CLAREMONT, NC (WBTV) - "Buddy" belongs to everyone and no one at the same time. You could say he belongs to the entire town of Claremont in Catawba County. For at least 8 years, the dog has been roaming the streets evading every attempt at capture.
The whole town loves him. And the whole town was nearly frantic late last week when Buddy was attacked by two pit bulls and ran into the woods.
His usual routine stopped. Buddy was known to visit the same restaurants and shops every day to get his regular meal of cheeseburgers, with cheese on both sides of the meat. For 4 days, no one saw him. They feared the worst.
Wednesday afternoon, a group of residents who gathered to search for Buddy actually found him lying near town hall with serious injuries. A Facebook video shows Buddy on the ground almost looking desperate for rescue.
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The video also shows what might be the first time anyone has ever laid hands on the dog they love so much.
Buddy was taken to an animal emergency vet in Hickory where they're still working to assess the damage from the attack, as well as his general condition after living as a stray for so long.
Buddy's attack wounds were infected and all over his body. Vets say his liver and kidneys appear to be damaged but it's too soon to say if the damage is chronic, or as a result of the attack.
Crystal Hopson with Hartman's Haven Dog Rescue has assumed ownership of Buddy and agreed to pay his substantial medical bills. Vets are estimating Buddy's care might cost more than $6,000.
The group has set up a fund specifically to pay for Buddy's care. If you'd like to help, click here.