Anyone who has been into Podgy Paws will have come across Buddy – the giant canine manager of the shop!

He came to live with Peter and Chris Harper, the shop’s owners, after a rocky start in life.  Back in 2014, Buddy ended up in the care of Greyhound Gap, a charity which re-homes unwanted greyhounds and lurchers, after ending up in a stray pound.  Often dogs that end up in pounds face certain euthanasia, unless a rescue centre will take on the task of finding a new home.

Luckily Buddy was rescued by Greyhound Gap, Ali Packham, a Trustee tells his story: “Buddy isn’t quite a lurcher or a greyhound but rather more one of those ‘Ooops’ dogs that sometimes we just cannot turn away. For those who haven’t met him, Buddy is a Great Dane / Mastiff cross!”

“He quickly proved to be a popular addition to the kennels – a large, playful character in an equally large body!  What a great big softie, he loved all humans that crossed his path, in particular the children who visited with their parents.  We called him our ‘gentle giant’ but he’d clearly missed out some early important socialisation lessons.  With him being so large, this could have proved a nightmare. But we knew that in the right home, and with the right support, he would come on leaps and bounds. Everyone loved Buddy, it was impossible not to love him – he put a smile on everyone’s face and was such a happy go lucky lad.  He just needed to find the right match.”

This is where Peter and Chris come in. They had only just lost their beautiful big Boxer boy Suggs, who was the inspiration behind their business and they were not actively looking for another dog at that time.

But, one of their customers sent them a link to Buddy’s rehoming information, they read about him and he had them smitten. You could say he found them!  Following a successful home visit and subsequent meeting with Buddy himself, a match was made and the rest is history. Happy, happy days!

Ali continued: “Buddy couldn’t have found a more perfect home.  At Greyhound Gap we were delighted that our gentle giant was able to bag himself such a devoted couple and we love the updates we get of his adventures.”

Peter said: “What a marvelous job these rescues do. At the time I was really cut up about losing Suggs and wanted to take some time out. But on reading Buddy’s story, that in itself was fatal and I was immediately emotionally involved and before we knew it we found ourselves travelling south on the M6 to meet Buddy! Despite him having been in rescue for a number of months, they were very good and thorough in ensuring we were the right match for Buddy before we could adopt him. We love the big guy to bits and are grateful that he is in our lives”.


Greyhound Gap is based in the Midlands but is a charity that operates throughout the UK.

Most of its dogs come from stray pounds in the Midlands and surrounding areas, but when space allows they take dogs from all over Britain.

In 2015, Greyhound Gap had the most amazing opportunity to rent its own premises with an option to buy.  It still has a long way to go to raise enough money to be able to go ahead with the purchase, but having its own premises has quickly made an enormous difference to the dogs in its care.

Ali Packham, Trustee of Greyhound Gap, says: “The ability to now work more intensively with the more troubled dogs in a consistent and positive way is so rewarding as you see them flourish and start to realise what life is all about.

“Our biggest hurdle is maintaining funding and find new ways of raising funds in order to both continue what we do and to ultimately be in a position to proceed with the purchase.

“We have a network of amazing volunteers who foster, transport and generally aid our work throughout the UK.  We have regular volunteers who come to kennels to help with cleaning and dog walking.  Without our volunteers, what we do would just not be possible.

“We also work, where appropriate, with other similar rescues to ensure those dogs that are at risk can be placed in a safe environment.

“We are, in the main, a death row rescue helping to provide emergency placements for greyhounds and lurchers in local authority holding kennels at risk of euthanasia. If we can’t directly assist, we  make referrals or places sourced within other reputable organisations.

“All dogs entering our care are facilitated for as long as is necessary. Homing is via a network of sighthound experienced foster placements as well as our own kennels.

“All dogs entering our care as a matter of course receive vaccinations, kennel cough vaccinations, parasite treatment, micro-chipping, are spayed/neutered and receive a dental.  Should a dog arrive in our care with more serious veterinary needs these are addressed and all necessary treatment is funded.

“We operate a thorough vetting system including pre-adoption questionnaires, initial telephone discussion, home visit and careful introductions with potential adoption matches. Lisa, Gap’s founder, is extremely experienced and very gifted in making a perfect match!

“Follow up support is given post adoption and our ongoing support and advice is available throughout the dog’s life.”

If you would like to support Gap, there are many ways in which you can get involved regardless of where you are in the UK. If you would like to help or find out more please email

*This article has been taken from ‘Podgy Paws – Keswick Dog Friendly Guide’ which is available at the shop for £1 or by mail order for £2 by phoning the shop on 017687 73737*