Poor old Patches was on death row at a dog pound in Mildura, Australia and had to prove his identity by singing songs he yodelled along to at family parties.
The dog’s elderly master had recently passed away and in the confusion that followed, Patches ended up impounded.
But against all odds, a Victorian Dog Rescue foster carer helping hunt for Patches was asked to sing “Happy Birthday” to a mutt at the Mildura pound to prove it was the 15-year-old dog.
“I started singing to him and at first he got a sad, faraway look in his eyes, just like he was thinking about something or missing someone,” said care-giver Kaye Grivec.
“Then he just put his head back and started howling along with me, and I just burst into tears of joy.”
Marie Vassallo, the Sydney, Australia -based daughter of the dog’s late master, Eddie, said Patches had spent hours sitting on her father’s knee while the old man sang songs to him, mostly in Italian.
“When they finished singing Dad would say ‘bravo, bravo, Patches’ and Patches just loved it.
“And then when it was anyone’s birthday, Dad would telephone them and he would sing “Happy Birthday” to them with Patches singing along.
“It was Patches’ favorite song and it became a family tradition for Dad and Patches to sing it together.”
Mr. Vassallo was 82 when he died three months ago.
Ms Vassallo said she was heartbroken to discover Patches had disappeared – and would have been impounded for at least three weeks.
“It meant his time on death row would have been up,” she said.
“Now we are organizing to have him brought to Sydney to live out his life with us.”