Mattie had such soulful eyes that you could almost read her thoughts. And Mattie’s thoughts were always welcoming and cheerful. She was in many ways the neighborhood mascot. Our small neighborhood, sometimes referred to as Tujunga Village, is much more than a lovely place to shop and eat– it is a caring community of shopkeepers, neighborhood coffee-istas, book lovers and folks who just like to hang out and chat.
We all knew Mattie and thought she was an exemplary dog, so well-behaved. She must have learned her manners from her very caring and always polite owner, Joe. None of that barking, yipping, slobbering, jumping and yes, even snarling, that other dogs sometimes exhibit when visiting the neighborhood shops. No, Mattie was friendly but calm and reserved, a model of good behavior. One look into her eyes and you knew you were in the presence of a very old soul who knew what was what and acted accordingly.
Unlike Tulip, the German Shepherd of the renowned book, and J. R. Ackerley, her owner, Mattie and Joe were bonded at first sight when a co-worker brought the 10-month old puppy to work, stood at Joe’s office door and said, “Joe, this is your new dog.” Whereupon the pup jumped out of her arms, ran around the desk, jumped onto Joe’s lap, curled up and promptly went to sleep. That was the beginning of their 13-year love affair.
Joe’s Mattie passed away recently, at home, in her sleep. She was his constant companion for all those years and everyone became accustomed to seeing her by his side for walks in the neighborhood and visits to the shops, restaurants and coffee houses. We will miss her greatly and remember her fondly.