A bride who desperately wanted her beloved dog to be a part of her wedding was heartbroken when the pup was diagnosed with a terminal illness just months before the ceremony.
33-year-old Kelly O’Connell, from Colorado, US, adopted black lab Charlie Bear when she was 19 years old. In April of this year, Charlie was found to be suffering from a brain tumor.
Kelly’s wedding to then-boyfriend James Garvin was scheduled for September 9th, and Kelly was devastated when she realized that Charlie Bear might not live to see her say her wedding vows.
But Charlie fought through and, when he was too weak to walk up the aisle with Kelly, her sister and maid of honor scooped up the exhausted pup and carried him.
“Both of us just dropped to our knees and started crying,” said Kelly, “To see him carried a few feet, it kind of solidified for me that it’s not the Charlie he liked to be. He was ageing, and it hit me knowing that he lost a lot.”
Wedding photographer and friend Jen Dziuvenis captured the touching moment, saying, “I was like, ‘I have to keep shooting even though I’m in a puddle of tears behind the camera’.”
On September 9th, just days after the ceremony, Charlie passed away peacefully aged 15.
“He was a very sweet dog,” said Kelly, “He loved everybody, but I was definitely his person.”
Photographer Jen uploaded the wedding album to Facebook and the heartbreaking story has been shared thousands of times online, which lifted Kelly’s spirits.
“It makes me so happy because I know they’re having that connection with their dog,” said Kelly, “It reminds us we wouldn’t be feeling this much pain if [our pets] didn’t give us so much joy.”
Rest in peace, Charlie.