An African's Anecdotes and Accoutrements
|At midday today Matti went peacefully from our lives, with dignity and class - the two qualities that most exemplify Matti and wonderful personality.
He’s always been the head of the dogs in our household, bossing them up with a simple look. Sometimes, when Chewy got a bit over-excited Matti would walk up to him, and rest his head on Chewy’s shoulders, as though admonishing a naughty child. Until recently he and Jabba used to play-fight with each other. Jabba would strut around Matti on four stiff legs, his tail wagging furiously while Matti would nudge his protagonist with his chin on Jabba’s back. .
I made the arrangements yesterday with the veterinarian and the kennels, weeping all over the kennel’s owner when I asked him if we could bury Matti next to his sister Indi. Omur was understanding; he is a dog lover, and arranged for his vet to carry out the euthanasia. Yesterday evening, last night and this morning I went through hell - making an appointment to end your pet’s life, even when that pet has no quality of life left is traumatic to say the least. So helping him to his bed next to Ivan’s side of our bed last night, taking him outside so he could relieve himself this morning, giving him his breakfast, bringing him his water bowl after breakfast and before we carried him to Ivan’s car for that last journey... knowing it was the last time I’d be doing all these things for him made me cry. I've cried a lot over the past 24 hours.
At the kennels he was dignified to the very end. After the vet gave him the tranquiliser we sat with him, feeding him little pieces of the beef/lamb cocktail sausages he loved so much. He ate them calmly and happily as we stroked him, told him how much we loved him and thanked him for sharing his fourteen and a half year long life with us. When he had relaxed the vet gave him the final injection, and some minutes later Matti went to meet the rest of his dog family at the Rainbow Bridge; Tigue, Shorty, Tobi, Savage, Sable, Purdy, Chewy and his sister Indi are all there to welcome him.
Although Matti’s physical presence has gone, I’m still looking for him. It will take a while for that feeling to fade. I found a poem by Rudyard Kipling yesterday which expresses my own feelings right now far better than I can.
I have done mostly what most men do,
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can't forget, if I wanted to,
Four-Feet trotting behind.
Day after day, the whole day through --
Wherever my road inclined --
Four-feet said, "I am coming with you!"
And trotted along behind.
Now I must go by some other round, --
Which I shall never find --
Somewhere that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.
Thank you for sharing your lives with us, my Matabele dog. We love you.