A rescue dog found close to death and weighing just 3kg has won a national prize in an RSPCA dog show.
Staffordshire bull terrier Buddy, one of whose owners works in Corby, is now a happy, healthy pet – and weighs more than five times his rescue weightof 17kgs.
His incredible transformation from dying dog to beloved pet saw him become the winner of the Best Transformation category in the RSPCA competition Ruffs.
The nine-month-old Buddy was found by Nicola Owst, 31, abandoned and locked in a cage in a London suburb.
Nicola, a civil servant who lives in Leicestershire, said: “We had stopped by some waste ground because we were lost.
“I saw what I thought was a dead dog in a cage.”
Buddy was lying in his own mess, had severe demodectic mange which turned his coat pink, and weighed just 3kg.
Nicola said: “He couldn’t stand as the pads of his paws were so sore and because his muscles were so weak.
“I drove him 86 miles to the Town and Country Vets in Market Harborough, constantly checking he was alive along the way. The vet thought that Buddy had little chance, but I wanted to try.
“After lots of love and care, and more visits to the vets, my little boy pulled through.
“Buddy’s skin will never fully recover due to the severe neglect, but with a special diet, good flea treatment and a special shampoo, it has improved hugely. He now also weighs a healthy 17kg.”
Lucky Buddy, aged about eight, now lives happily with Nicola and husband Jon.
Nicola said: “One of Buddy’s favourite things is going for outings in the car.
“I’m convinced his love of the car comes from the very first day I took him from that horrible place – the car was Buddy’s escape.”
The RSPCA scours Britain to find the happiest and healthiest dogs of all types for its annual Ruffs competition.
This year the public voted online and selected just three canine winners across the UK – one of which was Buddy.
Lisa Richards, of the RSPCA, said: “We think dog shows should prioritise the health, welfare and happiness of dogs over their looks and that’s why we launched our alternative competition.”
Celebrating Buddy’s alternative dog show win, Nicola added: “Buddy is my best friend. A lot of people say how lucky Buddy is that I found him but really, I think I am the lucky one.”