A 4-year-old part-Beagle named Buddy who hung on for miles to the outside of an ambulance that had his owner inside is quickly becoming a viral star.
“His stardom has taken off tremendously, to say the least,” Brian Wright told ABC News.
It was Wright who first shared the story of Buddy’s heroic efforts to local media around the Mason, Texas, ranch where Buddy lives with his owner, J.R. Nicholson.
Nicholson, 85, was taken by ambulance late last month to Hill Country Memorial Hospital after complaining of dizziness.
Wright stayed behind to close up the ranch and noticed that Buddy was missing but, he says, had no reason to be concerned.
“Buddy is part Beagle and I never get too concerned when he’s missing because he always comes back,” Wright said.
When Wright arrived at the hospital a short time later, medical staff told him that Nicholson was stable and that Buddy was there at the hospital too.
“They told me they rode anywhere from 15 to 21 miles until a motorist flagged them down and told them there was a dog on the side of the ambulance,” Wright said.
The first responders pulled Buddy into the ambulance, where he rode the rest of the nearly one-hour drive to the hospital.
The road that Buddy traversed while hanging onto the ambulance included twists and hills, a bridge and a highway.
“Buddy was not injured,” Wright said. “That’s the only reason it’s such a good story.”
Buddy, whom Nicholson's daughter got him from a shelter four months ago, is used to riding along on utility vehicles around the ranch, according to Wright.
Those involved believe it was likely that familiarity with being on the road plus the sight of his beloved owner leaving that prompted Buddy to jump on the ambulance.
“I don’t think he wanted to leave his buddy, his best friend,” Wright said.
The story had an even happier ending because Nicholson was also able to leave the hospital that same day, with no complications.
Both owner and dog are now back at home and adjusting to life in the spotlight. The pair, along with Wright, was on their way back from a photo shoot when reached today by ABC News.
Wright says they hope their happy story inspires other people to do two things.
“Going to an animal shelter and helping a dog or thanking first responders because we think those are the most important things right now,” he said.