Nicola Owst will never forget the first day she saw Buddy
She was driving on the outskirts of London and passed some wasteland.
On there was a crate with a dog locked in. Nicola stopped and at first she feared the poor animal was dead.
But when she opened the door, the dog moved. Horrified, she wrapped him in a towel and drove nearly 100 miles to the vet.
Nicola kept checking he was alive as he was in such a terrible state.
He weighed just 3kg - Staffies usually weigh around 17kg. The vet said it was the worst case of neglect they had ever seen and told Nicola he’d be lucky to live a few days.
Buddy the day Nicola found him
Buddy recovering from his ordeal
Brave Buddy defied the odds and pulled through
Nicola, 34, from Kibworth, Leicester, said: “He’s our little miracle. I never had a dog before Buddy, I never thought one would fit in my life.
“But he found me and we saved each other. He was in a terrible way when I found him. He had mange and dermatitis, and his paws were raw from being in his own mess.
“He needed to have his tail amputated because of an infection and he was so frightened and anxious if I ever left him. He’d chew his paws until they bled.
“I was going through a break up when he came into my life and he was there for me when I was happy or sad and gave me a reason to get up every day.
"It was as though we were sent to save each other.”
Buddy and Nicola now - look at that smile!
Buddy has many talents and has won thousands of fans
When she first rescued him, one of Nicola’s elderly friends had diabetes, and clever Buddy knew when she needed her insulin and would cling to her leg. As soon as she had her medication, he’d move away.
Now 11, Buddy lives with Nicola, her husband Jonathan, their 20 month old son Toby and Susie, six, a Springer Spaniel who they rescued - she had been used as a breeding dog.
Buddy also has 26,000 followers on his Facebook page where Nicola shares their adventures.
After Staffies were voted the UK’s favourite dog in a poll last month, she was asked to attend Crufts to educate people about the breed and encourage more people to adopt them.
Nicola and Buddy at the Staffy Discover Dogs stand
Proud Nicola gives Buddy a cuddle
Buddy will be at the Staffordshire Bull Terrier area of the Discover Dogs section
Visitors can learn about hundreds of different breeds and Nicola hopes Buddy's story will inspired people to consider adopting a Staffy.
She said: “It breaks my heart to think of what he has been through and how scared he must have been. He’s such a brave, happy boy.
“Three years ago he was diagnosed with cancer in the ankle joint of his back leg. It was in a difficult position to reach and the vet feared they wouldn’t be able to remove all the tumour.
“Even when he went into the surgery for his chemotherapy treatment, he would trot through the door wagging his tail and afterwards he would be running around the park like any other dog.
“When we adopted Suzie three years ago, she was very nervous but Buddy, he was like the wind beneath her wings. He gave her confidence and they are so happy together.”
Buddy with Nicola, husband Jonathan and Susie
Buddy is no stranger to dog shows
He’s been to the Family Pet Show and was voted Best Rescue Dog by Downton Abbey actor and welfare campaigner Peter Egan at Pupaid.
While the Crufts show rings are filled with pristine pedigree dogs, Nicola says she is proud of the opportunity to champion rescue pups.
She said: “There is a place for all dogs at Crufts and being part of the Discover Dogs area gives us the chance to show people what Staffies are really like.
“I hope meeting Buddy, hearing his story and being able to handle him and seeing what a gentle dog he is will encourage more people to consider his breed and adopting dogs from rescue.”
To follow Buddy's adventures, visit his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/buddydogtherescuestaffy
If you enjoyed Buddy's story, you might like to read How Bailey the Staffy saved owner Andy's life or How a helpless Staffy inspired Emma to set up Dogs4Rescue.