WARNING: One of the pictures in this story might be disturbing to some readers.
EDMONTON — There’s a reason dogs are called man’s best friend, or in this case woman’s best friend.
An Alberta woman, who lives in Arizona during the cold winter months, owes her life to her dog after she fell off her horse while riding in the desert nearly two weeks ago.
Tracy Matkea, along with her three-year-old dog, Becky Jo, was out for a ride on one of her colts when the accident occurred. While she doesn’t remember exactly what happened, she knows she fell off the horse and hit her head.
Matkea, who’s from Calahoo, Alta., said she doesn’t know what she would have done had Becky Jo not been along for the journey.
“My horse came home and then shortly after that my dog came home and that alerted my husband,” Matkea said via Skype from in Wickenburg, Ariz. Thursday afternoon.
“He found it, of course, odd when the horse came home without me but he thought, ‘Something must have happened and she’ll come walking home.'”
When Matkea didn’t return home, her husband decided to take out the four-wheeler and look for her. Matkea’s husband tried to get Becky Jo to jump onto the vehicle to come along for the ride, but she refused.
“She wouldn’t come up into the driveway like she normally would,” Matkea said of Becky Jo. “She just circled and barked at the end of the driveway. And all we can think is she was telling him, ‘Come and follow me.’
“She just wanted to lead him down to where I was.”
And that’s exactly what she did.
“We’re pretty lucky to have the dog that we have,” Matkea said. “I feel very, very fortunate. Very fortunate.”
Matkea got over 100 stitches and staples in her head and scalp from a massive laceration. She suffered a major concussion, broke her orbital bone and ended up with several cuts and bruises.
Doctors told her it was very “close to the end” for her because one of the main arteries in her head was severed.
“There was quite a bit of blood loss and they’re saying it’s about an eight to 10-minute window that I had left down there had someone not found me.”
It’s been 12 days since the accident and Matkea said she’s feeling okay, but it’ll likely be another two months before she rides a horse again.
“I’ve always ridden so I will never probably not ride.”
Matkea said she and her husband will return home to Calahoo once she is cleared to fly.
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