Noel is a 10-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever. Her best friend is 11-year-old Toby, the Bernese Mountain Dog,.
They’ve been friends ever since Toby and his owner Raymond Godfrey of South Philadelphia stumbled upon Noel 7 years ago; she was abandoned under the Walt Whitman Bridge.
“She was very elusive, she went up to Toby…they started talking, what dogs talk about, I don’t know what they talk about,” Godfrey said.
Since then, the dogs did everything together. They were inseparable.
Then last summer, Toby was stricken with cancer. Last August 2nd, Godfrey was taking Toby to the vet and inadvertently left the front door of his row home partially open.
“And [Noel] ran looking for us, thinking we were going somewhere. I wouldn’t normally go without her. I was taking him to the vet and she didn’t know this,” Godfrey said.
Godfrey put out hundreds of lost dog leaflets all over South Philadelphia.
He went on the internet and recruited dog rescue groups and others to help.
Many did, including Governor Ed Rendell who gets his hair cut by Godfrey, but it was to no avail.
But then at 12:27 Wednesday morning, 6 months to the day, Godfrey and his wife were asleep in bed when they heard a dog howling outside.
“We rushed downstairs, hurried to open the door, Toby walked out with me, [Noel] saw him, ran in the door and that was it,” Godfrey said.
Noel had lost about 30 pounds, but otherwise appeared to be OK.
Through it all, Godfrey says he never lost faith that he would see Noel again.
“Faith. Got to have faith and what you believe in and hopefully, you’ll know that your animal will come back,” Godfrey said.
And Toby never gave up hope either.
So after 6 months, Noel and Toby, two old friends, essentially joined at the hip, are finally reunited again to enjoy what in dog years are the golden years of their lives.
It is a story of hope, faith and a bond between a dog and his family that led to a remarkable happy ending.