The above photographs are of a particularly fine looking Spanador (Labrador/Spaniel) called Paddy. Apparently, had things turned out differently, I may never have found my home here. What a sobering thought! This then is the story of Paddy…
Some time before my existence was known about, by either the Boss or any of her fast expanding family, the Boss took in a young stray. This young stray, apparently found lost and alone, close to the Boss’s office, caused her colleagues to drool and coo over him. To cut a shaggy dog story short, he spent a couple of weeks at the Dog Warden’s Quarters, during which time he remained unclaimed. Hearing this, the Boss was persuaded, against her better judgement, to give him a home and shelve plans to look for a cute, cuddly, golden puppy, like me for the time being.
By all accounts, this dog, who arrived on St Patrick’s day and was duly christened ‘Paddy’, charmed the whiskers off all but Keano. For the greater part of his first day, he was the epitome of doggy niceness. The Boss began to think he might actually fit in and even Keano enjoyed racing round the garden with him and having a rough and tumble to boot. A slight concern was raised when Paddy growled menacingly at dinner time, guarding his dish by barking continually as he ate. The Boss had been warned of this behaviour and was sure it would get better once Paddy was settled.
If the Boss had harboured any doubts, they were swept away the next morning when Paddy, who liked to follow his nose, followed his nose out of the gate and managed to get himself lost. The Boss was beside herself. After all, she’d only agreed to look after the poor little fellow yesterday and now she’d lost him. Fortunately, Paddy was found by a kindly neighbour and taken to the local Vet, which happened to be the very Vet that the Boss always takes her four legged friends to. Hence, the Boss and Paddy were reunited and, as they were both at the Vet’s, Paddy received his vaccinations and was ‘chipped’ all in one go. The Boss was relieved to have found him, even though she was relieved of quite a bit of cash to boot. Home the pair came where everybody made him welcome a second time.
Then, it happened. Dinner time! Suddenly, this black, silky, long bodied, big headed charmer turned into the Devil incarnate. Keano stared in amazement as Paddy’s dish hit the floor. All pretence at niceness vanished as Paddy growled and barked menacingly, through every mouthful. The Boss decided to feed Keano separately (good move). From this moment on, Paddy proved himself to be affable and cute during the day but bad tempered and downright scary during the evening. His behaviour was tolerated for several days, partly because of his earlier disappearance and partly because the Boss had engaged an animal behaviourist to come and see him the following week. It was not long before the Boss and the family began to notice how Keano preferred to hide behind the sofa when Paddy entered a room and how Paddy tended to guard everything, especially the Dave man who everyone knows belongs to Ol’ Keans! “Something isn’t quite right… he needs some training,” Keano heard them agree. Then it was all charm and tail wags for the next day. If anyone could break your heart with a plea for a cuddle it was Paddy. Keano was not fooled. Clearly something had to be done!
Sadly, two things had to happen to make the family realise that this was no place for the Jekyll and Hyde of dogs. The first came one evening when Keano was minding his wn business, waiting for the Dave man to finish carving the family’s joint and keeping a very low profile, all things considered. Paddy appeared from nowhere, lunged at Keano, snarling and snapping. Too late, the Zoe human realised she was in the way and as the two dogs snapped and snarled around her legs, Keano trying to avoid Zoe of course, she was forced to leap up onto the work surface, legs dangling dangerously. Paddy ignored her presence completely and with a final and, dare I say, extremely painful lunge, sank his teeth into Keano’s chest and ripped out a chunk of hair leaving a bald patch to rival Kojack. Now, if you have ever heard a grown dog cry, you will be able to imagine how much that hurt. Mind you, Keano says that once the initial shock was over, it was almost worth it to have all those humans fussing over him and to see Paddy banished to the garden while they discussed whether to buy him a gold medallion or a fur patch to cover the bald spot. I must say, I would have favoured the gold medallion myself. Neither were forthcoming it seems.
The second incident occurred the following evening when the Boss was telling the Dave man that she thought we would need to part with Paddy, however sad it made her (The Boss has a soft spot reserved just for us canines). The Dave man was unsure and to be honest, Paddy had been so well behaved all day, wrapping his silky limbs round the Boss’s neck and dropping toy after toy into her lap wagging his tail madly, I can hardly blame the Dave man’s indecision. Even Keano found himself playing with him despite his recent injury. Then, in walked one of the Boss’s daughters. This particular little human left us some time ago apparently, and pops in from time to time as humans seem to do. Keano was particularly pleased to see her and made sure he made the most of his newly acquired status of ‘long suffering, wonderful dog’, showing off his bald patch shamelessly and enjoying the ensuing noises of shock and accompanying cuddles that came his way. No one but Keano noticed how the four legged newcomer’s expression changed when he noticed this new human. The Boss’s daughter bent to fondle the devil dog’s head whereupon, his head snapped back and he sank his teeth into her hand, drawing blood! Never, in his life had Keano been so dumbfounded. I mean to say, we all know that a dog may snarl and growl if his bone is about to be removed but to bite the hand that feeds you as it were? That is a definite ‘no no’. To make matters worse, later that evening Paddy bit the Dave man too.
Everything happened very quickly after that. Keano endured one more night sharing the kitchen with Paddy – who was strangely subdued once the lights went out. The very next day, the Boss tearfully said ‘goodbye,’ as Paddy was led off in disgrace to Doggy Borstal with the promise of a new home awaiting him after re-training.
Thus ends the story of Paddy – but not quite. Some amazing news reached us recently when the Boss and her cohorts enquired after his welfare. It seems Paddy responded so well to initial training, that he was picked for an advanced course and is now training to be a sniffer dog. Our Paddy will be working at the London Olympics, under the assumed name of ‘Sammy’, sniffing out drugs and explosives in 2012. Well, who would have thought it? Here’s to Paddy Power!
Flossie (4 months and 3 weeks) A.K.A Puptales