Readers of my blog know that our family has an abiding affection for Monty, our first Pyrenean Mountain Dog. He really was a human on four legs, and liked nothing better than being in the company of his bipeds. I am sure he understood everything we said, although he conveniently practised the art of selective hearing whenever he felt like it!
Monty was a dog of huge character, and loved people. Aside from accidents, he was only truly naughty once – when he snapped at me for retrieving an inedible cupcake wrapper with a tiny amount of potentially poisonous chocolate muffin stuck to it from under his nose. His ‘reward’ was such a huge telling off from me that he never tried that ruse again. Unlike most dogs, he was contrite for the two days that I remained cross with him. (Most dogs seem to have fairly short-term memories when it comes to the reason(s) for chastisement.) By the time I had relented on the third day, and acknowledged his presence again, he had learnt his lesson well: to test him, I held a little piece of chocolate muffin sans wrapper at his mouth; he drooled, but would not touch it. (N.B. Chocolate can be poisonous to dogs.)
A big handsome male, Monty was photographed by all and sundry whenever he went for a walk. We took him out in the city, town, and country, and he soaked up all the attention he received as if it was his due. He was gentle with children, enjoyed ‘talking’ with the adults, and would sit by anyone’s side listening to stories all day long if given the opportunity. When he visited my parents-in-law, he would sit by my father-in-law while he regaled Monty with anecdotes about his life. Monty looked intelligently and indulgently at him, and almost seemed to nod at the correct moments.
All Monty wanted was to be petted. He would look deep into the speaker’s eyes and gaze lovingly at that person, for all the world that he was that person’s greatest admirer. Monty was loyal, protective, kindly, affectionate, and patient. He thought of himself as a person – so a person he became in the eyes of his family and extended family. Even my sister, who is not a dog lover, became a Monty fan. Monty knew he was loved, and he loved us all back with the passion and devotion that many pet dogs are capable of.
Monty was also stoical and courageous. As our beloved pet got older, we noticed that he had developed a sudden aversion to putting one hind leg on the ground. Nevertheless, he did not complain. Our (very expensive) vet at the time diagnosed Monty incorrectly: which meant that while his bones were literally crumbling with cancer and he was suffering excruciating pain, the vet was only recommending Metacalm for arthritis! Hubby and I were so upset when another vet finally diagnosed osteosarcoma after months of numerous futile visits, particularly when we realised we could have spared Monty some of that awful pain he must have experienced day and night. Yet, all that time, Monty presented a happy demeanour, and took eager part in all our family activities.
Hubby and I thought we would never again be able to face the heartbreak we experienced when Monty was put to sleep. We decided at the time that we would never have another dog again: one gets so attached to it, only to see it ill and unable to continue living. But when we told Rescue that the lovely dog they had entrusted to us had now passed away, they asked us to take on not one, but two dogs. Our softheartedness was our undoing; but that, as the saying goes, is another story.
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