Perfect Paddy

January 1, 2001– February 12, 2010






My second Paddy, Perfect Paddy, was a Rottweiler-Labrador mix, weighing in at one hundred pounds. She was the one dog I was able to keep after my divorce. There were times Paddy and Dancer, the new dog, would visit Phil and his girlfriend. I found this very convenient the Christmas of 2009. Paddy, however, did not do so well. Here is the back story of what could have happened that led her to lose the use of her legs.

Perfect Paddy’s Story

“Muggles! I’m back!” Paddy announced as she entered her former home.

“Whatcha been doing? What has been happening here? Look at my new friend, Dancer. He’s part of our pack, too. Yes, I know. But he’s young. Jude says he’s ‘exuberant’.”

Muggles led the small pack into the house.

“This is just like old times. Where do we sleep?” Paddy traipsed into the bedroom and automatically went to Jude’s side of the bed and lay down.

But it wasn’t Jude who climbed into bed. A strange woman came over. “Oh ho! Look who’s here. Come to visit with me, have you? That’s just great.” The woman reached down to pat Paddy on the head. Paddy was confused. She didn’t like this. She growled softly. “I don’t know you. You are in Jude’s bed. Stay away.”

“Phil!” the woman screamed. “That dog growled at me. Get her out of here!

“She’s OK. She’s just confused. She must have expected Jude.”

“Well, I’m not Jude. Get her out of here. This is my bedroom now.”

“Ok. OK. Come on, Paddy.”

Phil took Paddy by the collar and led her out of the room. He closed the bedroom door on her.

Paddy settled down outside the door. She didn’t understand why she was out here. The rest of the dogs were in the bedroom. She went to sleep.

In the middle of the night, a scream. “Phil! Get this dog out of here! I have to go to the bathroom. I’m not going to step over her. She’ll bite me! Make her move!”

Grumbling, Phil got out of bed. “Come on, Paddy,” he snapped and led her to the family room. “Stay there!” He took 2 kitchen chairs and blocked the doorway.

Paddy was confused. She was sorry she growled at the lady. What was she doing in Jude’s bed? Paddy had just told her to leave her alone. She wouldn’t hurt her.

Paddy settled on the carpet and went back to sleep.

In the morning there was a flurry of activity but no one came to let Paddy out. Shortly Phil and the lady drove off and Muggles and Dancer were outside.

As the morning moved on, Paddy had to pee. It had been all night and all morning since she had been outside. She pushed the chairs blocking the door, and they tumbled away. She went to sit by the front door. She barked. She barked again. No one came.

Muggles came to the outside of the door and said he had gone through the screen one time when he had to go. But now it was winter. There were no open windows.

Finally she couldn’t hold it any longer.

It was almost dark when Phil and the woman returned. Paddy met them at the door, wagging her tail. “I am so glad to see you! But I have to hurry outside.” She pushed past them and rushed outside to finish her toiletries.

From inside, she heard, “What the f- – -!” Phil had stepped in the puddle still not dry at the front door.

The next night and the following nights, Paddy was barricaded in the family room. She was never left there as long again and she didn’t pee in the house again.

But the lady didn’t like her.

“That’s Jude’s dog. Why did you tell her the dog could stay here? The little dog is OK but that Rottweiler doesn’t like me. She’s dangerous. I don’t want her around me.””Well, it’s winter. It’s minus 10 below. I can’t leave her outside.”

One night they forgot to lock up Paddy in the family room. At bedtime, Paddy entered the bedroom with Muggles and Dancer. She was looking around for where she should sleep when Phil came out of the bathroom. “Hey! Get out of here! I told you to stay out of the bedroom!”

Phil was between Paddy and the door. Paddy didn’t know what to do. She went into the little alcove off the bedroom and tried to hide under the desk but she was too big.

Phil went into a rage. “Get out of there! That’s my room!” The other dogs were terrified. Muggles had learned to stay away from Phil when he sounded like this. They cowered at the far side of the room.

“Get out of here!” Phil screamed again and picked up one of his heavy steel-toed boots.

He came after Paddy. He hit her with the shoe on the side of her head. Paddy yelped and scrambled to get out from under the desk. As she skittered past him, he hit her twice again with the shoe. Once in the middle of her back and once on her butt. She slid from the pain then gathered herself and kept going down the hall. She heard the bedroom door slam behind her. The walls shook.

She heard Phil yell at the woman, “Now are you satisfied?”

Continued from My Dogs And How They Shaped My Life:

I picked up Paddy and Dancer from my former home, now Phil and his girlfriend’s house. I waited at the gate for him to open the front door of the house to let my dogs out. Paddy and Dancer bounded to me and I too was oh-so-happy to see them. After a quick hello, Paddy went directly to the Subaru hatch back door. She was ready to go home.

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  • I planned to read the book slowly,

    one dog story at a time, but I got caught up in the author's life as it was weaved into the book. If you are a lover of animals, and especially dogs, this book is for you.

    - Marie A

    The stories were helpful to me.

    They made me self reflect and acknowledge grief I still hold. Then I got busy and applied the “dogged resilience” the author describes.

    - Ellen C

    The author is a strong woman.

    She faced many difficulties well. She inspires me to be strong, too.

    - Jen W

    It was a good read.

    Made me wish the author had more dogs so I could keep reading.

    - George K

    I couldn’t put it down!

    I was up until 2am.

    - Helen B