When Shane Godfrey returned home from a five-week stay in the hospital that nearly claimed his life, he was 50 pounds lighter and so unrecognizable that at first his beloved rescue dog refused to approach him. But once Willie realized that it really was his dad, he couldn’t contain his excitement.
Willie was abandoned as a puppy last year and Shane found him on the front porch of his Sanford, North Carolina home. The two have been nearly inseparable, so it must have been terribly confusing and frightening for Willie to have his best friend suddenly leave him and to have to live with Shane’s sister.
It was in late February that Shane was admitted to the hospital with a bad case of the flu, which led to double pneumonia. He later developed sepsis and encephalitis, and his kidneys began shutting down.
He was on death’s door, but because of advances in technology and his wonderful medical team, he survived.
However, Shane had lost a lot of weight – about 50 pounds – and his unfamiliar appearance spooked poor Willie.
“At first he was unsure and barked at me but once he got close enough to smell me he recognized me immediately and totally went wild with excitement,” he told The Dodo.
Their reunion was posted on Facebook and Twitter, quickly going viral.
“It still makes me tear up when I see the video,” Shane explained. “He won’t leave my side now that I’ve gotten back home.”