After the seven glorious years that they'd spent doing everything together, she knew her good boy deserved a proper goodbye.
Charlie the golden retriever became a huge part of Sallie Gregory Hammett's life since the moment he joined her family as an 8-week-old puppy. For the next seven years, the inseparable pair went everywhere together: to work, to run errands, and even tailgating at Clemson games. "Everyone who knew me, knew Charlie," Hammett told USA Today. He became her "right-hand man" when she — as a single 23-year-old woman in a brand new city — needed one the most and her partner on all her adventures, including Hammett's backyard wedding in May. Therefore, when it was time for Charlie to cross the rainbow bridge, his dog mom couldn't simply say goodbye.
After a few days of crying over the death of her beloved pup, Hammett 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. Although she considered publishing it in her local paper, she ultimately decided against it as was pretty expensive and instead posted it on her social media accounts for her family and friends to read. "I wrote my dog an obituary because of course I did. He was the best boy," Hammett wrote, tweeting an image of the obituary days after Charlie's death earlier this month after a five-month battle with lymphoma cancer.
"Charlie James Gregory-Hammett crossed the rainbow bridge Sunday, September 13th peacefully in the arms of his mom," the obituary reads. "Charlie's favorite activities were walking, stick collecting, swimming, smiling, and snoozing. If we're being honest, Charlie loved everything life had to offer (except stairs. He hated stairs.) Charlie loved the beach, car rides, bananas, and socks. Charlie always loved going to his Grandma and Grandpa's house, where he could get treats, chase squirrels, and pee everywhere cousin Captain peed. Charlie went tailgating, camping, hiking, and fishing. He lived the very best life."
"More than anything else, Charlie loved his mom. He was always there to greet her with some kisses and a firm grip on her arm. He was her constant companion. There through heartache, moves, grief, and joy. He was good at a lot of things but he was best at unconditional love. He taught everyone he met about loving people, and always seeing the good in everyone," Hammett wrote. The obituary quickly went viral on social media with 115.3k likes and 11.9k retweets in two weeks and netizens across the world reaching out with heartwarming messages.
I wrote my dog an obituary because of course I did. He was the best boy. pic.twitter.com/FKmqeivtq9— Sallie Hammett (@SallieGHammett) September 22, 2020
Hammett, 30, said she was overwhelmed by the sweet, comforting responses she's received in the weeks since posting the obituary. She explained that while she's always enjoyed writing, the obituary was "cathartic" for her as it gave her space to reflect on all the memories she'd made with Charlie and remember his adorable quirks. Like how he would pick up a stick on every walk and 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. Or how he loved peanut butter and would come running from across the house when he heard Hammett peel her morning banana. "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.
The one thing he absolutely did not like was stairs. "We never could figure out why, but he just needed a lot of encouragement to go upstairs," Hammett explained, adding that the 80-pound golden retriever once had to be carried up four flights of stairs when he was "being especially stubborn." She knew Charlie wasn't doing well at the end and before saying goodbye, she and her husband, David, took Charlie for one last adventure before they had to put him to sleep. "He spent his last days in his favorite place, the beach," Hammett 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."