Patty. That was the name of our first dog. He came to us by accident or should I say by surprise. A friend had to travel at a very untimely period-his dog was pregnant and was due in a few weeks. My husband being a vet had taken care of many dogs in the past and so he accepted the responsibility and our friend knew his dog was in safe hands.
When Rocksy (the pregnant dog’s name) went in labor we helped her deliver six lovely German Shepherd puppies. We took care of the puppies in the weeks that followed, and were delighted by one particular puppy. We could tell he was the leader among his siblings because they would all follow his lead. German Shepherds are born with droopy ears which later perk up. Naturally, Patty’s ears were the first to stand erect on his head, an achievement which further cemented his position as the best puppy in Rocksy’s litter.
When our friend came back, he was happy with the work we had both done for him. He was happy that both his girl and the puppies were in good health. He asked us to keep one puppy, and we of course chose Patty.
Patty’s bark was authoritative and he was loved and respected by our neighbors and relatives. He was everyone’s darling. His black and tan coat, massive build and amicable temperament made sure everyone fell in love with him on first encounter.
My nephews would visit us just to take him for walks and play with him. There had never been trouble in any of these incidents, so we didn’t think twice when one October evening they asked to walk our pet.Two hours later when the boys had not come back, we started to worry. One hour later, we decided to call.
They said they were at a vet’s because Patty had collapsed when they were at the park. We drove hastily to the vet’s, but we were too late. What had happened to our dog? He had been healthy when he and the boys left. He had been healthy the whole of the previous month. In fact, Patty had never had any health issues. He had only gone to the vet’s for his routine checkup and for his vaccination.
It turns out, he had food poisoning. The boys refused to reveal it then but much later, after many months, they agreed to confirm the vet’s report. They had been careless and let Patty loose. He had wandered into the woods and when he came back to them, he had begun to behave weird. What he ate in the woods, we’ll never know.