Matilda by Elizabeth Stolz / Libby and Kevin, your Daddy and Mummy and ‘Miss

My father began the first Lutheran Churches in inland Queensland, Australia in 1942, after being ordained a Lutheran Pastor. I was born during that time in a place named ‘Chinchilla’.

This month my partner and I made our first trip back to those country places from South Australia. It was a trip down Memory Lane.

We have always owned the wonderfully loyal, but sometimes ‘snappy’ Australian Cattle Dog, otherwise known as ‘The Blue Heeler’or ‘Queensland Blues’. They are one of the most intelligent dogs that one could possibly own.

It is said that they will leave a burgler in but will not let him/her out!!!

Our 15 and a half year old, ‘Matilda’ and our young Cattle Dog, ‘Miss Lizzie’ always come everywhere with us,
especially when we go on holidays.

When they saw our campervan being prepared they knew that another holiday and long trip was in store.
We left on the 6th of June, 2005,
a few weeks ago.

Matilda was slightly overweight, after all she was almost 16 years old, but she had no arthritus, or cateracts. However, she was slightly deaf. We loved that dog dearly.

On the 25th of June, 2005 we were in a Caravan Park on the border of Queensland and N.S.W., Goondawindi. Both dogs had been fed, had enjoyed a barbecue together with us and were in good spirits. We were staying in a rustic ensuite cabin on the banks of a lake surrounded by gum trees. The two dogs had their beds in the van- they always slept next to one another. At 11.00 pm we went out to let them out for ‘wee-wees’. What a shock, Matilda was dead, but still quite warm. Young ‘Miss Lizzie’ was cuddled into her.

We were in terrible shock, cried and felt a terrible loss had come over us. ‘Miss Lizzie’ looked frightened and was shaking. Then we realized that Matilda had died a wonderful death. No Vets to prod and poke her, happy right up until the end. She was with us
in the warmth of the ‘house on wheels’.

Of course, what were we to do? We didn’t want to leave her behind in a strange place, we wanted her to be buried at home, her home. We were two days from home!

It was decided, we WOULD take her home with us. We put her gently to the back of the van, covered her and packed ice bags around her – thank you God, that it was cold. It is Winter in Australia now.

Next morning we spoke to the Park Manageress and she refunded our money and then said that the cabin that we had been staying in would be named after our dog, “Matilda”. She had been looking for Australian names for the various cabins, and it suited the natural park completely.

We left early next morning and two days later we were home. The first thing we did was to bury Matilda in the damp, warm earth in the garden.

She now rests peacefully next to her other ‘mate’ ‘Dame Nellie Melba’ , who died some years ago.

When Matilda was a young dog we had a hobby farm with young calves and some cattle. When I bottle-fed the calves she would always lick the calves faces clean (it was the milk that tasted good)but it looked so cute. She would then nestle in the hay with them at night and if anyone had tried to touch one of those calves, she would have bitten them.

This is the story of our beautiful and dearest old dog. Let no-one ever be cruel to an animal, God’s given them to us for a very special reason.
May she and all other animals, who have passed on to a better place be remembered with respect,
love and thankfulness for what they gave to us.

Elizabeth Stolz Australia


Goodbye, our dearest Matilda,
Elizabeth Stolz