by Jen
(Chagrin Falls, Ohio)

Paddy, my love

Paddy, my love

Paddy was my first Bichon Frise. Although "Paddy" is usually a male's name, it was a girl dog. She was supposed to belong to my brother Alan, but when Paddy was one year old, Alan left for college.

By the time Paddy was three, we were best friends and practically inseparable.

One of my favorite memories was in 1996. I spent four months in Mexico City through a study abroad program. I had never been separated from Paddy for so long, and of course I couldn't explain to her that I would be back.

I flew in after dark just a few days before Christmas. I hid beside the van and watched Paddy greet my mom and dad. I quietly walked up behind her and whispered, "Paddy!" I swear Paddy did a triple take!

All at once, she started barking, running around, crying, and trying to lick me. I was crying and laughing at the same time, while trying to catch my little best friend. I think the greeting I received lasted about an hour; Paddy celebrating that I came back to her. Eventually she calmed down enough that I could pick her up and give her kisses. For the next several days, she wouldn't let me out of her sight. If I moved an inch she was on her feet watching me.

My brother died in November of 1999. Paddy may not have completely understood what was going on, but I saw a different dog in the days following my brother's death. She knew we were sad.

My Paddy died Nov 14, 2000, of doggy breast cancer. I am grateful she was really sick for only 4 days. She died about 20 minutes after one of my other brothers arrived home. He held my hand while I held Paddy's paw and watched her die. I am absolutely convinced that my brother (who died 50 weeks before Paddy) was her angel. Even almost 13 years later, I still love her so much and miss her every day.

I now have another Bichon puppy. I hope Paddy is okay with the fact that I have a new dog. No matter how many dogs or cats I have (I have 3 cats now, and adopted a cat 2 weeks after Paddy died), they will never "replace" Paddy.

I could never not have at least one animal and my puppy is being trained to be a service dog. Paddy will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart.


Dear Jen,

The picture of Paddy is adorable! And I couldn't agree with you more that each pet we have is an individual and just like brothers and sisters, they are irreplaceable - but that doesn't mean we can't love another. Life would be empty without them.

I can't imagine Paddy being mad at you. But I can imagine her acting like she did when you came home from Mexico when she spots you at Rainbow Bridge. :)

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