Cuddly toy helps ease widower Tony’s heartache

Tony Fletcher and his plush pal Bruno

Tony Fletcher and his plush pal Bruno - Credit: Archant

‘Bruno’s just company for when I’m driving’

Tony Fletcher and his plush pal Bruno

Tony Fletcher and his plush pal Bruno - Credit: Archant

IT might sound barking, but Bruno the pipe-smoking beagle is just the tonic to help ease widower Tony Fletcher’s heartache.

The Sidmouth pensioner adopted the cuddly canine as a travelling companion after his wife and pet dog died six years ago – and the pair are now inseparable.

Tony’s plush pal even joined him and his family for his 80th birthday celebrations.

Bruno has become a smash hit with residents, visitors, and even police who have spotted him strapped into the front seat of Tony’s car when it is parked around town.

“He must be the most photographed dog in Sidmouth,” said Tony. “I got him after my wife died shortly after my dog. My daughter Angela asked me why I didn’t get another dog, but I just couldn’t face the heartache.

“I live by myself and Bruno is just company for me when I’m driving.

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“If I pick people up, I say they will have to sit in the back because the dog is in the front!”

Tony, of Winslade Road, took Bruno along when his family treated him to a trip to O’Connors Campers in Okehampton for his 80th birthday recently.

Tony, who had owned a variety of VW campervans over the years, said he had had a ‘very nice’ day.