Every morning when I wake up I can’t believe how lucky I am to have Buddy in my life. Since the day I found him back in April 2009 he’s been my best friend, and although I rescued him, in some ways he also rescued me.
His little scarred face and stumpy tail might never win him Best in Show at Crufts, but to me, he’s absolutely perfect. He’s battled through cancer, climbed Mount Snowdon and Scafell Pike and helped me overcome numerous hurdles in my life, writes Nicola Owst.
Nicola and Buddy / Photo Credit: Andy Biggar
The story starts on that fateful day when I found him 10 years ago…
I hadn’t set out to come back with a new pet, but in hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d been helping a friend who was collecting a foal outside London and found this abandoned Staffy caged up and left for dead with no food or water. He was in a terrible state, full of mange and so weak he could barely stand up.
I knew it was touch and go whether he’d survive, but I made the snap decision to take him home with me. I’ve always been passionate about animals, so there was no question about leaving him to his fate. It was fate that brought me to him in the first place after all.
As we travelled back to my home in Leicester nearly 100 miles from where I found him, I remember gently holding him and saying “Hang in there Buddy”. From that day my life changed forever.
Photo Credit: Nicola Owst
Photo Credit: Nicola Owst
I’d had a very tricky upbringing and had lost touch with my father, but Buddy brought us back together and helped me learn to trust again. He’s also the reason why I decided to go on a date with my (now) husband Jon and how I met my fantastic circle of friends.
By caring for Buddy and giving him the love and attention he so badly needed, he’s been a tremendous support to me and I’ve realised that love really can conquer all.
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In 2015 my world fell apart when Buddy was diagnosed with cancer. And when his insurance couldn’t cover all his treatment we reached out to social media. We couldn’t believe the response from total strangers and he now has over 26,000 Facebook followers!
Even though Staffies have such a bad reputation, it’s been wonderful seeing how much the public love this misunderstood breed. And I’ve always said, if you see a badly behaved dog, you should look at what’s on the other end of the lead.
Photo Credit: Andy Biggar
Buddy was asked to represent Staffies at Crufts’ Discover Dogs in 2016. It was a wonderful opportunity to help spread the word about Staffies and adopting a rescue dog. On our third trip to Crufts with Buddy in 2019 the press picked up on Buddy’s story, and a month or so later I was asked to write a book about our life together for NaNoWriMo.
My husband Jon and I now have Buddy and another rescue dog in our lives, a beautiful Springer Spaniel called Susie. Our son Toby is two and we are expecting our second child in December, so life continues to be a great adventure for all of us.
Read more about Buddy’s story in 'Saving Buddy' by Nicola Owst, £12.99 Mirror Books, on sale now.