From the moment this dog, named Willie, was found abandoned as a puppy on Shane Godfrey's front porch early last year, the pair have been pretty much inseparable β€” and that's just the way Willie likes it.

Recently, however, the sweet pup must have thought he'd lost his friend forever.

Shane Godfrey

In late February, Godfrey was hospitalized with a case of the flu. It then developed into double pneumonia and, later on, kidney failure, sepsis and encephalitis. The decline in Godfrey's health was so serious, at some points his doctors feared the worst.

"They weren't sure if I would make it for a while," he told The Dodo.

Godfrey remained in the hospital for five weeks, and thankfully his condition did improve. In that time though, he'd lost a significant amount of weight.

Shane Godfrey

The near-death experience had taken its toll on Godfrey, to say the least, but his absence for all those weeks had also been taking its toll on Willie. Godfrey's sister had taken the dog in, but it was impossible, of course, to explain to him where his best friend had gone.

That's what made their recent reunion so very special. In fact, Willie could hardly believe his eyes that his owner was really home. (Fortunately, as you'll see, Willie's nose was more convincing.)

Here's video from that moment:

As special as that moment was for Willie, Godfrey felt the same β€” understanding his pup's initial uncertainty.

"I had lost 50 pounds in the hospital and am sure I looked different," he said. "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. It still makes me tear up when I see the video."

Since his owner's return, Willie has been even more insistent on not letting him out of his sight again, Godfrey said:

"He won't leave my side now that I've gotten back home."

Shane Godfrey