April 24, 2017 - We are devastated to report that we lost our beautiful Matisse (formerly Knox, rescued from Apple Valley shelter in January 2016). His devoted mom, Meg, who adopted him in June 2016 let us know: "Very gently and peacefully he went on his journey surrounded by love. Matisse developed a neurological problem a month ago (came out of nowhere) and exhibited signs of heptic encephalopathy. After a hospital stay to stabilize him, the neurologist put him on a regime of antibiotics and steroids and he seemed to rally around the first week and a half but never fully regained his eyesight and coordination on the left side of his body. We discussed other invasive procedures like a spinal tap etc., but the risk was too great that he wouldn’t survive in his weakened state. He would walk in circles and press his head into corners and walls. We needed to constantly supervise him to keep him safe from harming himself. He really put up a gallant fight but in the end it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t bear to watch him suffer anymore, particularly after all he has been through. These past two weeks his appetite started to wane and he would not settle down to sleep until late into the night."
"I think this condition may have been congenital or perhaps his early environment? It may have been there but his previous owner never addressed it when he was young? I just don’t know. He seemed to tire easily for being such a young dog and I noticed last month (in retrospect) the first signs of this were occasionally he would just stare right through me when I called him. Even looking back when I first got him, he seemed to stumble over things and not be sure footed in what would be normal circumstances for other dogs.
"Tragically, Matisse was really coming into his own, playful and that sweet nub of a tail wagging. He brought such joy to everyone he met and in particular to our household. We loved him so much and needless to say will never, ever forget him. It’s a tremendous loss we won’t get over any time soon. It pains me that he will never lead that long life I had wished to share with him as we grew old together."
"In the Buddhist tradition, life and death are seen as one whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life. Death is the mirror in which the entire life is reflected. In September 2014 I found a picture of a Ridgeback that I saved to my laptop. This was the dog I was searching for. The similarities are striking. Such a handsome and dignified fellow and that’s how I’ll remember Matisse. Calm, quiet, steady and patient except when you put food in front of him! Matisse was an extraordinary dog, precious and learning to trust. He taught me mountains about myself and about how to let go. We’ll feast on memories now, walks at the beach, chasing squirrels in the park, riding in the car and smiling into the wind. We hung out a lot during those rainy days last winter, curled up on my bed, snoozing. People gravitated toward Matisse. He was just zen and people wanted to touch him, find out his name and story. I’m humbled yet proud to have been his mum on this journey. What I’ll miss most is the kissing and hugging him all the time. Alex, my daughter couldn't walk by him without many huge hugs and kisses. He loved the closeness and familiarity. He had his routines and favorite spots. He was finally home and he filled up the house with his august presence. His bed is still in the living room. I feel his spirit. I will cherish him always and we will never forget him."
Ridgebacks and Friends is deeply indebted to Meg for loving him so dearly... as well as THE ZEN DOG for the first leg of his rehab, his foster family Kristie, Nathan and Bodie, who did so much work to teach Matisse (fka Knox) how to be a dog. They are currently working their patient, therapeutic magic with Huxley and we know he also has a perfect home out there just waiting for him. Please Join us in sending condolences to Meg as well as his foster family. RIP Matisse. You were loved. And you taught us so much in your short life.