Sweet, goofy dog, you captured our hearts from the beginning. When we went to the SPCA, "just to look", hoping eventually to find a suitable companion for your "big brother" Max, we saw you right away, wiggling and prancing with puppy enthusiasm. After selecting Max because he just looked so sad, this was an unexpected greeting. In the puppy room, you ran around on legs too long for your small body, and yet, you were so very happy. Your tail wagged constantly, and with it's white tip, it looked like a paintbrush flying across a canvas. Thus we knew that you deserved the name of an artist. We brought you home after little deliberation, and Max was not impressed at first. You, however, were thrilled with everything. So excited were you to see the world that you squeezed your tiny body through the gate and went for an adventure in the wide, wide world. We found you later, the center of attention in a neighbor's yard, already having made a new circle of friends. You wagged your tail when you saw us, just two more of your many admirers. Max continued to maintain aloofness, but he would cry, heartbroken, anytime we had to separate the two of you. Upon your return, he would greet you eagerly with jumps and all-over sniffs. When you thought we weren't looking, the two of you would curl up to sleep together at night.
You were primarily John's dog and as a puppy you loved to climb up on his head and shoulders when he was laying on the couch. Over time, your body caught up with your legs in size, and when you jumped up, your paws could reach our shoulders. Your excitement never waned, and your tail would wag even when you were in trouble. There was always love and the spark of joy in your eyes. Your job became to protect us (with your ferocious barking) from the diesel trucks passing by our road . You took "vacations" to our elderly neighbors' house, sneaking away after you learned to open the gate lock, which was a joy for them (and for you, as they kept dog treats they would share with you). This was only second in fun to the rides you would take with John in his truck, with your ears flapping in the breeze. John would hold back those same ears as you puked up numerous gallons of dog food you exuberantly ate after you learned how to open the container where it was stored.
You never learned to give hugs like Max, but you made up for it in your kisses, which he always refused to give. I'll always remember you sticking your big head down to greet baby Brady in his carrier when we first brought him home from the hospital.
We always said you'd have a free ticket to heaven as you're "special" (in oh so many ways). After near emergencies from eating rocks and your escapes, we were afraid you'd meet your end in a head-shaking tragic (yet comic) way. So it's a cruel twist of fate, for you, our ADHD one, to be brought down by a degenerative condition that made you unable to move. This morning, as we said goodbye to you before leaving for work and school, you stood, unable to sit or lie down, with your body hunched, head down, tail between your legs. You did not look like our Matisse, and pain clouded your happiness. Maryn petted you and said, "He feels like he's dying." At the vet, you found a bit of your spark again, enough for us to remember the difference in who you were and who you had become. It would not have been fair to you to leave you in such a state of pain. We were there to love on you and remember silly stories about you, ones that frustrated us at the time, but were now a source of amusement. You have brought so many smiles for us, and now, I like to think you have your big smile back again, running around happily barking at trucks and other dogs, enjoying the free life once again.
As John said in a Facebook post, "My dog was put to sleep today, then he woke up on the other side. Cheers to Matisse." Run in peace and health, sweet friend. We love you forever.