This is my first post so I have to post here so forgive me if this should be someplace else. I'm a lurker here sometimes but just wanted to let Matt and Heidi know my thoughts were with them today.
I would like to introduce myself as Matt's Friend. I have only known him for about 5 years but it seems like I have known him since I was a kid.
I first met Matt because of work. It was not long before I learned how stand up he was when my best man had to step out at my bachelor party and matt quickly assumed this roll (nothing dirty happened there ladies). Heidi and Matt were not at my wedding which I regret. I'm now separated so I probably saved them 50 bucks and a card which i'm thankful for.
My memory is shot from drinking, but if it serves me right Matt became a proud "papa" to Earl 3+ years ago. I was intrigued. I say "papa" now because while Matt owns Earl and Disciplines him he does not hold this power over his head. Earl is a dog and lives by Matts rules, but he is free to be a dog and to do dog's things. I think this is impressive. I have a little dog named Josie but I sometimes forget that she is a dog and that having muddy feet is a dog thing, or that eating bark is a dog thing. The things that come natural for Matt and Heidi to let their dogs do are stress inducing to me.
I was intrigued by him getting a dog because I did not think for one second he was a dog person. A lizard? Maybe. Cats? Well he had them already. But a dog to me seemed like a ton of work and who's got time for this?? Well work he did. He became pretty involved with dogs. Posting on forums - reading books - watching and loving Earl. And Earl responded 10 fold. I've never met a dog who loves his owners more. He had Earl doing tricks I could never fathom teaching a dog.
Here is where my memory will get screwed up. Soon after Earl they became involved in fostering taking on a litter of pups and I remember going there and thinking this is insane. (SPBR - Yes it was insane). They cared for everyone of those puppies like they were part of their family. It was amazing to see - even when there was no vet care they used their own resources to make sure they made it to the vet or had medicine and food.
I had just separated from my wife and Heidi and Matt would have me over - I became attached to one of the pups. I referred to her as dot head. Josie, as she is now called, had a dot on the top of her head. I adopted her. She has always had an amazing attachment to Matt and Heidi - I think this is because of the way she was treated at their house. They made time for all these dogs and I'm sure if any one of that lot saw them today they would come running.
It was during this time Yoda came into the picture. Christ I could not tell you what I thought the first time I walked up to their gate and saw this guy. Talk about a unique looking dog. He was the poster dog of neglect though. You would never know this months later when yoda looked better than ever.
Some of my fondest memories of Yoda come from his personality. If there was a more carefree loving animal I'm not sure where you would find him. Yoda loved people, he loved matt and heidi. While he looked like he could do some "damage" he was actually very gental and would lay on the couch or climb all over you and make him self comfortable so he could sleep. You could not move but why would you want to when Yoda was so comforatable? He would headbut you if you bent down to pet him because he was most likely standing up to lick you. I had a UFC party at my place that Yoda attended. You could see the doubt in people's eyes as he lumbered about, but within minutes everyone was comfortable because it was obvious all he wanted was to give kisses and have his back scratched. Matt and Heidi had an incredible bond with Yoda that I doubt I could have with Josie. I think this had a great deal with how he behaved towards people.
Karma now rounds out this clan. And while it was difficult to gain her trust at first I think Matt and Heidi have done an amazing job with her. Josie and her now get along so well. I was not sure about girls getting along. They always say to watch this, but good lord they play and chase and play it's amazing.
Matt helped me adopt josie 2+ years ago and later drove with me to pick up my second dog - Artie - up near albany. Memorial Day weekend he helped me bury Arite who had cancer.
I know words are just words but I believe with my entire heart that Yoda, Karma and Earl have had the greatest place to live. Yoda's passing has affected me - First he was a great dog with a great spirit. Secondly I know my friends are hurt and grieving. I can't do anything to take this away, but I want you to know that I'm thinking of all of you.
It seems that Yoda has been an Icon in this community. Partly because of his pointy ears, but also because of his amazing story and his spirit. That does not change.
Matt,Heidi,Earl,Karma and YODA- I drink this beer for you. I love you guys and can't thank you for all you have done for me and my dogs, but for yours as well. I'm sorry for your loss.