Kelly O’Connell married James Garvin on September 1, surrounded by family and friends, and their pack of pups, which included 15-year-old Charlie Bear. O’Connell and Charlie first came together when she was 19 and working at an animal shelter. For all but the first twelve weeks of his life, Charlie Bear and Kelly were together.
Unfortunately, Charlie was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early 2016, and his health has gradually suffered since. In the week leading up to the wedding, Charlie suffered five seizures. O’Connell was determined to have Charlie Bear be a part of their ceremony, and it feels like Charlie fought to hold on to make her wish true.
Photos captured at the wedding show the Maid of Honor carrying the 80 pound lab as he could not make the walk himself.
Charlie made it through the ceremony, all the while O’Connell was doubting if she was doing the right thing by not putting him down sooner, and if he was in pain the whole time. After looking at the pictures, however, she feels that Charlie was happy, and he wanted to make sure his humans were ok before he left.
After Charlie made his way back up the aisle with the help of the maid of honor everyone gathered around him. The bride stroked his face and told him how happy she was that he made it. The whole family (and the photographer …) cried their eyes out. The amount of love these people have for their animals is enough to restore anyone's faith in humanity. These are good people Charlie is one lucky boy.
O’Connell recounted, “I just think to myself, despite that feeling of ‘did I push it too far’, or ‘did I force him to stay around for this wedding’, looking at those makes me think, he just wanted to see that, us come together, and I guess his mom be taken care of.”
On September 9, a few days after the ceremony, Charlie was put to sleep at home, lying in front of the fireplace.
I know a lot of you have been following Charlie's story and I wanted to give you one final update. He was found abandoned in a shopping cart and lived 15 amazing years with people who loved him. We should all be so lucky. ❤️❤️Last night he passed away. Sending all the good thoughts to his family. You were loved, Charlie bear!!
Via Indy 100