Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meet Patches, the singing dog

Just to point out that the world isn't all bad news.

Eddie Vassallo, an elderly Italian immigrant to Australia, used to spend hours with his dog Patches sitting on his knee.

Patches had a favourite song: Happy Birthday. When Eddie sang it, Patches would join in. When they finished, Eddie would say "Bravo, bravo, Patches."

"Patches just loved it," said Eddie's daughter Marie. "When it was anyone's birthday, Dad would telephone them and he would sing Happy Birthday to them with Patches singing along. It became a family tradition for Dad and Patches to sing it together."

Three months ago, Eddie died, and in the confusion, Patches disappeared. Marie was upset at the dog's loss - but she lived miles away in Sydney.

Kaye Grivec, a dog foster carer, agreed to look for Patches. She found him at a dog pound, due to be put down because no one could prove he belonged to someone.

Kaye was asked if she could prove he belonged to someone. "Only one way to find out," she said. She started to sing Happy Birthday.

"At first, he had a sad, faraway look in his eyes," she told the Melbourne Herald Sun, "just like he was thinking about someone or missing someone. Then he just put his head back and started howling along with me, and I just burst into tears of joy."

Marie is arranging for Patches to be sent to Sydney to spend the rest of his days with her family.

You can see a video of Patches singing Happy Birthday by clicking here.