In a quiet row of graves at Karori Cemetery is a little grave of a little girl whose name is barely remembered. But Elsie Marion Glasgow’s dog is a Wellington icon.
Her once faithful companion - originally called Dash - is now known as Paddy the Wanderer.
He and Elsie used to go with her mother Alice to the waterfront to meet the ships bringing Elsie’s father John home.
But when Elsie died at only three and a half years old from pneumonia in 1928, Paddy ran away and began wandering the waterfront.
Despite attempts to settle him again, he never again had an ‘owner.’
He became famous for getting on coastal steamers and heading away only to return to make another trip.
He became beloved by the watersiders and seamen who ensured his safety, making him an assistant night watchman whose job it was to keep guard for pirates, rodents and smugglers. As he aged he spent time with the tally clerk’s office.
His adventures have been made into a book, a memorial, museum exhibits and every year the Wellington Museum pays for the Wellington City Council registration tag, put on the statue as a way to memorialize him.
The Airedale terrier was a common sight on the waterfront and he was fed by the men who came to know him best.
He had stowed away to Australia, sailed around New Zealand, rode the Wellington trams and became the first dog in New Zealand to fly in a plane. He wandered the streets, knowing how to cross a street once the light went green.
He was awarded the freedom of the city in 1935.
There were also rumours he made it as far as San Francisco.
On his death in 1939 there was a funeral procession through the city including 12 black taxis who took him to the city crematorium.
Now a brass plaque with a likeness of Paddy now sits on the waterfront with two drinking bowls for all good boys.
And a permanent exhibit at the Museum of Wellington City & Sea displays a life sized statue of the dog that captured the hearts of Wellingtonians.
Elsie herself - usually called Bubby - is buried at the Karori Cemetery. Her relatives still live in Wellington.