AN unlikely friendship between Rufus the bullock and a student has had a heartwarming ending - with it leading to Rufus being spared the slaughterhouse.

Anna Ahuja helped save the animal on behalf of her son Ashwin, who was completing his Masters at university and struck up an unusual friendship with the bull during lockdown, which Ashwin was spending alone.

He came across ‘Rufus,’ a young bullock being reared for beef, during daily lonely walks through a local field.

Ashwin said: “It was very easy to from an attachment with Rufus. We soon started to look out for each other and say hello. He was the one in the herd who would come over and enjoy a fuss. During lockdown, like so many people I had a solitary existence which started to get me down. Seeing Rufus coming over to say hello lifted my spirits and made me smile.”

Mrs Ahuja asked if Goodheart would provide Rufus with a home if she could make appropriate arrangements with the farmer; and both the farmer and the animal sanctuary agreed.

So now he and will spend this Christmas and the rest of his life at the aptly-named Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries, in Worcestershire.

Rufus is now alive and well at Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries and Ashwin can’t wait to visit him, once Covid restrictions are lifted.

“Once we heard the story of Rufus, we could not wait to welcome him to our sanctuary,” said founder Dwynwen Jones.

‘While I wish we could offer a home to so many more farmed animals and ultimately save them from slaughter, having Rufus here as part of our rescued herd, will help us tell the story of farmed animals in the UK; and with a personality like his, help us reflect how these ‘food animals’ are all individual, sentient beings.”