A 15-year-old black Labrador mix who has been battling cancer since April has held on up to September, long enough to see his master get married. Charlie Bear is bride Kelly O’Connell’s best friend – and having him at her wedding was something that she had always wanted… It was a good thing he was able to make it.
Kelly and Charlie met each other at a very unlikely time. As Kelly had put it, “It was the worst time in my life to even attempt to get a dog.”
After all, she was 19 at the time, still living with her parents, and going to college to earn her degree as veterinarian. Why would she get a dog?
Well, the answer was easy for her. She fell in love with the adorable 12-week-old pup left in a shopping cart outside a grocery store at her hometown. Charlie would become her best friend.
When Kelly met James Garvin, fellow vet, and they fell in love back in 2010, Charlie would soon become part of a bigger family when they moved in together. James’ two sons and Charlie also became good friends and the dog pretty much got anything and everything it wanted.
In April this year, however, Charlie got sick while Kelly was busy preparing for her wedding with James. He was diagnosed with brain cancer; the prognosis wasn’t good. Will he be able to make it to Kelly’s September wedding?
A week before the date, Charlie had five seizures. Kelly was worried he would never make it and that they had to put him to sleep. Amazingly, the following days went smoothly and he never had trouble walking; nor did he experience seizures during the days leading up to the wedding. It seems that he was gathering all his energy for her big day.
On September 1, Charlie Bear was strong enough to walk with Kelly down the aisle. As the couple exchanged their vows, he was right beside Kelly while one of the couple’s other five dogs was also by James’ feet.
But it seemed that Charlie’s energy was spent on that final walk down the aisle with Kelly because he couldn’t move after that. Kelly’s sister, maid of honor Katie Lloyd had to scoop him in her arms and carry him away.
On September 9, Charlie Bear was put to sleep.
Kelly was brokenhearted but has found solace in the fact that the dog seemed happy during her wedding day. He may not understand what was going on but he knew he was with his family and loved ones in the end of his days…