CATAWBA CO., NC (WBTV) - According to the census, more than 1,360 people live in Claremont.
And according to those people, most everyone loves Buddy.
The golden-haired terrier mix appeared at least 7 years ago, according to most estimates.
The streets of downtown Claremont are his home and he belongs to no one.
"Everybody loves Buddy, he's just the best little dog," said Debbie Kessler, the town's dog groomer.
Kessler is one of several people in the town who keep the wayward dog fed several times a day.
"Buddy comes every morning and every evening. He gets half a pound cheeseburger. Plain with cheese on both sides on the meat. Hardees knows it,
they know me by name," Kessler said.
Buddy makes his way around to local restaurants including Hardees and Claremont Café. He also has dog bowls at dozens of homes around the town.
Two churches set up dog houses near their sanctuaries to make sure Buddy has a warm place to stay.
So why doesn't the dog that captured so many hundreds of hearts have a home? Because no one can capture him.
"For years, the 'dog catcher' has tried to catch him. He escapes every time," said local Teri Miller.
No one can really even get close enough to Buddy to capture him, but that doesn't stop him from getting so close to their hearts.
"He's our town mascot," said Kessler.