Saving Buddy is a book about a very special Staffie named Buddy and his owner Nicola Owst.
The story starts in 2009 when Nicola accompanied a friend to buy a foal.
They found the poor animal living on wasteland and as they left saw a dog in a crate.
It was Buddy. He’d been locked in and left to die, trapped without food or water and was wasting away.
Nicola saved him and he saved her too. It’s a beautiful story and even as I type now it’s through tears.
I spoke to Nicola for a feature on hero Staffies earlier this year after they were voted Britain’s Favourite Breed.
Buddy’s story was picked up by a newspaper then became a book and last weekend I was lucky enough to meet Nicola and Buddy.
To celebrate, I wanted to give a copy to a reader who owns a Staffie so I asked you lovely people to share your Staffie stories.
There are so many that when I met Nicola, I bought two more books and had them signed, so I could have three winners.
It has been so hard to choose but the winners are Claire Davis Eaton, Karen Brinkley Davis and Liz Mitchell.
But you blew me away, and in celebration of Buddy’s book I decided to share them all.
First up is Diesel who lives with Michelle Taylor and his brother Randall.
Michelle said: “Diesel is our lovely boy, he has been in four homes including the rescue and is the most loving boy.
“He suffers from separation anxiety because he has been passed around all over the place, but we’re working on that!
“He’s a mummy’s boy and we love him so much. Now we live near the sea and he is living his best life which is what he deserves.”
Next are Bo and Archer who are Staffie crosses and live with Georgina Murray.
Georgina said: “I am so proud of my two Staffie crosses Bo and Archer who are Therapy Dogs. Bo is the ginger ninja and had been in many homes before he was only one years old.
“He has been with me for 11 years and visits a prison as part of his volunteering. Archer has three legs and is a Staffie/Labrador cross.
“He was in rescue for over a year as he is black, a Staffie, and seen as disabled because of his leg. He doesn’t realise and loves charging around with the others.
“He visits people in the local hospice. They are lovely boys and I am so proud of them.”
Golden Oldie Grandad Zach lives with Emma Billington at Dogs4Rescue in Manchester.
Emma said: “This is our lovable oldie. Grandad Zach. He is about 14 years old, has doggie dementia, spondylitis, is nearly deaf, and has other age related problems.
“He is the happiest content soul you could ever meet. Everyone that meets him thinks he adorable, he makes everyone smile with his cheeky antics. He is also part of our rescue therapy dogs at Dogs 4 Rescue.
“As you can see he is wearing his super hero costume so he can help children and adults to feel better. In short our Zach is a smashing Staffie.”
Beautiful Bebe is a Staffie cross and lives with owner Sarah Marles
Sarah said: “I rescued Bebe at 18 months old, she’s such a beautiful girl. She’s so cuddly and well behaved – she’s the best dog ever!”
Prince’s proud mum Anne Stockwell says he’s a big softy.
Anne said: “There’s not a bad bone in Prince’s body – he’s scared of spiders and mice! He has a lovely, kind nature and he loves everyone. I’d be lost without him, he’s my best friend.”
Ozzy Beowulf lives with Gianinna Adriana Ferreira.
Gianna said: “We enjoy going to classes and shows with Ozzy, he brings so much joy and enthusiasm to everything we do – even if we’re just staying at home or relaxing with another dog he’s the light of the party.
“Whenever we’re on public transport he snuggles up next to me, and strangers always end up smiling. I’d say alongside his step dog sister Nikita Wulfia he’s the happiest dog.”
Lola-Magnolia started life in a puppy farm but now is in a happy home with Dorothy Elen.
Dorothy said: “Sadly Lola-Magnoloa was a breeding machine before being left at a rescue with a false history.
“When we rescued her we made sure to give her a loving home, she’s never barked. We take her to shows and recently she came second best at a local charity rescue show.”
Sarah Neil says her girl Minnie is so loving.
She explained: “I hate the fact that the Staffie breed gets a bad name – it’s the owners not the dogs who are to blame.
“Minnie is an amazing dog, she’s very loving and loyal and she adores everyone. She just wants to be close and have love all the time.”
Ruby Red sadly had to be put to sleep at 14 due to ill health but is always in Vicky Lou Armstrong’s heart.
Vicky said: “My heart is broken after losing Ruby Red, I miss her everyday. Before she passed away we won second, first and best in the show at a dog competition.
“She was such a beautiful girl and was truly my best friend – bringing me so much happiness.”\
Mar Kartr lives with Staffie Flynn and says he treasures every moment they share.
Mar said: “We hand raised Flynn from birth, he’s almost 13 now, he’s our third son and he’s my baby. This picture shows him with mum and dad (mum is the brindle pillow).
“I treasure every minute with him – he brings me so much joy.”
Former stray Max lives with Paula and she thanks him for saving her.
Paula said: “Some people rescue dogs but Max rescued me, and he rescues me every day. We think that he was a bait dog as a puppy and he ended up on the streets.
“Thankfully he lives with us now and his fursister who’s also a rescue dog. He’s always so happy and brings so much fun to life, there’s not a day that goes by where he doesn’t make me smile and laugh – he’s the best!”
Poppy has supported her human Clare Davis Eaton through cancer.
Clare said: “I’ve just been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, which I have been through once already. But I know my best friend Poppy will be there for me through it, as she has been before.
“I would be lost without her, she brings me peace, laughter, warm snuggles and the trust I have for her compares to nothing else.
“I’d say we are like a jigsaw puzzle that fits perfectly. She makes me feel safe, and I know that with both my human and fur family I will be okay.”
Angela Hodson says her boy Milo is a real gentleman.
Angela said: “My rescue dog Milo couldn’t harm a fly – he’s scared of his own shadow! I really love him so much – he’s my world.”
Sarah Ann Nicolson found that rescue dog Izzy helped improve her mental health.
Sarah said: “When I first got Izzy I was really struggling with my mental health, but she gave me a new lease of life and everyday I feel grateful to have her beautiful face in my life.
“We have such a good connection, she understands me like no one else – I describe her as the love of my life.
“Whilst walking one day a man approached us and described her as a ‘lover not a fighter’, I wish that more people could understand Staffies like this – they are such an incredible breed.”
Sadie has had Dahlia since she was seven weeks old from an owner who couldn’t wait to get rid of her.
Sadie said: “Dahlia’s previous owner said to me ‘the sooner you take her the better, it’s one less mouth to feed’ so at seven weeks old she was home with me.
“In February she will be three and it’s been a crazy adventure! At nearly 10 months old she was rushed in for emergency surgery due to the infection Pyometra.
“Luckily just like Nicola (Saving Buddy author and owner) I knew the signs and got all the information I could from researching online.
“It was horrendous, but luckily she’s here today and crazy as ever – bringing me so much love. I love Nicola’s book and I can’t put it down – I’ve cried and laughed and related to Buddy so much.”
Karen Brinkley-Pearce is proud owner of Reggie.
Karen said: “Reggie is a rescue dog and he thrives in our ‘mad’ house. He licks our bunnies, rounds up the chickens for bedtime and protects them from Mr Fox.
“He’s a huge part of our family and is a loving character. Reggie snuggles up to me at bed time when it’s cold and helps me care for my disabled sister, giving her gentle love and attention.
“He’s a show off when it comes to tricks and makes everyone laugh. There’s not a person Reggie meets who he isn’t loving towards!”
Jacky Hathaway lives with Spuddy who they rescued from a horrid start in life.
Jacky said: “We bought Spuddy from a dirty flat in Coventry when she was just four months old, she stunk of urine and I felt so sorry for her.
“When we got her home we bathed her and took her to get checked at the vets. She’s a huge part of our family six years on and she’s even adopted a kitten that was found in a friends shed.
“She’s taken to motherhood very well and cleans the food and milk off the kitten’s face – it’s adorable to see!”
Yentl-Rose Hayter is owner of Arlo who she’s had from seven years old.
Yentl-Rose said: “I got Arlo after losing my previous Staffy Hatton in a relationship breakdown. Arlo’s mum gave up feeding him so from three weeks old I bottle fed him everyday at the breeders house.
“At seven weeks old he came home with me and we’ve been inseparable ever since. He even comes to work with me as I volunteer for Staffie and stray rescue in Bournemouth helping dogs find forever homes.
“I truly believe that Staffies are the most misunderstood breed – in my opinion they’re the best dogs around!”
Duke faced being put to sleep before finding a happy home with Kayla.
Kayla said: “I ended up adopting Duke after I fell in love with him during fostering.
“He was sadly on the put to sleep list, but thankfully I took him into my home where he became my best friend and supplied me with endless amounts of cuddles.”
Puppy Dave is settling in to his new home with Laura Kate.
She said: “Dave is now 13 months old and we’ve had him a month. He’s gorgeous and loves to snooze on the sofa.”
Liz Mitchell is the proud owner of Loulou who was badly treated previously leaving her stressed.
Liz said: “I’ve had Loulou for six years. We rescued Loulou at eight years old, and the vet had to cut off half of her tail because she’d chewed it due to stress.
“She’s also totally deaf because she’d banged her head against some railings as a result of stress and it perforated her eardrums.
“Loulou is the softest and most adorable, caring dog I’ve ever had – I’m so glad she’s now safe and happy with us.”
Jennifer Tudor loves her pup Ixx who doesn’t let being deaf stop him enjoying life.
Jennifer said: “Ixx is nine years old but he still acts like a pup, even being born deaf has never bothered him.
“He gives endless, unconditional love everyday without fail and with just a wag of his tail he can make any sadness I’m feeling disappear.”
Zoe Oughton says her dog Oscar’s tail never stops wagging!
Zoe said: “We think that Oscar is Staffie crossed with a chocolate Labrador. When I went to view the puppy pen Oscar came running up to me and licked my arm all over – so he definitely chose me!
“Following this I adopted him and brought him home at seven weeks.
“Now he’s 11 years old and every single day he greets me with a waggy tail, a head tilt and his beautiful Staffie smile. I can never get mad at him when he looks at me with those puppy dog eyes – even when he chews the post!”
Alison Watkins rescued Daina five years ago.
Alison said: “Staffies are the most loving and friendly breed I know – the bad name that they get isn’t true.
“After rescuing Daina five years ago she’s become everything to me, she’s my best friend and listens to me, showing me nothing but love and kindness.”
Taz holds many special memories for owner Susan Margie.
Susan said: “My heart still aches for Taz, after losing her a year ago. We were her third home but she became part of the family right away, she showed us nothing but loyalty and love.
“Our children were scared of all dogs before her arrival, but she was brilliant and taught them to love all dogs too. I believe that Staffies are the most beautiful and wonderful dog breed.”
Mia is a Staffie crossed with a Jack Russell and lives with Sarah Lockie.
Sarah said: “Mia will be three in November, we took her from a pair of older owners at six months old as they were worried she would nip their grandchildren due to her playful nature.
“We’ve had no trouble with her and we wouldn’t be without her, she’s playful and looney but that’s why we love her!”
Sam Buckland’s rescue dog Beth inspired her pet business.
Sam said: “Beth inspired me to go forward with my holistic therapy business because she suffered from separation anxiety.
“My favourite thing about her is that she thinks outside the box, after teaching her to fetch the post now she fetches whatever random items she can including slippers, socks, pieces of paper just so that she can have a treat! She brings me so much joy.”
Bella loves cleaning up in the kitchen for her human Kerry Green!
Kerry said: “Bella’s grey beard gives away her age – she’s 12 years old. She’s’ best friends with my cat even though she hates to share the bed.
“Apart from smelly pumps she’s perfect! Her greedy nature, licking crumbs of the kitchen floor means that my kitchen is always clean too!”
If you’d like to see the first interview we did with Nicola, you can read How Buddy The Abandoned Staffy became a Crufts Champion.
Thank you so much to everyone who took part, and if you didn’t win but would like to order a copy of the book then visit Amazon* Saving Buddy, Nicola Owst.
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