There are now three boys populating my household: my husband, my brother, and Monty the rescue beagle/pointer. Monty may be the newest to my life, but he sure has planted himself deeply in my affections – as I type it is 6:30am (I’m not especially inclined towards early rising), and I’ve already been for a walk and steamed through work e-mails in his company, all because he did a little lonely howling and I couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering.
While not really in the market for a dog, I stumbled across Monty during a casual scan of the Wild At Heart Foundation website after reading an article in the paper about their efforts to encourage the adoption of stray dogs. I was compelled to enquire about him after reading his story and seeing those huge, sad saucer eyes stare out of the screen.
He’d had a tough old life, living on the streets of Cyprus, and when the foundation found him he was so skinny that they thought he’d die. He’d clearly been hit at some point (as is evidenced by his nerves when being berated for any occasional naughtiness), and had subsisted off stolen scraps (again: current behaviour betrays this past – he’ll eat absurdly quickly, getting at the bowl by craning his head around the door frame so as to be able to getaway speedily should he need to). When we asked the Foundation’s Eve if there was a particular sort of bed we should buy him we were met with the answer: ‘he’s never had a bed, so I think he’d be delighted with any!’
Adopting him was one of the best decisions we’ve made – small though he is, Monty’s impact on the members of the Spencer household has been seismic. The mornings start more early and evenings at home are no longer given over to box sets and the consumption of chocolate but rather to bonus dog walk time (he gets two walks as a rule, three if we can squeeze them in). We all now think that coming in the front door to be greeted by a full body wag is the best thing ever. On a superficial level, my cheeks glow, my legs are firmer and my fitness has shot up – forget gym trainers, dogs are the best incentive to get out and exercise. Being among nature with him has also had a huge effect on the happiness of our house: gulping in fresh air and seeing the seasons slowly turn has proved grounding and buoying to the spirits.
Right – time for Monty to play with the ball outside. I’ll leave you with a couple of snaps of us on a walk recently – as ever, he was so delighted by the scents and potential of catching a squirrel (this is his dearest doggy dream), that posing for the camera was the last thing on his mind – in the Monty tales to follow I’ll try to get a snap where he looks like we’re actually friends (we are! He’s licking my toe as I type!)…