This big eejit has been with us every step of the way. Hard to believe Paddy is six today for he has no more sense now than the day Gill and I picked him up as a ball of fluff from the breeder just outside Glasgow.
Indeed, he was the first baby in the house, he’s helped us through the lot; miscarriages, births, deaths; bad times, sad times but plenty of good times. And as I sit writing this post, birthday boy is soaking wet and lying at my feet – and he stinks! He’s just back from a run out along Newcastle beach towards Murlough and if there’s water, Paddy will find it.
We grew up with retrievers, I think they are a cracking breed to be around kids. My brother and I had Sandy and Bracken growing up, both were useless around water, just didn’t fancy it.
So, in my wisdom, when Paddy came along, I said to Gill: “I’ll get Paddy used to the water good and early.” Stints down at Troon beach saw the fluffy one dabble with the sea, getting his paws wet along the water’s edge. Months later we progressed to throwing sticks.
All well and good, but what happens when they keep on swimming out to sea? There comes a pivotal moment. “Jaysus, he’s not coming back. What do we do? Seriously, he’s still only a pup – and thick as champ.”
Nothing else for it, run headlong into the sea, fully clothed like a maniac to grab a water baby golden retriever, whose next stop was Arran had he not been grabbed by one clumsy, wet owner.
Kid you not. And icing on the cake was Gill laughing on the beach with a look and a stance only she could give that said, “I told you this would happen!”
No matter, we laugh about it and to this day, he’s still a bo**ox to get out of the water.
These days he’s best mate to Conor. The wee lad clambers all over him yet Paddy barely batters an eye. He likes nothing better than getting out for a good, long walk. He’s at his finest at full tilt, ears pinned back and galloping past with that dopey smile on his face.
Happy birthday Paddy – best trip to Glasgow we ever made!