I wrote a post last week about cat people and dog people (Cats & Dogs) in which I mentioned my parents’ gorgeous chocolate labrador, Paddy.
Sadly, Paddy passed away this weekend. He died on his 13th birthday – that’s age 91 in dog years.
Had we lost a human member of our family, we would be planning a funeral now. When a dog dies, there is no memorial service, flowers or wake to organise. Neighbours and family friends do not come over with frozen lasagna and drink tea with you, or wine.
There is not a place to go to pay your respects and share fond memories of his life.
Well, unless you have a blog.
Paddy was such an important part of our family that it does not seem right to let his life pass without telling at least a few people how wonderful he was and how much we loved him.
I was in my twenties when Paddy joined our family and I had long left home. I remember visiting him as an excitable young puppy, always nipping at my ankles and wanting to climb up onto my lap. I do not know much about training puppies, but apparently this kind of behavior should be actively discouraged.
‘Come and sit on my lap’ I would call out to him anyway and he would bound over, ears flapping, giant paws skidding on the laminate flooring.
Paddy was a very sociable dog and loved meeting new people. Whenever someone knocked at the front door, he’d stop whatever he was doing to run and greet them, tail wagging wildly, his entire body dancing. Instead of knocking on the door, I started to call his name through the letterbox ‘PAAAAAAADDY’ and watch him jump up and go berserk trying to find a toy to bring to me.
When the W.A.L.K. word was mentioned, he would spin on the spot, so beside himself with the thought of wide open spaces and off-lead workouts.
I am sorry that he died a virgin. Although, he tried it on with more bitches than a premiership footballer. He wasn’t particularly picky either, I guess he just wanted to get his first time over and done with. He’d practically drag one of us along the grass if he thought there was a chance of getting in on some action. Poor Paddy, he never did though. As an adolescent dog, he was so strong and I certainly did not have the upper body strength to hold him back on the lead when he sniffed out an opportunity to get jiggy with it.
I spent a lot of time with Paddy when I temporarily moved back home after returning from a 12-month working holiday in Australia. He also came to stay with me in the Maida Vale flat I shared with Courtenay. I remember being fast asleep and on feeling something wet on my face, I opened my eyes to find Paddy’s face right up next to mine, tongue poised to lick me again. His morning breath left a lot to be desired.
His happiest days were by far the ones spent on the beach at Woolacoombe in Devon. He liked to run free, feel the sand between his paws and the fresh air in his coat. He played chase, he caught sticks and he swam.
It is most likely that his ashes will be scattered on Woolacoombe beach after his cremation.
May you rest in peace my darling Paddy and may there be lots of beaches and bitches for you in doggy heaven.
Do you have any find memories of a pet you’d like to share?