Here is Paddy Malone…We got him as a 3 yr old when he needed a new home as his owners moved into the city. We’d not long lost our last Ridgeback to cancer and were still in mourning, (well some of us were) when we heard about this one. They dropped him off one afternoon and told us how sad they were to let him go but an apartment life is no life for a dog so big. They showed us how well trained he was and left with both of them dabbing at tears, telling us it was important to them they revisit and check he was happy, while we assured them of course they could. We never saw them again and wondered what vices this one might delight us with! His name was Laddie. We couldn’t ever imagine calling out “Here Laddie!” so went thru the names that rhymed. After Daddy, Saddy, Fatty & Baddy the obvious choice was Paddy and as everybody knows a good Irish name deserves a surname so the Malone quickly tagged on afterwards and on the whole has been a wonderful pet come guard dog… until we got Hens.
I could see his heightened alert signals. Ears and Tail up, eyes focused and drool from the closed mouth is a very good indication he sees something different to me when he sees the hens and I thought to myself I shall have to keep an eye on him.
SO we settled Holly, Molly & Houdini and awaited the arrival of Henny, Penny, Dot and Jenny to round out the egg laying responsibilities, but before the new girls even arrived, we were one down. I hadn’t quite latched the pen and Houdini, receiving that name for obvious reasons, slipped out the gap and was strutting her stuff in the morning as Paddy was released for breakfast. I wasn’t there but I can just imagine the wobbling fat bum and the shrieks as Houdini tried to get away would have been a temptation too great to ignore. Poor Houdini never stood a chance.
After promising 4 yr old Milan his chooks would be safe with me I felt sick as I sat down that day and wrote… I’m so sorry to tell you that Nanny didn’t latch the door very well and when Paddy came down for breakfast he wouldv’e seen Houdini running and thought she wanted to play. Paddy doesn’t know that big dogs can’t play with little hens and Im afraid he was too rough and Houdini has died. I have buried Houdini under my new Avocado tree so she can be compost and make the tree strong. I emailed my letter to Tara and hoped the news wouldn’t be too crushing for Milan, and Tara too as she really loved those hens, but she was a social worker and I knew she would break it to him gently. I waited for her reply.
She writes…”shit happens…I’ll tell him in the morning”
Everytime I think about that I can’t stop laughing. But its not so funny because one week later Stupid Fat Holly flys out of the coop, right into Paddy’s path who’s waiting like Mr Fox in Roald Dahl… I write to Tara again that evening with email heading ‘Shit Happens-Part Two’
Dear Milan….I am Sorry to tell you that Holly flew out of the coop today and Paddy tried to play with her like he did with Houdini and Im afraid I have had to dig another hole for another Avocado Tree so Holly can be compost too. We are putting gates up now so Paddy can’t go to the orchard at all so the hens should be safe now.
Tara Replies…One Chook dies-Shit Happens. Two Chooks die-You’re the shit!
Oooooooo…Straight to the point Tara…cuts like a knife Tara! But shes right. So I put their names up on the hen coop to remind me of their passing every day as I go down to feed them. We sort the gates and I dig another hole…Yep thats Paddy watching me and thats GrandPas spade.
H is the eighth letter in the alphabet. Not so lucky maybe!