A very good dog got one last special treat from his favorite human.
Charlie, a beloved golden retriever, was the first dog Sallie Gregory-Hammett of Greenville, South Carolina, ever had on her own. Gregory-Hammett, 30, got Charlie when she was 23, single and had just moved to a new city.
“I know it’s cliché but he was my best friend,” Gregory-Hammett wrote to HuffPost. “He went with me everywhere —work, hiking, trips to Home Depot. He was just a constant source of comfort and companionship and joy. Everyone that knew me knew Charlie and knew how much I loved him.”
She even jokingly added: “Whenever I would start dating someone, people would always say, ‘Does Charlie like him?’ But Charlie loved everyone, so that was never the question.”
This included Gregory-Hammett’s now-husband, David, whom she married in May in a tiny backyard ceremony.
“When I saw David interact with Charlie I just knew he was the one, because he loved Charlie as much as I did,” she said.
But Charlie seemed easy to love. He had many “quirks,” as Gregory-Hammett put it, which included jumping into water like “a weird kangaroo” and collecting lots and lots and lots of sticks.
“He picked up sticks on every single walk, that was how we knew he was tired,” Gregory-Hammett lovingly remembered. “He’d pick up a stick and that meant it was time to go home.”
Yet on Sept. 13, after a five-month battle with lymphoma, Charlie passed on to that big farm in the sky — which, hopefully, for Charlie’s sake, is littered with lots and lots of Charlie-worthy sticks.
Gregory-Hammett was devastated by the loss, and told HuffPost she was trying to find an outlet for her grief — so she decided to write him an obituary.
“I’ve always loved writing, and when Charlie passed it was just so overwhelming that I needed to do something cathartic,” she said.
So she sat down and poured her heart out.
In her memorial, she noted all the things Charlie adored — smiling, snoozing, car rides, bananas, chasing squirrels, and socks.
“If we’re being honest, Charlie loved everything life had to offer (except stairs. He hated stairs),” Gregory-Hammett wrote.
“He was good at a lot of things, but he was best at unconditional love,” she continued. “He taught everyone he met about loving people, and always seeing the good in everyone.”
Gregory-Hammett also mentioned Charlie’s final days, which he spent at one of his favorite places — the beach.
“He relaxed in the Charlie-sized holes he dug himself, and dove straight into the oncoming waves. His last days were so happy and will be cherished forever. We will think of him every time we open the peanut butter.”
“In [lieu] of flowers, the family asks that you give all your pups some extra love in honor of Charlie.”
Gregory-Hammett said she wanted to publish the obit in her local newspaper but due to the steep cost, she decided to create a mock-newspaper obituary as a keepsake — saying she just wanted “something to celebrate and memorialize him, because he was such a huge part of my life.”
Yet after sharing her obituary with friends and family, they encouraged her to share it online. So, she tweeted it on Tuesday.
“I wrote my dog an obituary because of course I did. He was the best boy,” she captioned the image of her obit.
She never expected it to receive over 104,000 likes.
“The likes are awesome but the best part has been all of the replies,” she told HuffPost. “Reading about everyone else’s special doggos, and all the people that say they loved Charlie even though they never met him. It’s just been so comforting — it makes me feel less alone and just flooded with love.”
“And Charlie has been so celebrated! He was a special boy and it means the world to me.”