I'm home now and focusing on what is important . . . a day of remembrance. Today we remember my old dog Matt Jr.
Two years ago my little guy passed away. It was the saddest day of my life.
I only have pictures of MJ from the last few years on my computer.
Someday I'll scan some older ones to share. He was a cute pup!
He was my best friend. I had him ever since he was a baby. I remember the day he was born. There were three puppies. Two girls and a boy. We named them Mini, Marla and Matt Jr (After his father of course, my mom's dog Matt.)
I loved all those puppies, but I loved him the most. My mother told me that as long as I would take him to obedience training I could keep the little boy. And I kept that little boy, all right!
He loved posing for photos.
He and I did everything together. We shared a bed, went on walks, played games, ate delicious food (he was a fan of many things, including stealing the meat from my sandwiches), etc. He loved agility tracks and the two of us won awards at youth dog shows. He loved to be the center of attention.
MJ had his own side of the bed and his own pillow he slept on.
He followed me everywhere. He even knew when I would get home from school and at 3:00 everyday, when he heard the school bus drop me off, he would start barking and scratching at the door to be let in. And oh he was the happiest dog once I opened that door.
I was sure there would never be a man who would love me as much as my MJ. When I got to the age where boys were of interest, I made sure that my dog liked whoever I brought home. Any boyfriend knew that he came second to Matt Jr. MJ was the number one in my life.
Then Mitch came along. The big test was the first night he stayed over. He was going to take MJ's place in the bed, and I wasn't sure how either one was going to handle it. I knew Mitch was the perfect man when the three of us snuggled into bed together and watched a movie. All hands on MJ.
The weekend the three of us spent an entire Sunday eating snacks and watching Fawlty Towers
Though later that night, an event occurred. One of the funniest stories Mitch tells about his encounters with Matt Jr.
In the middle of the night, MJ was off the bed and knew Mitch was awake. He pushed against Mitch's hand to try to convince him to give him some pets. He scratched on the side of the bed to get his attention. Mitch pretended to be asleep.
In his annoyance that there was no response from the man who took over his bed, MJ walked from the bed directly to Mitch's suitcase. A pile of his clothes lay on the floor.
And he did something (almost) unspeakable. He lifted his leg and peed on his clothes. Mitch had it coming.
Luckily, because MJ was never neutered and loved to "mark his territory" we put a diaper on him to keep from damaging our house. So Mitch's clothes were fine. But he learned his lesson all right.
After that night, MJ got the respect he deserved.
The day I had to move away to go to school was heartbreaking. I always imagined I would take him with me when I went to college. But finding a decent apartment that would allow a dog was next to impossible. And MJ was getting old, so we figured it would be best to leave him at his home.
Every time I came home to visit, there was that happy dog, running towards me like he did when I would get off the school bus at 3:00.
Through the years of living away, we brought MJ to visit a number of times.
The weekend Mitch and MJ came to visit me in my dorm.
He lived with me in my studio apartment (secretly) for a couple of weeks. I loved that. I loved coming home to my happy dog every day. No matter how hard of a day I had at school, my worries would be gone the second I saw that little guy.
MJ and I took a road trip to visit Mitch at WSU for a week. I am so grateful that Mitch and his roommate allowed me to bring my pup with me that week. I like to think he brought them some entertainment. In Pullman he had plenty of land to run free (something he loved almost as much as me!).
The only problem was that his eye sight was slowly starting to fade. I had to carry him around at night. It didn't slow him down, though!
When Mitch and I moved in together, we brought MJ for a month visit. He loved going on walks 5 times a day. I would take him to parks where he could run free again. We played, we snuggled, we had an amazing time together.
He sat politely at the table while we ate our meals.
But this time, his liver was failing. We had to put him on a special diet that added rice and calcium tablets to his food. Luckily he seemed to enjoy it. But no matter, when he was with me he was the happiest dog.
Over his last year, he seemed to be holding on tight to something. I wasn't sure what, but he fought through all of his troubles. He had an accident where he fell from the second story to the first - a fall that should have broken his bones, but he was perfectly fine. The vet was just as surprised as I was. He said that MJ had the heart of a race horse. He was a little trooper that dog.
His eyesight had gotten much worse by now. He spent most of his days sleeping instead of running. When I came to visit, instead of immediately running to me, I would have to crawl right up to him and let him sniff me. Once he realized it was my scent, I would see the life flow back into him. He was a puppy again.
On March 7, he gave Mitch permission to marry me. (*wink!)
A few days later, Mitch moved to Utah and I didn't want to be alone. So I went to Wenatchee for a week. I had a little baby Tesla with me at the time, but MJ made sure she knew who was boss. (He stole her bed from her.)
That week, MJ did something unusual. He spent every moment he could on my lap. Now let me explain to you, MJ was not a lap dog. Yes he was a little guy, but he was tough. He had to have his own space, and when it came to snuggles, he chose to sit beside me rather than on me.
Nap time with Tesla and MJ, Christmas 2008.
This was how he usually slept - to the side. Though he originally started on the couch with us.
This is the last picture taken with MJ.
But this week was different. He wanted to be as close to me as he could. At the time I thought it was so funny and unusual. But now I realize he was saying goodbye.
I flew from Wenatchee to Salt Lake City to help Mitch get settled in his new apartment. I was there for a week and we had a great time, though it rained every single day. But two days before my flight home I got a terrible phone call.
It was my mother and she was calling to tell me that Matt Jr was not doing well. After much contemplation and tears, I had to make the hardest decision of my life . . .
(I always said when the time came, I wanted to be there with him. This was the one time that I absolutely couldn't. I thought about waiting until I came home but decided not to be selfish . . . to let him go. )
My mother took him to the vet, who wrapped MJ in a sweater that I had left at my parent's house. . .
. . . and he was gone.
The next day I woke up to sunshine. It was the first clear day since I had been there. It was beautiful. Just for MJ.
I like to think that MJ was holding on that last year for me. He passed away two weeks after I got married, almost as if he was waiting to know that I would be taken care of.
I loved that dog more than anything. He will forever be missed, but I will always remember the best of times with him and he will always be with me.
Rest in peace Baby Love.