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Paddington

Paddy died on September 5th, 2019. Born May 19th, 2008. We got him Labor Day weekend 2008. A month before we met him at a pet store in Springfield, PA. We couldn’t afford him. We had two mortgages. A month later the best start to a Labor Day weekend ever was Bria, “Let’s call that pet store to see if they still have him. —– Yup. They have him.” What? And he’s half-price! Now I wouldn’t name a price I wouldn’t pay for a few more years with him.

Young Paddy and Matt Collage

My dog Paddy is the happiest soul I ever met. 

Soul is a complicated word I don’t quite understand but the essence of Paddy is a big muppety smile.

They say you have a good relationship when the ratio of good feedback to bad feedback is 5:1. 

With Paddy the ratio of “good dog” to “bad dog” was 1000:1. 

He knocked over one glass his whole life. 

He grounded himself the handful of times he relieved himself in the house after he was a puppy. 

We always had to bring him upstairs reminding him he was a “good boy”. 

We thought we could lay down a string to make a box around him to keep him confined to one place. 

He did not like barriers. 

  • “Move those pillows a little please”
  • “That remote is on the middle of my couch please”
  • “Your glass might have 10% chance I’ll knock it over if I come closer please”
  • “Your shoes are in the way of my couch-jump please”

He wasn’t happy when we got hardwood floors. 

He’d move his feet like The Road Runner without moving an inch. 

Sometimes he’d hold himself standing in place with all his might waiting for a treat, then just slide down the floor when he couldn’t hold himself up any longer. 

I will miss him sniffing grass, sniffing flowers, sniffing sticks, trees, cones, dirt, pavement every six inches on his walks. When I asked him to move, it didn’t matter.  We had a deal.  Walks were his time.  I never pulled him.  He never pulled me…unless he smelled something good. 

Bros forgive. Bros forget. 

I will miss him attacking sticks as if the rest of the world disappeared like when my mom would talk on the phone oblivious to dinner burning. 

I will miss coming home every night and he’d give me his look that says, “We’re going out right? Ball time.  Sprint time.  Bro time.  Please.”

Of course we’re going outside buddy.  Five sprints chasing the ball as far as my girly-man arm could throw.  Maybe 50 yards.  Less when he got older.  But he never slowed down.  Sprints, then inside for a minty bone on his rug.  Every night.  Like clockwork.  Eleven years. 

I won’t miss telling him “It’s raining, buddy.  Tomorrow night.”  

Paddy: “But I like mud, big one.”

Bria named us “big one” and “small one” in Paddy’s eyes. “The ‘big one’ is walking you today, Paddy.”

Paddy’s been with us the whole time we lived on Radcliffe Court.  Technically we figured it’s his house. He’s used it more than us.  We go to work. 

Paddy’s work is keeping us happy.  He was the best at his job.

Our couch was his bed. He owned it more than us.  We’d apologize when we stayed up too late on his bed.

When we’d take vacation at home, we felt bad he was so tired from monitoring us.  He got his vacation when we went back to work. 

I’ll miss filling up his power meter every night.  One hour of love minimum, please. 

I would like to watch you eat dinner. 

I would like some scraps. 

I hyperventilate for chicken  

I sit nice for cheese. 

I wag my tail for treats. 

After dinner, I’d like my food please. 

I’d like a bucket of water. 

Then more love until I’ve had my fill. 

I’m older now and I’d like you to rub my chest to burp me. 

Otherwise, I won’t digest my meal and I might vomit. 

You don’t like vomit.

I don’t like vomit.  

I don’t like grounding myself. 

Burp me, please. 

I need a little more love after that. 

Maybe I’ll lay next to you on the couch. 

Maybe I’ll only stay for ten minutes because I’ve had my fill of love, my power meter is full, and you’re laying on MY bed!

Fine, I’m laying on the floor and yes I huffed like a dragon annoyed you’re still on MY bed. 

Bria said Paddy needed three things in life.

  1. Love
  2. Water
  3. Food

In that order. 

I will miss comparing you to different animals. 

  • Huffing like a dragon 
  • Stretching like a lion
  • Cleaning yourself like a cat
  • Cleaning plates like a pig
  • Saying “hallo” like a human

Paddy was a big muppet, our Fozzy Bear. He flopped his way happily through life. 

I will miss you looking your eyes up from under the dinner table.  Any food yet, please?

I will miss watching you finding your voice after we trained you not to bark much.  You’d howl quiet like a baby wolf.  Then you’d growl just a little under your breath at delivery men.  Or say “hallo” to greet the landscapers in the morning as they said “what the hell? did that dog just say ‘hello’ to me??”

I will miss you chasing bunnies in your sleep, whiskers flailing, feet scratching, voice squeaking. 

I will miss the years of you snorting outside our bedroom door to wake us up. “I’m ready for my walk now PLEASE. What’s taking so long?”

I will miss you bashing your pointy Triceratops head to open our bathroom doors looking at us saying “What?” 

I will miss you running figure-eights in the snow, more excited than a kid chasing the ice-cream-man.

I will miss how good you were with children. Animals or adults always saw a muppet jumping to greet them. Not babies. You sat. You got low to their level. You sniffed. You licked. That is all. “This baby is good. Keep it safe. Please don’t grab my butt fur again, baby Ryan. I didn’t mean to almost catapult you across the room. I just. I just. I’m sorry.”

I will miss that time you were so happy to chase a ball that you followed another dog sprinting off a mini-cliff into the Brandywine River not knowing there was water below, not knowing how to swim, looking back at us with fear in your eyes saying “What have I done?  Help me.  Please.”

I will miss taking you to Oehocking for a long walk and sometimes sharing a cheese danish under the sunset. 

I will miss that time I drove you to the park in my convertible with your head bobbing to Coachella, the only time you seemed to enjoy riding in a car.  One time.

I will miss all the cars in our development slowly pulling up beside us on our walks and when the windows rolled down we saw people with a giant smile and a look on their face that said “is that dog real?” like we said to ourselves every day when we woke up. I will not miss that they’ve all gotten their own doodles now.

I will miss the old grandmom pulling up beside me after you went blind thinking she was going to complain about you walking off the leash and she slowly rolled down her window, “Ya know, you have the nicest dog in the whole development.”

I will miss training you when you were a “little boo” as Bria says. It was so easy. You were so good. 

I will miss that day you finally seemed to meditate just like me last year instead of forcing me to open my eyes meditating while you roamed the neighborhood off your leash ignoring my blind calls to come back. We never had a meditation deal. 

I will miss that you needed us to stand behind you to walk up stairs from the outside. And eventually, you got so scared inside that you needed this too. 

I will miss you getting old so fast, still happy to the last day, wagging your tail whenever someone new showed up, still chasing balls at full speed, catching them in the air with half an eye.

I will miss that day when after Bria installed runner carpets on our stairs just to make your life easier after two years of you slip-sliding on hardwood floors. What I’ll miss the most is that you walked down the outside hardwood part of the stairs instead of the carpet because you didn’t know what to do and you were scared. You learned but you were so funny and peculiar and sweet. 

I will miss bawling my eyes out while I write this if only because you were still alive oblivious to the issues ahead of you, still flopping happily in the yard, sprinting like a horse for your orange ball, ripping apart a nice big stick I laid out just for you, sniffing up at the air like our own Snoopy, and sharing my pistachios. 

I will miss you Paddy, maybe the best marriage counselor me and Bria could ever hope for. Every relationship has dark days and during our darkest you were the bond between us. You kept us strong.

Together. 

We could never be that sad or mad around you. 

Paddy in three words.

Pure. 

Love. 

Happiness. 

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Paddy, you lived in the moment. 

You smelled like I would see, at least back when I could see good. 

Paddy, you taught us when to pet you. I might miss that the most. Remembering the night I told Bria, “You know that thing he does when he gestures at us with one paw and then we always pet him because it’s so funny.  He trained us to pet him on-demand.” 

What a dog. 

What a life. 

What a loss. 

What I’d like now is to do it all over again.  From the beginning. 

I guess you can do that with dogs.  Almost.

Everyone’s dog is the best dog. 

And maybe my next one will be too. 

But I’m pretty sure Paddy set the standard.

To the best dog of my life,

“Good boy.”

Paddy staring at the house

Check out more Paddy photos and videos on his Paddington Bear Dog Facebook page. Share a Paddy memory if you have one.