The bond we share with our four-legged best friends can often be taken for granted, but one thing should never be forgotten. The love that dog owners feel for their animals is often reciprocated tenfold. Frank Olzta, a native of Webster, Massachusetts, who owns three dogs, can certainly attest to that. And he would readily do so now, following a dramatic episode in early 2018. Frank heard frantic barking outside his house, and knew at once it was a canine’s desperate cry for help.
Guy Cole, Frank’s neighbor in Webster, had certainly lived quite an eventful life prior to his retirement in 1998. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, the 74-year-old was a member of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, before becoming a corrections officer at Somers State Prison, CT. However, everything changed for Guy after he had retired and he brought home a puppy called Toby.
A beautiful golden retriever, Toby formed an unbreakable bond with his new owner, helping Guy through some very difficult times. The septuagenarian veteran lost his wife, Adele, in 2014 which only served to strengthen his relationship with the loving dog. Richard Tetreault, a close friend of Guy’s, was quick to notice the pair’s growing attachment during that period.
“Once his wife died, he had nobody – he had only Toby,” Richard, a fellow dog owner himself, told CBS-affiliated local station WBZ-TV in January 2018. He continued, “And as close as they were before, they got closer.” However, their soul connection was truly cemented some months prior to that, when Guy was in desperate need of help in mid-2017.
“About six months ago Toby tracked down my neighbor Richard Tetreault as he walked down Second Island Road,” Linda Fafard, another friend of Guy’s, informed Webster-based radio station The Lake 940 in January 2018. “Guy had fallen and needed help. When Richard realized Toby was alone, Richard followed Toby to find Guy laying on the floor at his home.”
“I think it’s amazing that Toby went above and beyond for his master,” she added. As for Richard, he credited the golden retriever’s persistence in alerting him to the emergency. “Toby wasn’t going to take no for an answer,” he smilingly recalled to WBZ-TV.
Despite that incredible act, however, few could have predicted what happened in early 2018. Toby embarked on another mercy dash and tried to raise the alarm once again. Being a distant neighbor of Guy’s, when Frank recognized Toby’s frenzied barking outside his front door, he knew something wasn’t right.
“He [Toby] was pawing at the door, barking,” Frank recalled to reporter Katie Brace from WBZ-TV. “I came downstairs, and I could see something was wrong.” Incredibly, Toby had run about half a mile to get to Frank’s address, desperately seeking help for Guy.
Unsurprisingly, Frank acted very quickly, calling 911 and asking for the emergency services to check on his friend and neighbor. Attending paramedics found Guy in need of urgent medical attention, and subsequently rushed him to hospital. Sadly, however, there was little the doctors there could do.
Indeed, Guy passed away on January 18, 2018, just hours after arriving at the emergency room. He was survived by one daughter, three stepchildren, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. However, Toby may well have been hurting more than anyone, such was his close relationship to the retired veteran.
And while he was unable to save Guy a second time, Toby’s first-rate efforts have been praised across the board. The Webster Police Department even posted a heartfelt message on its official Facebook page. “So we were asked by a family member to share this story,” the update began. “I will say that although the ending is somewhat sad, it does illustrate the fact that our pets are simply more than just animals.”
After recounting the incident, the post continued, “Toby traveled about half a mile to his owner’s friend’s house because he knew something was wrong. All too often we take our pets for granted (myself included), and overlook the fact they are aware of a lot more than we realize. They truly care about us and know when we are not only happy, but also sad or sick.”
“This is a true testament of not only Toby’s love for his owner, but for just how far [pets] will go for us,” the Facebook statement added. “Give your pet a little extra attention today, I know I will!” That warm post, written on January 24, 2018, attracted almost 1,000 shares and more than 130 comments on the social media site.
Of all those comments, one in particular stood out. “I use to love seeing Guy and Toby walking around town,” wrote Facebook user Meagan Bugbee. “Toby never on a leash, and he was the most loving and cutest dog I’ve ever met. He would walk beside Guy everywhere he went, he would wait outside a store or any place no matter how long until Guy would come out.”
“He was such a good dog,” she continued. “Guy and Toby were best friends. To me dogs, or any animal for that matter, are not just pets they are people. Toby did what he had to do.” Another commenter, Heather Matilda, added, “Family is a love bond and not determined by DNA. It’s amazing the bond we can form with a completely different species. It’s because pets just love us and accept us as we are. It’s too bad we can’t do that with one another”
While Toby won’t see his owner again, Guy was still able to pull off one last touching gesture, underlining their friendship forever. The golden retriever was the first living relative to be mentioned in Guy’s obituary, described as the retiree’s “best friend and loyal companion.” However, that tribute did not come as a surprise to every Webster resident.
Indeed, one close observer was quick to add his thoughts. “Like man and wife but best friends,” Frank Olzta told WBZ-TV of his take on the pair’s relationship. “Toby was always there. Guy was always there.” When reflecting on the canine’s actions at his house that fateful day, Frank added, “I hope my dogs do that for me.”
And another friend was in full agreement. “You never seen anything like it,” Richard Tetreault reflected. “I have never seen a dog and another human being be that close. They were just like one.” Although Guy and Toby’s story ended on a sad note, at least the golden retriever is no longer alone.
Rest assured that Toby is now being looked after by members of Guy’s family. Yet while that won’t bring the old man back, at least his canine and kin can comfort each other through the grieving process to come. As for the rest of Guy’s friends, they were given the chance to celebrate his life at a memorial service held in Webster in February 2018.
While it is true that the bond we share with our pets can often be taken for granted, arguably the same could not be said for Guy Cole. It seems that he loved Toby with all his heart, and the feeling appears to have been reciprocated. Although his four-legged best friend was unable to save Guy’s life for a second time, the world now knows just how special Toby is.