For many dogs, an hour away from their best human friend can seem like an eternity. They have no idea where we go or if we'll come back.
Whether we're coming home from that long day at the office, or popping back in after running a few errands, each greeting is like a reunion - full of barking, wagging tails and happy kisses from our fur babies.
But for 13-year-old Buddy, the absence of her best friend was more deeply felt and this wait for her return was much, much longer.
The elderly golden retriever has been the constant companion and best friend to 21-year-old Army private Hannah Foraker, since she was a young girl. The two were virtually inseparable, until this past September.
Foraker tells Today that she had enlisted in the US Army and left for basic combat training, describing it as one of the hardest things she's ever done in her life.
"I have never been away from home before, so this was a huge deal for me," said Foraker, who is currently a biomedical equipment specialist at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
"It pulled at my heartstrings, to say goodbye, though having never actually left home before I didn't realize the importance of giving proper goodbyes."
For three long months, sweet Buddy faithfully waited for her best friend to come home. Finally, she was given leave to return home and Buddy was there, ready to receive her hugs.
"Buddy was so overwhelmed that she just collapsed in pure happiness,” Foraker said. “We were apart for [more than three] months, so the reunion was such a beautiful experience.”
As Buddy is too elderly to make the trip to visit her best friend, she must patiently wait until the next time they can meet again. In the meantime, Foraker talks with Buddy through Skype:
"Even though she doesn't realize what's going on, she feeds off the energetic excitement of the room and my voice through the speaker,” she said. “It's always so sweet when she starts licking the laptop!"
We wish them both good health and happiness and many more reunions in the months to come!