Matty May was the dog of a lifetime. My husband and I showed up at a local family’s rural home and my husband said “that one.” I had my eye on another one, but he was adamant that she was the one. “Okay,” I responded, after all, they were all cute. She ran away and tried to hide when Brad pointed to her. My husband always considered Matty to be his dog, but she at least let us all think she was our dog.
She was the biggest one out of the litter, the dominant female no doubt. She was as round as she was tall but she fit easily on my lap as I drove her home. Once at home, she pouted for two days under an antique trunk. At the end of day two, she finally came out and was ready to play. I don’t think she stopped playing after that. As she grew, visitors and friends would remark on how great she was at playing Frisbee. She was an amazing Frisbee catcher and in later years when we had to take the jumping out of her game and made the switch to sticks and balls, she still loved playing. But as great as an athlete Matty was, it was her spirit that I loved the most.
Matty was a dog that could understand. I can remember one of the first times I realized that. I had put her in the car and she stood there and waited for me to shut the door but her tail was in the doorframe. “Matty move your tail,” I requested. So she tucked her tail in and I shut the door.
She would also anticipate my requests without me having to ask her. For example, Brad started running with Matty when she was big enough and old enough to go. She had always had a dog harness, but I could tell as Brad put it on her, that it insulted her somehow. I’m a reluctant runner myself so Brad was running with Matty a long time before I did it. But from the moment I started running with her, I did it without a leash. From the first time, she stayed right next to my side; she stopped when I stopped, picked up her pace when I did and waited for me when I walked.
There are countless memories of times with Matty. Some of them are unique like the time we went backpacking and couldn’t find her after we had all our gear on. We looked everywhere and I finally looked in the car where she was huddled on the floorboard. “Brad something’s wrong.” Right about that time, a young moose came sauntering by us only about ten feet away. She would protect us with her life no doubt, but a moose is a moose. Smart dog.
Most of my memories are of every day times, the times I already miss the most. A morning riser, I was often up before her. She slept in our room but usually stayed in her dog bed until Brad would get up. Brad would head to the door to let her outside, but she would include me in her route to the outside, to greet me wherever I was, to tell me good morning. She would lay at my feet when I watched television with the kids. She would lay in the living room waiting for Brad to come from a road trip until I told her he would be gone another night and then she would get up and crawl onto her dog bed and go to sleep. She’d insist on being with the kids when they were sick. Sometimes, she’d kiss my hand when I was petting her, just to tell me she loved me too. She had a way of letting us all know she loved us.
Matty’s personality, her beautiful giving spirit, made me want to be a better person when I was around her. She made me want to give the best of myself to her and my family. If I was outwardly grumpy, a look from Matty made me realize I needed to chill out. If I were too self absorbed, Matty would tell me with her body language that I was not giving enough; she’d lay with her back to me instead of her face.
We’re all trying to come to terms with the loss of our family member. We love you Matty, among many things to us, you were a friend, an athlete, teacher and a spiritual companion. You were the dog of a lifetime.