Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today marks 10 years that Matt & I have walked together. I have no idea how many miles we have actually walked over that time - I can't imagine! For sure, as we've travelled, he's never been far from my side.

Like me, a Lancastrian, Matt was actually born the day after I moved to Pontypridd. I found him on a trip to Blackpool. He walked out of the house, leaving his previous owners behind, and that was the sign. Anyone who knows him knows how rarely he will go with anyone he doesn't know; but that first time we met he walked with me.

Several friends thought I'd made a strange choice - my previous dog was the life and soul of the party; Matt was scared of the party. He was pitifully nervous in those early days. He just needed to be loved.

Together we discovered every inch of the park, the forestry, the hills, the roads & the lanes. He abhorred water, but loved the beach. The openness of the sand always appealed to him; but the noise and the simple wetness of the waves kept him at a safe distance from the surf's edge. Eventually he learned to paddle. Now in old age he even enjoys puddles! 

Matt has always helped me make new friends. Sitting outside pubs in the summertime encourages people passing by to comment - "Isn't he handsome!" I am always generous in my reply: "The dog's not bad either". And thanks to Matt I have got to know several vets very well.

He loves travelling, leaping into the car to see where we will go next. He loves coming home even more, knowing that at the end of an adventure, it's just him & me again, safe in our house. Likewise, he welcomes guests with a smile & a wag, especially if he knows them well. And his smile & wag grow even stronger as they go again... He is the definition of a "one man dog", and I am the lucky one man. 

Sometimes I wish the rest of you could see what he's like when you've all gone. He only really becomes himself when it's just the two of us. And then I quite enjoy that there is something no-one else gets to see, one of life's little innocent pleasures that belongs purely to me.  
He was totally silent, I mean completely mute at first. I had to teach him to bark. These days his eyesight is pretty poor, and his hearing all but gone, but he still has a great voice. Not that he uses it often: he never did. He'll speak when he's especially happy; or when he's especially excited; or when he wants a treat, or there's chicken in the kitchen & I haven't noticed...
And he never, never wanders far from me, often finding the least bit of space in order to snuggle up to me and remind me he is here. Man's best friend. My dog, my companion. My Matty.

Ten years. I am grateful for every day of them. And Matt is old, and he has his illnesses, and how many more days there will be is known to God but not to us. So I am grateful for this day, with all my heart.

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