College of Veterinary Medicine

In Memory of Our Beloved...

Montag


  Montag

Montag (named for the fireman in Ray Bradbury's book Fahrenheit 451, but called Montague on all official documents) was a blue-merle Cardigan Corgi. He had to have been the most handsome and cute dog ever - with blue, blue eyes and black eye liner, huge upright ears, darling little stocky corgi legs, a long fluffy tail, and a cocky bold, but totally sweet attitude to boot.
My first husband and I got him as a puppy after I spent hours on the phone talking with dog people in at least five states. We wanted a herding dog, but one who would enjoy sailing. For the first four years of Montag's life he sailed nearly every weekend and for three weeks at a time in the summer. He loved to run up on the bow and bark his head off at the Dall's porpoises that surfed the bow wave. He knew all the sailing terms and then some. We could not say certain words because he understood too much, such as porpoise, seal, bow, cockpit, mid-ships (that meant he could disembark), down below, and go ashore (he jumped in the dinghy one time after we had said to each other "let's go ashore."),.


Montag shared the household with two cats - Stella and Silas. Even though Silas was always getting the better of Montag, such as blocking him so he couldn't go up the stairs, Montag truly loved the cats and would come to their aid any time a friend's dog got a little too rambunctious with them.
When Montag was four and a half, my first husband died in a car accident. The only reason I made it through the dark time of grief that followed was Montag's constant and ever present loving companionship. Montag accompanied me wherever I could manage to bring him -- work, appointments, and long, long LONG walks, gardening, and of course to all the off-leash parks. Montag was such a funny and sweet dog. He truly was a clown. We could spend hours playing hide and seek, go find the toy, etc. and we could spend hours just snuggling. (We even had a handsignal for "scratch butt.")
Everyone loved Montag. He was even welcome at the nursing home where my dear mother spent her final days.


After I had been widowed for a number of years I finally felt ready to date men. I figured I'd meet some nice guy in the ballroom dance classes I was taking. Meanwhile, Montag and I continued to go to the off leash park regularly. Montag always chose his favorite people and fellow dogs. He selected this nice man who had a beautiful border collie named Kip. Whenever they were at the park, Montag would seek them out and hang out with Kip. Kip's owner (or "dad" as we called him) was a man named Patrick. We'd talk together and play with the dogs.
Several months later Montag was attacked by a pit bull at the park (Patrick and Kip weren't there at the time). It was pretty scary, but a number of people helped me literally pry Montag's neck out of the pit bull's mouth.


After Montag's neck healed, we went back to the park. (I figured the pit bull owner wouldn't be there again, and I also figured little Montag needed to be able to claim the park as his again.) I was surprised because Montag, who was normally a very confident little dog, truly was very nervous about being at the park. The dog who gave him back his confidence was Kip -- Kippie -- who played fetch all afternoon with Montag and let Montag be the one to bring back every ball.
About this time Patrick rescued a second dog, an Australian Shepherd, whom he named Kiya. She was a little spit fire. Patrick, Kip, Kiya, Montag and I, along with two other friends, all went sheepherding. Montag was nine years old at this point. He absolutely loved chasing after those sheep! Patrick and I and all three of the dogs enjoyed the herding so much that we did it again several weeks later. Something magical happened that time because shortly after that Patrick and I became an item. Several months later we got engaged and moved in together. Between the two of us we had three dogs and, well, let's just say we were well above the city limit for cats.


So began Montag's final years. He loved being a part of a pack. He and Kiya were especially close. They both were clowns and they both were snugglers. Even though he was the shortest and the smallest, Montag remained the top dog for at least the first year after we all became one household. As he got older, being top dog was just too hard and he relinquished the job gracefully to Kiya. Most of all, Montag loved having a daddy! Montag absolutely adored Patrick and would follow him everywhere. And Patrick loved this silly little corgie. It truly did my heart good!


After Patrick and I got married, we bought 5 acres of land in Winthrop, Washington - a rural valley in the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Montag, Kip and Kiya loved the country. We built a house and this last June, moved out here. Oh the doggy days of rolling in deer pee, on a good day running through the pasture with Kip and Kiya, laying out on the deck when the summer evenings finally cooled down! But we knew we wouldn't get to have Montag with us for much longer. He suffered from oesteoarthritis. His hips were giving out and he could not walk on most surfaces. As his hips degenerated and the pain intensified, he became unable to follow us through the house, let alone take long walks outside. After a while the medication just couldn't bridge the gap.


We agonized. Montag was fourteen and a half years old, and true, his hearing, his eyesight and his cognition were all going, but other than the degenerating hips, he was incredibly robust. We researched options - dog carts, slings -- we tried dog booties to help him gain traction. Slowly we came to realize that we had come to a point where Montag could no longer enjoy any of the things that made life worth living. How do you reach that turning point? We are grateful to our veterinarian in Seattle and to our veterinarian in Winthrop who both listened and listened and guided us through all the questions that would help us reach a loving decision, and no doubt cried a little with us.


Little Montag's end was peaceful. We sedated him before bringing him to our vet to get euthanized. He fell asleep out in the sunshine on his dog bed while licking out an empty peanut butter jar. When our vet administered the final injection, Montag was calm. We drove him home and buried him next to a beautiful crab apple tree on our hill.


His passing has left a huge hole - in our hearts, in the fabric of our lives, but we are grateful Montag is no longer suffering. We are grateful for Kip and Kiya who keep us laughing and shaking our heads. We will never, ever forget the dear little Cardigan Corgi named Montag -- Montague.

 

Patrick and Kathryn H.

 

 



Last Edited: Oct 14, 2008 8:47 AM
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