Home > Animal Rescue, Blog the Change for Animals, Dog Behavior, Dog Training, Pet Adoption > The Adventures of Matt – Inspiration and Tears

The Adventures of Matt – Inspiration and Tears



Back in July, I shared this picture of a special little rescue dog named Matt in my Blog the Change post on dog rescues.

I first heard about Matt from my friend Kristin who volunteered at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control (MACC). She was actively sharing Matt’s picture and story in hopes that he would be adopted or fostered through a rescue. Matt was on death row and things were not looking good. No rescues seemed to want Matt. Possible dog aggression issues made things too risky, and since only a rescue could take him, his chances of getting out were not good.

But then, an amazing set of women, Anne and Breanne, stepped forward and offered to foster him through Wags and Whiskers Animal Rescue.

Matt was not an easy dog to take and both Anne and Breanne knew that they would have to work with him before he could be introduced to their two dogs, but they did it anyways… and they allowed us to join them on their journey, via Matt’s Facebook page, Adventures of Matt.

I can only speak for myself, but watching them work with Matt was inspirational. They not only showed us what was possible, but they were also brutally honest about their work with Matt., They acknowledged Matt’s set backs and celebrated his successes, and we celebrated along with them. They also shared their knowledge about dog behavior in a way that was not only educational but interesting. Matt became the star of the show. You were bound to learn something new if you were following Matt. I loved that.

Maybe that’s why it is so hard to believe that Matt’s journey is now over. This little red dog who inspired so many peacefully passed away Sunday night. It was not an easy decision for his foster moms and rescue to make, but I have no doubt they made the right one for Matt.

You see, a few weeks ago, Matt started vomiting and became seriously ill. A visit to the vet determined that Matt had an obstruction in his intestine. He would need surgery. The obstruction turned out to be a small squeaker from a squeaky toy. It had done enough damage that 5 inches of Matt’s dying bowel also had to be removed. Matt made it through surgery and was sent home to heal. But, it wasn’t long before Matt was ill again and another surgery was needed to save his life. His bowel was telescoping in on itself.

Things were looking very serious this time. The prognosis was not good. And yet, despite all odds, Matt came out of surgery doing better than expected. In fact, he was doing so well that he was able to come home soon after surgery. It seemed he had made a miraculous recovery. Soon he was eating and playing again, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Until Saturday.

Matt started vomiting again and was very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, a third surgery was out of the question. Matt’s little body just couldn’t take another one so soon. All options had run out for our little red friend.

So on Sunday Matt’s moms gave him the very best day a dog could ask for – he saw all of his old friends, including my friend Kristin, played with all his favorite toys, as many as he wanted, and was surrounded by love all day, and even played a bit.

In the end, his mommas were there to hold him as they lovingly sent him on his next new adventure. I have no doubt Matt is up in heaven showing all the other dogs his new social skills, the ones he learned from his moms.

Today, my heart is with Anne and Breanne.

Thank you for allowing us to join you on your journey with Matt. We loved every minute of it. 


A Loan From God

God promised at the birth of time,
A special friend to give,
His time on earth is short, he said,
So love him while he lives.

It may be six or seven years,
Or twelve or then sixteen,
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?

A wagging tail and cold wet nose,

And silken velvet ears,
A heart as big as all outdoors,
To love you through the years.

His puppy ways will gladden you,
And antics bring a smile,
As guardian or friend he will,
Be loyal all the while.

He’ll bring his charms to grace your life,
And though his stay be brief,
When he’s gone the memories,
Are solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But lessons only a dog can teach,
I want you each to learn.

Whatever love you give to him,
Returns in triple measure,
Follow his lead and gain a life,
Brim full of simple pleasure.

Enjoy each day as it comes,
Allow your heart to guide,
Be loyal and steadfast in love,
As the dog there by your side.

Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call,
To take him back again?

I fancy each of us would say,
“Dear Lord, thy will be done,
For all the joy this dog shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.

“We’ll shelter him with tenderness,
We’ll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known,
Forever grateful stay.

“But shall the angels call for him,
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand.

  1. April 8, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    Oh my that is so sad. Run free and fast over The Rainbow Bridge Matt. How sad for his people.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. April 8, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    Lovely tribute, Mel.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 7:28 AM

      Thanks Sue.

  3. April 8, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    I am sooo sorry to hear the bad news. He is now in doggy heaven with many other doggies to play with. It made me very very sad to hear that he had passed on.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 7:28 AM

      Thanks Alex. I was too. He was a great example of what hard work, dedication and love can do to help a dog. I am just sad he left us so soon.

  4. April 8, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    A beautiful tribute for Matt. What a lucky dog to have been so loved.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      So agree Audrey. He knew a lot of love in the short time he was here. I am so very glad he did.

  5. Karen Hollebrands
    April 8, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    That was beautifully written, Mel. A hug to you today, my friend.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Thanks Karen. I hope Anne and Breanne feel all the hugs we all would give them if we could. Kristin too.

  6. April 8, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    So sorry to hear about Matt. He fought the hard fight but answered the call when he was needed for a very special job at the Rainbow Bridge…one that only he could do.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Thanks Amber. And maybe, his special job here was done too. He certainly touched a lot of people.

  7. jan
    April 8, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    If only our dear friends didn’t leave us so soon and it is always too soon. A lovely tribute to a special doggie.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      Amen to that Jan. Much too fast.

  8. April 8, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Beautiful tribute. I love this idea of the perfect day.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      Me too Alisha. I love that he had all the people who loved him with him on his special day. What a tribute to him.

  9. April 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Awww so very sad 😦 Poor little Matt.

  10. April 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Mel, thank you for this tribute to Matt. It’s hard to type through the tears.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      I know. I started tearing up just reading it again and then seeing your comment. I’ve been teary for two days now. God bless Matt and Anne and Breanne.

  11. April 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Aw, Mel. I’m so sorry to read about Matt. What a special dog he sounds like and he touched so many hearts. Thought and prayers go out to Matt’s family.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      Thanks Jen.

  12. April 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Oh, what a lovely tribute. I’m so sorry to hear the news. He is running pain free now. I hope he sends his moms a sign that he got there okay.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      I hope so too Jackie. I love the idea that he would do that for them. 🙂

  13. April 8, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    What a heartwarming and touching story, I wish it hadn’t turned out so sad. Bless those women for making the last few months of Matt’s life all it could be. Thank you for sharing the story.

  14. Sue
    April 8, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Poor little guy! God bless Anne and Breanne for giving him lots of love and thanks for sharing his story.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      Thanks Sue. Yes. Bless them both and little Matt.

  15. Darcy Wright
    April 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    This is a beautiful tribute. I am so happy that Matt felt love and knew what a family was before he crossed rainbow bridge. Thank you for saving this life and to his mamas.. My heart breaks for you and my prayers are with you. ❤

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      Thanks Darcy. I know they are feeling the love we all have for them and Matt.

  16. April 8, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Thank you for this lovely memorial. I needed tissues before I finished reading.

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      I know BJ. I was in tears off and all day yesterday. Matt was lucky to be loved and to know love in the short time he was on this earth.

  17. De Cunningham
    April 8, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Through my tears all I can say is thank you to the two beautiful people who showed Matt the love and kindness he deserved

    • Mel
      April 8, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      My tears join yours De Cunningham. I love that they gave Matt a chance to know love as he left this earth. We don’t often realize how little time we have here. THe slightest kindness can make all the difference. Anne and Breanne did all that and more.

  18. April 8, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Poor Matt 😦
    And what a beautiful poem.

  19. April 9, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    How wonderful he was given love and a second chance before he had to say goodbye.

  20. April 9, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    I’m so sorry for your loss but bless you all for trying so hard to save him. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t work, but I’m sure he knew how loved he was:)

  1. April 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM

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