I lost my best friend Matilda five weeks ago, aged twelve years and eight months. We had a tough last few weeks, with a scare the week when she feinted while out walking. I thought we had lost her then, but by the time we made it to the vets she was happily sitting up in her pram. We had many visits to the vets in the previous few weeks, trying to work out what was going on with her stomach. We never did quite work out what was happening. Even though she had Mitral Valve Disease like Lucy, she never went into Congestive Heart Failure either. She passed away quietly in the car just blocks from the emergency vet. I’m thankful she spared me from having to make that awful decision of putting her to sleep, which I thought at the time was going to be the outcome. I’m thankful she went on God’s terms, not mine.
Twelve and a half wonderful years Matilda and I got to spend together. She was there through my ups and my many more downs. She was my best friend, always by my side. After a bad day there was the happiness of knowing she would be there when I got home, waiting to give me one of her wonderful teddy bear like cuddles when she saw me, which seemed to make everything better, even if it was only for a little while. She was my first dog of my own. What a wonderful first dog I was blessed with. Because she was so wonderful, I decided to get another Cavalier which brought Lucy to us. Matilda was a gorgeous, outgoing puppy. We spent a lot of time together playing and learning the life of a dog together. When she was little, after I came home from work she would have crazy puppy hour, which is how Matilda got her nickname Petal. She would go crazy, running around, jumping up, playing with toys, playing with me, trying to bite my hands, that I would say to her “Settle Petal”. Soon the nickname Petal was hers.
Just before her second birthday, we welcomed Lucy into our family. At first Petal was unsure of her, as Lucy tried to suckle from her, but after a few weeks they settled in together and soon became best friends, and became my girls. Matilda was the perfect big sister to Lucy, and I know Lucy would have been lost without her. She was definitely her protector. When the girls got their lunch time Dentastix, Matilda always waited until Lucy got hers before she would run upstairs also and eat hers. If Lucy got hers first, she never waited until Matilda got hers. They were inseparable. When Lucy passed away last October, Matilda was very lost without her. She was never quite the same afterwards. Her loud snoring at night ceased. Whereas Lucy would have to be hand-fed her bikkies to eat them, Matilda would happily munch hers. That changed after Lucy left us, and Matilda would have to be hand-fed or she would not eat at all. I know she missed Lucy terribly those first few weeks, like we all did, and we all had to learn to adjust to life without our Little Luce.
Petal really knew what it was like to be a dog and enjoy life. She would happily greet those she loved with a huge tail wag and excitement. If you went away for the day, she would give you quite the talking to when you returned. She was a social butterfly and loved getting pats off people, whether she knew them or not. If she wasn’t finished yet she was quick to nudge your hand so you would continue patting her until she was finished. She loved her food. She loved to roll on Mum’s bed, messing it up, after tea. Mum would complain about this, but I always told her Matilda had down a turndown service for her and she should be thankful. Of a morning when let outside to toilet, Matilda would go to the fence, wag her tail and look for next doors dogs to say hello to. This was a different matter when the same dogs walked passed our yard, where she would bark and bark at them.
Both Cleo and Jonah also loved Matilda. They especially liked her in winter. On a cold day, she was the perfect place to snuggle up to, to help stay warm. She would tolerate it for a little while but eventually she would get up and leave them behind on her bed. There was benefits to having cats. She would eagerly do their washing up each night, licking their dishes clean after they had eaten tea, making sure no trace of cat food was left behind.
Old age slowly crept up on Matilda. The first sign were the white hairs that grew around her face. She slowed down a lot more, slept a lot more, and she definitely went to the toilet a lot more. She still loved getting out and about with us. She loved going out in the pram for walkies, and getting to walk for a little bit. After Lucy passed away, she loved becoming my therapy dog and going with me to see my therapist. She would get all the pats she needed from my therapist and lay down on the floor, either waiting or sleeping until it was time to go home.
It was hard losing Matilda, but I’m thankful she and Lucy were happily reunited at the Rainbow Bridge. My one regret is I wasn’t able to be there for their reunion. I know it would have been full of lots of excitement, with tails wagging, ears flapping, barks of excitement, just like when they realised they were going for walkies with me. Farewell my Petal. I love you and I miss you. Until we are back together again. xx.