A maid of honor carried her sister’s beloved dog down the aisle when the pup was too weak to meet her and the groom at the end. Kelly O’Connell – from Denver, Colorado – adopted Charlie Bear in 2002, when she was 19 years old and living in New York.
At the time, she was working at an animal shelter, and a 3-month-old black lab was brought in after being found in a shopping cart. O’Connell wasn’t looking for a pet, but she knew right away Charlie was meant to be hers. She says: “He came in, and I was like, ‘Yup. I’m taking this puppy home.'”
Earlier this year, the bride-to-be’s loyal companion of 15 years was diagnosed with a brain tumor. O’Connell and fiancé James Garvin, both veterinarians, were planning their wedding, and they both agreed it was important for Charlie Bear to be there on their special day.
During the couple’s ceremony on September 1, photographer Jen Dziuvenis captured the emotional moment of O’Connell’s maid of honor and sister, Katie Lloyd, carrying the pup when he couldn’t make it on his own. O’Connell says: “James and I just grabbed onto him, and we just kept saying, ‘You made it, buddy, you made it.'”
Sadly, Charlie Bear passed away on September 9, about one week after the wedding. The beloved dog died peacefully, in front of the fireplace at home and surrounded by his family. O’Connell concludes: “It was a phenomenal 15 years. That’s for sure.”