connell and her beloved dog, Charlie. Kelly had adopted Charlie when he was just a puppy, and they had been inseparable ever since.
Fate Brought The Dog To Kelly
Kelly O’Connell, a veterinarian, was just 19 when she saw Charlie, a black Lab mix. The dog had been found ᴀʙᴀɴᴅᴏɴᴇᴅ in a shopping cart in mid-winter. While Kelly wasn’t planning on adopting a dog then, she knew it was love at first sight.
“I don’t know what it was. I was just like, ‘Yeah, this is my dog. I’m taking him home,'” she told the Denver Channel. Kelly and Charlie soon became best friends, and he changed her life. The very active, playful dog inspired the owner to take up running.
Her dog was so important that when she met her future husband, James Garvin, also a veterinarian, one of her biggest concerns was if he and his kids would get along with Charlie — thankfully, they hit it off.
“Charlie doesn’t like everyone. But he immediately loved them,” Kelly said. “He grew to love him just as much as I did,” she told CNN. “Charlie was a symbol of the coming together of the family.”
But After 15 Years Together, The Dog Started To Slow Down
He wasn’t his usual active self, and after he sᴜꜰꜰᴇʀᴇᴅ a sᴇɪᴢᴜʀᴇ, he was ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ with a ʙʀᴀɪɴ ᴛᴜᴍᴏʀ. At the same time, the couple was preparing for their wedding day. “It broke my heart. He had five sᴇɪᴢᴜʀᴇs the week before the wedding,” Kelly told People. “We considered putting him down, but he seemed to get better, so we waited.”
It was as if Charlie was holding on just long enough to see his owners get married — so when their big day arrived, Charlie was there.
Despite being ᴡᴇᴀᴋ from ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ and ɴᴇᴀʀ ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ, Charlie found the strength to walk Kelly and James down the aisle for their vows. Sadly, he was too ᴡᴇ.ᴀᴋ to step back, but Kelly’s sister helped him.
Charlie Is Helped To Fulfill His Last Wish
“My sister, being my sister, scooped him up — all 80 pounds of him — and carried him back down the aisle,” Kelly told the Denver Channel. It was an emotional moment for everyone, and even on her big day, Kelly could only think about how proud she was of her beloved dog.
“We ignored everybody. We just dropped to our knees and kept saying, ‘You did it, buddy. You made it. You’re here. You’re here.’ Everybody was ᴄʀʏɪɴɢ.” It was one of their last memories together.
Charlie ᴅɪᴇᴅ Nine Days After The Ceremony
Kelly was overjoyed to have Charlie by her side on her special day. She felt that his presence gave her the strength she needed to get through the day and make it a memorable one. Even though Charlie ᴘᴀssᴇᴅ ᴀᴡᴀʏ soon after the wedding, Kelly will always cherish the memory of having him there to walk her down the aisle.
This heartwarming story reminds us of the special bond between pets and their owners. It shows us that even in the face of ᴛʀᴀɢᴇᴅʏ, love can conquer all and that the power of a pet’s love can make even the most ᴄʜᴀʟʟᴇɴɢɪɴɢ moments easier.