It was love at first sight. When Kelly O’Connell saw 12-week-old black Labrador Charlie she adopted him right away – even though she wasn't looking for a dog at all. “He came in and I was like, ‘Yup. I’m taking this puppy home,’ ” she said.
Charlie had been left in a shopping trolley and was brought in to the animal shelter where 19-year-old Kelly was working.
Since then Kelly and Charlie were inseparable. So when Kelly and her fiancé, fellow veterinarian James Garvin, decided to tie the knot, Kelly wanted her best friend Charlie right there with her. But by this time the 15-year old pooch was getting on and his body was failing. He'd started having seizures and was diagnosed with a brain tumour this year. He had five seizures the week before her wedding day and Kelly was ready to put her Charlie down. But then he seemed to rally – the week of the wedding Charlie had no seizures and the bride-to-be couldn't bring herself to take him on his final trip to the vet.
“He seemed like a whole new dog,” Kelly told BoredPanda.
“And guess what? He DID make it down the aisle. But he couldn’t make it back . . .” To help Charlie be part of the moment Kelly's sister and maid-of-honour picked him and carried him down the aisle to the altar.
“James and I just grabbed onto him and we just kept saying, ‘You made it, buddy, you made it,’ ” Kelly recalls. “He just had a giant grin on his face.”
The heartrending moment was captured by the couple's photographer, Jen Dziuvenis. “There isn’t enough mascara in the world for these moments,” Jen wrote on Facebook. “Dog people are the best people. “This is what love looks like.”
“Love for family, love for animals, love for your sister. It was just the most touching display of that that I’ve seen, and it was spur of the moment, it just happened, because that’s how these people are.”
A week later on 9 September Charlie was put down.
“He died peacefully in front of the fireplace at home surrounded by his loving family,” Kelly says.
Looking back at the pictures of the wedding that have Charlie in them Kelly described the moment as “priceless”.
“It was a phenomenal 15 years, that’s for sure.”