Have you ever had a friend come into your life that changed the way you looked at the world?
Ever had a friend who helped you understand what a true friend looks like?
If you haven’t, then let me introduce you to one of mine.
Let me tell you about one of my best friends, named Matthew.
I met Matthew roughly 12 years ago. He was young and impressionable. We formed an immediate bond with each other and I knew right away that we would be friends for life.
I decided to introduce Matthew to my immediate family, and just as I figured, the entire family fell in love with Matthew as I had. At the time, Matthew had no place to stay, so I asked my family if they would mind if he stayed with us for a while.
The family agreed, so Matthew moved in. He immediately became a major part of our family.
Another important fact about Matthew that I failed to mention was that he was never able to talk. Ironically, nobody in my family even cared that Matthew had never spoken to them, because everyone knew that he loved and appreciated us.
If you haven’t figure it out by now, Matthew is a dog.
Matthew joined the Boney household in 2001, as a precious little golden retriever.
He would eat with us, play with us, take naps with us and even travel with us.
Dogs really do become a part of your family.
One of my favorite movies about dogs is the movie Marley & Me. Marley & Me is a 2008 American comedy-drama film about a spunky dog named Marley.
Primarily, it is about this couple who gets married and after some time begins contemplating having a baby. A friend and co-worker suggest the couple adopt a dog to see if they're really ready to raise a family. From a litter of newborn yellow Labrador retrievers they select a dog named Marley, who is named after reggae singer Bob Marley. Picking Marley proved to be one of the most challenging decisions they would ever make.
Marley begins to wreak havoc on the entire household. They try to get Marley trained, but it doesn’t work, so the couple just decides to roll with it. The couple eventually has some children and goes through many life’s challenges. The entire time, Marley is there to help them through those challenges. Marley never changed his attitude or his disposition. He was always cheerful, playful and loyal.
After going through other lifestyle changes, such as moving and career changes and getting older, the aging Marley begins to show signs of arthritis and deafness. An attack of gastric dilatation volvulus almost kills him, but he recovers. When a second attack occurs, it becomes clear surgery will not help him, and Marley is euthanized with his owner at his side. The family pays their last respects to their beloved pet as they bury him beneath a tree in their front yard.
I cried at the end of that movie when I first saw it and I cry every time that I see it, knowing one day I would have to face that same situation with our beloved Matthew.
Well, that day came on Saturday.
After saying goodbye to Matthew as we always do when we leave the house, we came back to find that he had left us. He passed away, sitting right by the door, waiting for us to open the door and come home as we always did.
He was a loyal companion and a true friend. He never judged me. He listened to my problems, even though I knew he couldn’t respond. He was always happy, but when a stranger rolled up on our residence, he was ready to get down for his family and protect us. He hated going to the veterinarian. He loved chicken. He never tore up our house. And yeah, he would sneak out into the front yard if the door or the gate if no one was looking…..lol.
Matthew was more of a friend to our family, than most of the friends that I can count on my two hands. I buried him in our backyard and our family paid our last respects to our beloved pet, but the feeling of loss is beyond words.
Mark Twain once said, "The more I know about people, the better I like my dog."
As I deal with people on a day-to-day basis, I will say to you, those words couldn’t be more accurate. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, “What kind of friend am I?”
I want to encourage you, if you don’t know what kind of friend you are or how to be a true friend to the end, get yourself a dog and learn from them. Trust me, they will teach you if you pay attention.
Matthew was not just “man’s best friend,” he was my best friend to the end. Gonna miss ya boy!