I could see that Mr. Monty was growing slower…. I was administering 5 medications twice a day to keep his Congestive Heart Failure under control…..but none of that prepared me for the inevitable….my heart still beats with a hollow pain.
Five years ago we purchased this beautiful New England styled Bed and Breakfast on a quiet street in the Montford Historic District of Asheville, NC, sitting on an acre and a half. It was a bit overwhelming to keep in focus what this unique 100 year old home could be transformed back to, it’s early days of grandeur with a bit here and a bit there, accomplished with an a bottomless purse.
One member of our family was beside himself with JOY…Mr. Monty! From day one, once he hit the ground it was open territory for frolic, squirrel chasing and just plain full force running, circling the exterior of the house. Guests remarked that we must have those electrical hidden fences because our dogs never left the yard; even if they chased off an intruder with four legs. They never ran any further than the boundaries. I remarked that, ” No, we did not have a hidden electrical fence. We did have an alpha member (Larry) of our little pack who would murder them if they went too far and that Miss Maggie and Mr. Monty were actually fraidy-cats.”
Inside, Mr. Monty decided that he was Applewood Manor Inn’s Official Guest Embassador. He loved greeting guests at the front door and leading the tour around the house. In the morning he rushed up stairs. Listened at each door and the room that had the most sounds of movement, he would lay across the threshold, napping until their door opened. He would jump up to wait for a petting, then escort the guest downstairs to the dining room. Repeating this process until everyone was eating in the dining room and scout out who was most likely a sucker to sneak tidbits to him. He had his dignified standard of never jumping up to harass, but lay quietly at the foot of the selected guest and stare intently, sending silent messages praying for shared morsels.
One of the most memorable stories of Monty and his gentle infectious personality concerns a Priest from London, who stayed with us. Father E stayed 6 days with us (our only guest at the time) and when he arrived he informed us that, “He was not too fond of doggies.” I made a mental note to keep Mr. Monty and Miss Maggie under wraps and away from Father E. Upon the morning of his departure, he presented us with a pillow (which now holds a place of honor in our parlor) which had embroidered- What Part of Woof Do You Not Understand? As explained to us, I had failed. Mr. Monty at least twice a day would meander upstairs after Father E’s return. Push open the bedroom door, sniff the perimeter of the Granny Smith room, jump up onto the bed where Father E. sat and nudge his hand to be petted. When sufficiently acknowledged, he would jump down, pausing at the threshold of the room, turn back looking at Father E as if to say, quoting the Father, “Everything is secure, I will return later. Good day.”
It seems that Father E had a frightening experience as a child, with a vicious dog. He had a fear of all dogs, as I suspected. Mr. Monty cured that fear. Father E left with the name of Mr. Monty’s breed (Australian Silky Terrier) on one of our business cards.
So besides being my little champion since he was 6 weeks old, he would bark (this became a game) as if to defend me, if Larry even pinched my butt! He was vigorous and still chasing squirrels up until he was almost 14 years old…….my tender Veterinarian presented us with a photo of Mr. Monty and this laminated story I want to share…..
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Ridge. When an animal dies that has been close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Ridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together,but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together……