Guy Cole, a 74-year-old from Webster, Massachusetts, was as close as he could be with his golden retriever, Toby. At this late stage in his life, the dog faithfully served as his best friend and companion—the two became even closer when Cole’s wife passed away.
“Like man and wife but best friends,” Cole’s friend Frank Olzta told WBZ-TV.
“Toby was always there. Guy was always there.”
Anyone who knew Cole could see what a special bond he had with Toby—but no one realized just how deep it was until last week.
Olzta heard tapping at his door. When he went to answer it, he was surprised to find Toby—but Cole was nowhere to be found.
“He was pawing at the door, barking,” Olzta recalled.
“I could see something was wrong.”
Olzta lives about half a mile from Cole and Toby. He realized that the retriever had run all this way for a reason—he was trying to tell him something, to get help. He realized Cole might be in danger.
This wasn’t the first time this had happened: six months ago, Cole had had a medical emergency. Toby ran out of the house and tracked down Cole’s friend Richard Tetreault, who got him help.
Realizing this was likely the same situation, Olzta called 911. He asked the police to go check on Cole.
The police arrived—and discovered Cole in critical condition.
Ambulances arrived and Cole was rushed to the hospital for emergency medical treatment.
Sadly, he did not recover: he died in the hospital that night.
While the story doesn’t have a happy ending, it’s still a testament to the love and compassion that our pets are capable of. Not only can they sense when we’re in distress, they’re intelligent enough to know how to seek help on their own.
“I hope my dogs do that for me,” said Olzta, who has three dogs of his own.
After Cole passed, his friends and family made sure to note how important the dog was to him. In his obituary, Toby is listed first under his surviving family.
“You never seen anything like it,” Tetreault told WBZ-TV.
“I have never seen a dog and another human being be that close. They were just like one.”
Toby, while no doubt mourning his best friend, is now safe in the care of Cole’s family members.
And he’s being rightfully honored as a hero … by the Webster Police Department, who wrote a tribute to the dog:
“All too often we take our pets for granted … and overlook the fact they are aware of a lot more than we realize,” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “They truly care about us and know when we are not only happy, but also sad or sick.”