Charlie the golden retriever was “the best boy” and a huge part of Sallie Gregory Hammett’s family since he was an 8-week-old puppy.
Hammett was devastated when Charlie died earlier this month after a five-month battle with lymphoma cancer. He was 7.
After a few days of crying, she decided to write Charlie’s obituary to help sort through her feelings.
“I also just wanted to have somewhere to remember all of his little quirks and the weird things about him,” she told CNN.
Hammett thought about having the obituary published in her local paper, but it was pretty expensive.
Instead, she posted it on her social media accounts and figured that her family and a few friends would enjoy reading it.
But then the creator of the popular Twitter accounts WeRateDogs and Thoughts of a Dog shared the post on his personal account.
It went viral – with more than 100,000 likes and thousands of comments.
A beloved companion who saw ‘good in everyone’
Hammett said she was overwhelmed by the sweet, comforting responses to the obituary.
She wrote that Charlie was her constant companion and “was always there to greet her with kisses and a firm grip on her arm.”
“He was good at at lot of things, but he was best at unconditional love,” she wrote. “He taught everyone he met about loving people and always seeing the good in everyone.”
Hammett, 30, was single when she got Charlie, and her friends always asked if he approved of her suitors when she would go on dates.
Charlie loved everyone, so the real test was how her date felt about him.
David passed with flying colors, and Hammett and he got married in May.
“He loved him as much as I did, which I didn’t think was possible,” she said.
Charlie would pick up a stick on every walk and Hammett said he would just about drag her towards any water he could find – be it a lake, river the ocean or a fountain in their hometown of Greenville, South Carolina – and jump right in.
He loved peanut butter and would come running from across the house when he heard Hammett peel her morning banana. She always saved him the last bite.
“When you put the peanut butter on the banana, I mean you would think It was just the best day of his life,” she said.
One last adventure before saying goodbye
The one thing he didn’t like was stairs.
“We never could figure out why, but he just needed a lot of encouragement to go upstairs,” she said, adding that the 80-pound pup once had to be carried up four flights of stairs when he was “being especially stubborn.”
Hammett said she knew Charlie wasn’t doing well at the end, so they took him for one last adventure before they had to put him to sleep.
“He spent his last days in his favorite place, the beach,” she wrote. “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.”
Hammett said their home seems pretty empty without Charlie, so she and her husband plan to adopt another dog soon.