She came to us in 2004, a small ball of white fluff. We bought her to be company for our naughty rough haired Jack Russell who was wrecking the house and garden and many of our clothes and possession. “Get another dog”, was the cry from all and sundry. “Your naughty dog just needs a doggy friend.
So, Matilda, the little Cavoodle joined the overly rough and mischievous Chappie.
Did she calm down Mr Naughty-Boy? No, as soon as she grew a little, she joyously joined him in escapade after escapade.
We lived in the country then.
Chappie and Matilda were escape artists. Our carefully fenced property held no limit to their ability to make it outside the grounds.
Under, over and through — any which way—they were out.
The name and phone number medallions we had made to attach to their collars were a joke enjoyed by neighbouring property holders. Our phone number became well known as people called us to tell us they had two dogs running amok in their place.
At times when there were no dogs to be found at home and no phone call. We would have to go searching for them.
Often, they would have discovered some delightful fresh cow manure to roll in.
It became a busy time.
When they were at home, they occupied themselves with all manner of games, using humans’ socks, scarves, hats, shoes, underwear, anything they somehow found in and around the house.
They had toys we made and toys we bought; they were not content unless they were roughing around with something. But, one day Chappie began to play too rough with (much smaller) Matilda and his large canine tooth caught in her collar and, in trying to dislodge it, he spun her around and around.
It was at this moment that I happened to glance out the window.
By this time Matilda was unconscious.
Racing outside, I undid the little dog’s collar and tumbled her around on the grass. Her eyes had rolled back in her head and she was not breathing.
It was time for some serious resuscitation.
I placed the little body on her back, opened her mouth, made a tube with my right hand around her muzzle and gave a few breaths. Following this, I pressed down on her chest—using only two fingers, remembering that is the prescribed method for a human baby.
After several chest presses and ‘mouth-to-mouth’ procedures, the little dog’s eyes began to flutter, and some air passed in and out of her without my help. In amongst some spluttering and scary eye rolling, she began to regain consciousness.
Carrying her inside, I prepared for a visit to the vet.
Eventually, after a night in the animal hospital, Matilda’s pale, bulging eyes settled back into her head properly and she seemed almost back to normal.
That was many years ago.
The naughty Chappie had to go and live elsewhere. No, that is not a euphemism – we found him a home with people who were able to take him on longer walks and spend more time with him, better than we could. As for Matilda, she continued a lively existence, although mainly staying at home.
On walks in the forest she would run away, but always returned in the joyous mood for which she became well known.
She often had a baby rabbit in her mouth to show off to us!
And, now it is 2020 and that little dog who daily gleefully ran through trees and long grass, after the scent of rabbits, that little dog whose collar was once caught in her doggie companion’s canine tooth as they played—the companion who shook and spun her, trying to break free, ultimately leaving her unconscious. And me, the witness, having to give a small furry body CPR and ‘mouth-to-mouth’ to revive her. That little dog, who moved with us to live in Queensland and who spent her remaining years looking for Eastern Water Dragons and snoozing in the tropical sun on our veranda.
Yes, that little dog, whose joyful and uncomplaining presence was felt by us and loved by us for all of her 16 years, became old and so ill that, last week, I had to wrap her in a blanket and take her to a kindly vet, who gave her a small injection to send her to doggie heaven, while I stroked her soft fluffy head and whispered, ‘good girl’. “When you adopt a dog, you have a lot of very good days and one very bad day.” W. Bruce Cameron (U.S. author & film maker)