Dying dog lived just long enough to see his owner get married
Published 20/09/2016 | 06:34
Fifteen-year-old Labrador Charlie Bear had watched his owner, Kelly O'Connell, become an adult.
He managed to be there for a final milestone in her life after contracting a brain tumour.
Most people thought Charlie Bear wouldn't live long enough to witness Mrs O'Connell's wedding.
The faithful dog was found abandoned at 12 weeks old in a shopping cart outside a supermarket in New York and brought to the animal shelter where Mrs O'Connell was working while she trained to be a veterinarian.
Mrs O'Connell was not at the ideal time in her life to get a dog - she was 19, still living with her parents and going to college.
However, it was love at first sight, and she just had to take the puppy home.
Since then, the two have been best friends; they moved from New York to Colorado, and she was very happy her dog was able to come to her wedding.
The pooch was able to walk down the aisle to greet his owner, who told BuzzFeed News she “immediately broke down” when Charlie Bear walked down the aisle to her.
“James [her husband] and I just grabbed onto him, and we just kept saying, ‘You made it, buddy, you made it.’”
When the time came to walk back down the aisle, Charlie Bear was too poorly to walk, so Mrs O'Connell's sister carried him instead.
Photographer Jen Dziuvenis, took a series of touching photographs of Charlie Bear at the wedding.
"Everyone was trying to hold it together," she told The Dodo.
"It was just one of the most loving things I've ever seen. It just touched all of us so much."
"It was just people who love their dog doing what you do for a sick family member," she said of the bride's reaction to the dog being at her wedding.
"After the ceremony, she just kept saying, 'Charlie, you're here. You made it.'"
Charlie was put to sleep just over a week after the wedding ceremony.
Mrs O'Connell told BuzzFeed she was happy he lived long enough to attend her wedding.
She said: "It was a phenomenal moment. It was a phenomenal 15 years."