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Without registering Paddy, life is ruff

Without registering Paddy, life is ruff.

Museum of Wellington City & Sea
Queens Wharf
Thursday 5th December 9am

The Museum of Wellington City & Sea is hosting an animal gathering to register one of its most popular attractions, Paddy the Wanderer. Wandering into the Museum on Thursday 5 November at 9am is Senior Animal Control Officers, Vicki and Kate with their own pups. They join us with 17 students from Mercer School who’re coming to the Museum on an educational tour of Wellington’s unique history all the way from South Auckland.

In the 1930s Paddy the Airedale terrier became a Wellington waterfront identity. Originally called Dash, the pet of a girl whose father was a seaman, he became familiar with the wharves on family trips to meet the father's ships. When the little girl died of pneumonia in 1928 Paddy (as he became known) took to wandering the wharves, perhaps in search of his lost playmate.

A familiar sight on the wharves in the 1930s, he became a celebrity featuring in newspaper articles at the time. He was loved and cared for by watersiders and harbour board workers, seamen and taxi drivers; these groups taking it in turn to pay his annual dog licence. The taxi drivers took him for rides about the city, and up country as well and he regular voyages to New Zealand's coastal ports and on to Australia. He was said to have good sea legs and 'a really keen nose for impending storms'. In December 1935 he even made a flight in a gypsy moth bi-plane, enjoying the experience of flying in an open cockpit.

When he was about 13 years old Paddy showed signs of old age and refused to travel far - he was usually to be found on the Tally Clerks' stand inside the Queen's Wharf gates. When his health deteriorated he was given a sickbed in a shed on the wharves and attended by a vet, with people calling to see him and enquiring about his welfare.

Paddy died on 17 July 1939 and obituary notices were placed in the local papers. A fleet of black taxis accompanied by a traffic officer formed a funeral cortege to carry his coffin from Queen's Wharf to the city council yards for cremation. One of his best friends on the wharves was quoted as saying 'I'd give a month's pay to have Paddy back. I've had dogs but never one with the brains that Paddy had'.


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