On the outside of the Academy of Fine Arts building on the Wellington waterfront, I noticed a few weeks ago a memorial to a dog, called Paddy the Wanderer. I was taken by the story, and felt it worth blogging about.
Paddy was the pet of a young girl whose father was a seaman and she would often take him to the wharves to meet her father returning. She died in 1928 of pneumonia and Paddy took to wandering the wharves, possibly looking for his mistress.
He became the adopted pet of the watersiders, the harbour board workers. the seamen and the taxi drivers. They fed him and paid his registration fees.
He got to travel around Wellington, the country and even overseas. Taxi drivers would drive him around Wellington and he travelled on boats to most ports around NZ, and even on occasion to Australia. He even got to fly in a gipsy moth.
The Wellington Harbour Board appointed Paddy Assistant Night Watchman, with responsibility for pirates, smugglers and rodents. They say he was a very intelligent dog who for example would not cross a street until the light turned green.
Paddy died in 1939 and had a fleet of black taxis with a Police escort carry his coffin, bringing Wellington to a standstill. During the dark days of the Great Depression, Paddy became loved by many Wellingtonians and many who were alive them have a story about him.
You can see a photo of him in this old Evening Post.