Nothing can compare to the unconditional love a pet has for its owner, a testament avid animal lover Tom Hardy can attest to. The talented actor wrote a touching tribute to his “best friend,” a Labrador named Woody, who recently passed away at the age of six due to an aggressive form of polymyositis, an inflammatory muscle disease.
Along with the heartfelt tribute, Hardy also included a 10-minute video of photos of the two, set to Candi Staton’s “Young Hearts Run Free,” which you can view below:
Stealing The Legendary Show
Fans were introduced to Woody, full name Woodstock Yamaduki Hardy, when behind-the-scenes photos emerged of Hardy playing around with an adorable 11-week-old Woody while on set of the 2015 film Legend.
Hardy brought Woody along to the Legend blue carpet premiere where the canine stole the show from the handsome actor and his co-stars, including (my forever Girl Crush) Emily Browning and Tara Fitzgerald.
“To The Bestest Friend Ever”
In the tribute, Hardy recalls his first encounter with the stray animal while shooting the crime drama, and reveals having no idea it was a dog at first — confusing it for a wolf, perhaps — because of the pitch blackness of the Georgian sky:
“I first saw Woodstock running across a turnpike we were turning onto late one dark night in Peachtree Georgia Atlanta. Whilst we were shooting Lawless. He was a stray. 11 weeks old. Oh No we thought. Quickly Go get that dog not even sure it was a dog. Actually. We stopped the car. It was pitch black literally. I used my phone to light the road in case a car came round the turnpike and couldn’t see me… I tried to cover some ground but he was fast. I watched this thing Running towards the highway in the pitch black making good speed towards the cars and lorries and I remember seeing what were its floppy ears bouncing towards the traffic.
“… I panicked a little because I couldn’t help it had no name to shout and now it was close to the freeway. I put my fingers to my mouth and I whistled. Loud as I could. The whistle pierced the black. And It stopped the dog dead in its tracks. Then it turned and set eyes on me in one swift movement the ears about faced and the dog decided to run straight at me in the darkness all flashes of teeth and snarling And shrieking. [F–k] this I thought that’s not a fkn dog.”
Hardy states the dog ran “straight at [him]” and mentions hearing the distress in its voice. He details the first moments shared between them:
“I… [expected] to feel teeth and grabbed a fist full of soft neck fur lifted what was actually an incredibly light weight up to my face and shone my phone at it. It was a very small bundle literally sagging from its neck fur with two big brown eyes staring straight into mine. Terrified and utterly quiet. When I got back to the car and sat in my seat he lay on my shoulder and fell asleep. And snored clearly he’d been through a lot. And now the ordeal was seemingly over enough for him to relax.”
After determining the dog was a male, following feeling his “Woodstock” (and so the name was born), Hardy continues his recollection of having him as the “onset dog.” He refers to Woody as being a “survivor” and affectionately stated that “he would never go hungry again” after noticing the various food issues Woody had.
Hardy shared some other fond memories with the pooch and gave a brief shout out to his wife, Charlotte Riley, who “worked tirelessly with him to get him through a rough case of separation anxiety.” Riley gave birth to their son in October 2015 and Hardy credits Woody for guarding her fiercely while she was pregnant.
Hardy reveals that he and his family are “devastated by [the] loss” and remain “ultimately grateful for his loyal companionship and love and it is of some great comfort that he is no longer suffering.” He concludes the heart-wrenching tribute by thanking his “bestest friend ever” and states that their souls are “intertwined forever”:
“He was special bro, a shining example of man’s best friend. He burnt very very bright and, those that burn very bright sometimes burn half as long.
“Thankyou Woody for choosing to find us. We will love you and be with you and you with us forever. Never ever ever forgotten. Your Boy tom xxx I love you beyond words. To the moon and back again and again to Infinity and beyond. Run with [Hardy’s other deceased pet] Max now and the Angels. I will see you when I get there.
“With all of me I love you… Your love beautiful boy.”
The immense joy Woody brought Hardy and his family is pretty clear. Although Hardy is known for roles that perpetuate a tough guy persona, the actor truly has a heart of gold. The touching words he wrote illustrates the sheer adoration felt for Woody and we wish Hardy and his family all the best.
You can catch Tom Hardy next in the upcoming Christopher Nolan war drama Dunkirk starring Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance. Dunkirk releases in theaters on July 21st.