Willie was abandoned as a puppy, left on a stranger’s porch. Shane Godfrey took the pooch in and the two were soon inseparable…until Godfrey was hospitalized after the onset of the flu.
Willie was then separated from Godfrey for more than a month while his owner battled complications that included double pneumonia, kidney failure and other conditions. During his stay in the hospital, Godfrey lost 50 pounds and grew out his beard. He returned home looking like a new man—and apparently almost unrecognizable to Willie.
If you guessed that Willie ran right up to Godfrey and jumped into his arms, you’ll be surprised at the pooch’s reaction. Willie didn’t even recognize the skinny version of his beloved owner! Instead of rushing toward Godfrey, Willie kept his distance and eventually had to be led over by someone else to “re-meet” his owner.
Not only did Willie not respond to Godfrey’s voice, the pooch barked at the “stranger” calling his name. Willie ran right to another family friend when called, then cautiously approached the slimmed-down Godfrey.
Your heart will melt when you see Willie’s reaction when he finally recognizes his buddy. Now that the two are back together, Willie is even more possessive of his owner than ever. Godfrey shared the sweet photo below on Facebook, with the simple caption: “Love him.”
While research has shown that dogs can their recognize owner’s faces, this wasn’t the case with Willie. Godfrey had lost so much weight, he just looked like a stranger to his formerly close pooch. One of the primary ways dogs recognize us is by our scent, but Willie initialy was too far away to smell Godfrey.
According to the Animal Planet website, the longer a dog is separated from its owner, the happier the pet is to be reunited. That was certainly the case for Willie when he saw Godfrey again for the first time!