In this newsletter I want to touch on how animals can inspire a story. Back in 2007, we lost our beloved Bearded Collie called Gromit (as in the Wallace and Gromit TV series 😊) He was our second Beardie, and from the moment he came into our lives bringing us much joy. He believed his sole purpose was to please us, which made him a joy. We were heartbroken when he crossed the rainbow bridge. Then Paddington Bear came into our lives that same year and life was never the same.
As an eight-week-old bundle of joy he flew into Adelaide airport from a breeder of champion herders in New South Wales (Australia). He caused us a few anxious moments in his first months. The vet treated a joint problem and recommended complete rest. I laughed aloud at that—how would it be possible to keep a young pup still? We were due to travel through the South Australian Outback, so Paddington came with us. He sat on the back seat of the 4x4, harnessed in, and watched the world go by. We were on the road for about three weeks. The joint healed and never caused him another day’s bother. I am sure he is the only Beardie to have travelled deep into the Outback, sleeping in a swag (with me), enjoying his meals around the campfire, and smuggled into hotels. And so, Paddington’s stories were born. We lost Paddington nearly two years ago. When his nephew became available, we could not say no. Rupert Bear arrived three weeks ago. He is nothing like Paddington other than in looks, and I did not expect him to be, but he is already proving to be quite a character.
Back to Paddington, he was a great thinker. His thoughts spoke loudly, as did his expressions. He went through puppy school and advanced courses like all our dogs and excelled in the classroom environment. Unlike Gromit, Paddington proved to be stubborn and strong-willed. He often knew best and was not frightened to let us know. He had an extraordinary mind, and because he projected his thoughts and strong personality on us, I started writing a series about his life. I wrote it from his point of view because I could read him like a book. I do not think I did him a disservice. If he were here, he would have a thing or two to say about why I am not filling this newsletter with all his achievements.
“But Paddington, the whole idea is to show how animals can get the creative writing juices flowing. No, Paddington, it is not time for a biscuit. It is not time for a walk either. I have to work. Are you yawning—”
See what I mean; Paddington is still in my head. The story had quite a following, and I had many requests to continue the series. Although I removed it from my website, I will put it back up for those who might want to take a closer look at a fabulous dog.
One piece of trivia that Paddington would like me to pass on:
A famous Australian sculptor, Silvio Apponyi, asked if he could use Paddington as a model, as he was commissioned to produce a statue of a dog called Bob the Railway Dog. Bob was born in 1883 and travelled the Outback railways from 1884. He became quite an Outback personality. A bronze statue now sits in Peterborough’s (South Australia) main street.
I still miss Paddington; I am not sure there will ever be another dog like him. We love our two girls, Elsa and Kuura, but I am pleased to have another male from Paddington’s line. It will be interesting to see if Rupert inspires me to write his story. He is now twelve weeks old and a star at puppy classes. I have included some pictures. Who cannot resist a puppy? Not me that is for sure.
Until next time
Contemporary adventure with