GREENVILLE, S.C. – For seven years, Sallie Gregory Hammett took her golden retriever, Charlie, everywhere with her: to work, to run errands, tailgating at Clemson games. They were inseparable.
"Everyone who knew me, knew Charlie," Hammett said.
When Hammett adopted Charlie, she was 23, single and living in a brand new city. She was looking for a "right-hand man," which Charlie quickly became, Hammett said.
"He was just the happiest dog," she said. "He had a lot of personality."
The two of them shared many adventures, from hiking and traveling to Hammett's backyard wedding in May.
When Charlie died after a five-month battle with cancer Sept. 13, Hammett wanted to do something special in his honor. She wrote an obituary for him and tagged a handful of dog accounts on Twitter.
Two weeks later, the tweet has 106,000 likes and 10,000 retweets. It's been shared across the world. Those who knew Charlie – and those who didn't – celebrated the joy pets bring to their owners' lives.
"It's heartwarming. Everyone has been so overwhelmingly sweet," Hammett said.
For Hammett, who said she's always enjoyed writing, the obituary was "cathartic." It gave her space to reflect on the time she shared with Charlie and a way to remember all of his little quirks.
Like the way he hated having his toes touched. His favorite snacks, such as peanut butter and bananas. The way he always greeted her with excitement and kisses. How he loved to splash in a water fountain in downtown Greenville.
Charlie loved the beach. As Hammett and her husband, David, prepared to say goodbye to him, they took one last trip to the beach. Charlie made the most of his final outing, digging large holes in the sand and playing in the waves.
"His last days were so happy and will be cherished forever," Hammett wrote.
Hammett ended her obituary by encouraging other dog owners to give extra love to their pets in honor of Charlie. As the tweet has spread, she's been overwhelmed by the responses.
"It's cool that this has however many likes, but the best thing is how people are responding with their dogs," she said. "People will send a picture like, 'Roscoe's getting extra belly rubs tonight,' or other dogs that are waiting to meet Charlie across the Rainbow Bridge."
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
For Hammett, the obituary drew together a virtual circle of support where everyone could relate about the love of a pet.
"I'm just so grateful for the outpouring of love that has come from it," Hammett said. "I'm so grateful for everybody that's taken one minute to respond with their condolences or respond with a picture of their dogs. It sounds silly to say, but it's so much bigger than me."
Follow reporter Macon Atkinson on Twitter @maconatkinson.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Dog obituary for golden retriever, Charlie, goes viral on Twitter