A local man, who for years visited area nursing homes with his beloved blue heeler dog, Buddy, is back on the road.

Billy Hamilton lost Buddy, a 16-year-old blue-heeler mix, back in March and it was quite a blow.

Lots of people, Hamilton said, remembered Buddy, and one family in particular had fond memories of the dog’s uncanny ability to cheer people up in the nursing home.

That family’s patriarch was one of the people that Buddy and Hamilton visited. The nursing home resident had a dog of his own and when the resident died, that dog needed a new owner.

The family thought first of Hamilton, but he was still grieving for Buddy.

Hamilton said it took him a while before he was even able to think about stopping by to visit with the dog that had been left without an owner. But when he did, he just knew he had found his new nursing home sidekick.

Lady, a red-heeler mix, is about seven years old and Hamilton said she immediately took to her new job like she had been born to it.

Now Hamilton and his new dog are right back at work bringing cheer and puppy love to residents at local nursing homes.