It’s crystal clear that Avon Navigation Trust’s newest volunteer is loving his role… because his tail never stops wagging.
Rescue dog Buddy, a seven-year-old Staffie from Cheltenham Animal Shelter, plunged straight in to his duties of making everyone smile when they visit the Trust’s (ANT) Avon Lock in Tewkesbury.
Resident Lock Keeper Nic Lancaster and her artist husband Pete couldn’t be happier either.
“We’re so lucky to have him,” says Nic. “We fell in love with him immediately and we knew he’d enjoy sharing our (rather unusual) life here at Avon Lock.”
The happy Staffie, with long legs and a big heart, was resident at two different animal shelters before finding the perfect forever family, but it nearly didn’t happen.
“An important part of re-homing rescued pets is the home visit by a dedicated officer but on the arranged date… cue the Easter floods,” sighs Nic.
Both the Avon and Severn rose to such high levels that Avon Lock House was cut off from dry land for almost two weeks.
Determined to get Buddy home as soon as possible, the assessment went ahead and the couple passed.
“It was so embarrassing,” Nic recalls. “Pete had to bring the re-homing officer across the flooded drive in a rope ferry. Not the most dignified of arrivals. Thankfully the officer took it in good spirits.”
It got a tad tricky when the officer wanted to take photographs of the perimeter fence, to show that Buddy would be safe in an enclosed space. Luckily some of it was still visible above the waterline.
Buddy hails from the Leicestershire area but was relocated to Cheltenham Animal Shelter when he became depressed. Nic and Pete spotted him on the website.
“We’d been looking for the right dog for a long time and he quickly settled into lock life,” says Pete.
“His tail hasn’t stopped wagging since he arrived.”
Buddy also loves the water and the boats passing through the busiest ANT lock on the Avon. The challenge is keeping him on dry land.
“He’s always up for a boat trip with us,” reports Nic. “He likes people, he likes dogs and he just wants to be included in the fun.”
Both the Avon Navigation Trust (which also welcomes human volunteers) and Cheltenham Animal Shelter are small charities with a lot of work to do, if you would like any further information, please visit their websites: www.avonnavigationtrust.org and www.gawa.org.uk.
You can also catch up with Buddy’s and his owners’ work on Avon Lock’s Facebook page.