A rare sight now perhaps, but fifty years ago it was common to see policemen walking the beat in the towns and cities of Britain. Day and night, theirs was a reassuring presence on the lanes and roads of housing estates.
In 1957, one such constable was close to ending his nightly shift in Didsbury, a district of Manchester, when he heard a soft wimpering coming from a garden on the other side of the road. He walked across to investigate.
It was a bright, moonlit night and he clearly saw a small black dog standing in the middle of the lawn. Had the lights in the house been lit, he would have assumed that the owners had let the dog out before retiring for the night. But it was after 3.00 a.m. and every house in the road was silent and in darkness.
The dog looked directly at the policeman and then turned to walk away across the lawn. After a few paces it stopped and looked back, in the way that dogs do when they want you to follow. The constable opened the gate and entered the garden. Reassured that it was being followed, the dog continued its walk and disappeared behind a tree.
The officer, by now convinced that the dog had something that it wanted him to see, walked across to the tree and looked down. At its base there was a stone, upon which was inscribed;
‘Paddy’ – died 2nd. September, 1913.
The constable was gazing at a dog’s gravestone.
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