When Tom Hardy first caught the eye of the stray dog that would eventually wind up becoming his best friend, he thought he was about to get attacked.

In a touching tribute to his furry friend, who passed away earlier this week after a six-month battle with a muscle disease, the Oscar-nominated star recalled how a drive through Atlanta one night in 2011 changed his life.

"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," he wrote. "'That dog's had it,' I thought."

In an effort to persuade the dog not to continue towards certain death, Hardy got out of his car and whistled sharply, using his fingers. The noise worked, the pup stopped, and suddenly Hardy faced a new problem.

"Then it turned and set eyes on me and 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," he wrote. "'F**k this,' I thought. 'that’s not a fkn dog. What am I doing?'"

Instead of getting bitten, Hardy reached down and pulled up what he described as "very small bundle literally sagging from its neck fur with two big brown eyes staring straight into mine."

For the next five years, Hardy and the Labrador-mix he named Woodstock became inseparable. From the red carpet to a cameo in the series "Peaky Blinders," Woodstock quickly became one of the most recognizable pups in Hollywood. The pair even starred in ad for PETA in support of animal adoption.

"He was an Angel," Hardy wrote. "And he was my best friend. We went through so much together."

In heartfelt words that every dog owner can relate to, Hardy added that the short six years he spent with Woodstock were some of the best times of his life.

"He was far too young to leave us and we at home are devastated by his loss," he wrote. "I am ultimately grateful for his loyal companionship and love, and it is of some great comfort that he is no longer suffering. Above all I am completely gutted. The world for me was a better place with him in it and by my side."

"Thank you Woody for choosing to find us," he added. "We will love you and be with you and you with us forever. Never ever ever forgotten."

You can watch a photo tribute put together by Hardy of his beloved friend Woodstock below (and skip over to the five-minute mark once the video sits on the same photo for too long):

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.