For 15 years, Charlie Bear and his owner, Kelly O’Connell, were inseparable. So when it came time for O’Connell to get married, the black Lab mix took his usual spot by her side — despite an advanced brain tumor.
Charlie came into O’Connell’s life after someone found him in a shopping cart in New York during the dead of winter, The Washington Post reports. When O’Connell, who was 19 years old at the time, saw the 12-week-old puppy at the shelter, she just knew he was the one for her.
From that point on they were like two peas in a pod. They moved from New York to Colorado together. And when O’Connell met the man of her dreams, James Garvin, they were a package deal. But when it came time for O’Connell to get married earlier this month, she was unsure whether Charlie would be able to accompany her.
Charlie had been diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year, according to the Post. His health was rapidly declining, and O’Connell, a veterinarian, made a difficult decision. She scheduled him to be put down about a week before the wedding.
But then something amazing happened. Charlie got a little better. So much so that he was able to walk down the aisle during O’Connell and Garvin’s wedding.
Photos posted by the wedding photographer, Jen Dziuvenis, show the handsome old dog plopped down on the ground along with the bridal party while O’Connell and Garvin exchange vows.
All that excitement must’ve been too much for Charlie because he couldn’t walk himself back down the aisle. O’Connell’s sister carried him instead (that’s what maids of honor are for, right?)
“There isn’t enough mascara in the world for these moments,” Jen Dziuvenis wrote in the Facebook post. “Dog people are the best people.”
Unfortunately, Charlie ended up being put to sleep a few days after the ceremony, the Post reports. But O’Connell will always have that memory of Charlie on her wedding day — and many other memories — when she thinks about her old friend.
“He may not have been able to do what he wanted to do, and his body was definitely failing him,” O’Connell told the Post. “But he was happy to be there.”