Cats are amazing, loving animals who can be wonderful companions. Cats are cleaner, cheaper and quieter than their main pet rival and they were once worshipped as gods. You don’t have to walk a cat in the rain, you don’t have to pick up shit out of the gutter. You also don’t hear of children getting savaged to death by an out of control cat.
But, as an overall pet and companion, dogs will always be better than cats. You can talk about Lucca, a Bomb detecting German Shepherd who successfully completed over 400 missions during six years of active service. Therapy dogs like the nine Golden Retrievers who went to Sandy Hook after the massacre in 2012 and many other disasters. And then there’s Kelsey, another Golden Retriever who saved his owner from certain death after he slipped and became paralysed in the snow on New Years Eve. From helping the blind, to supporting the deaf, dogs can be amazing companions. These are the things that make dogs a better animal than cats and if you want one final example then read up about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier who saved some kittens.
And then there’s Monty. Monty joined Lucy and I in January 2013. He, like many of the dogs quoted above is a Golden Retriever. But unlike those heroic dogs mentioned above Monty is, well, Monty.
He hates the vet. We literally have to drug him to get him there despite our best efforts to get him used to having injections. We once paid a ‘dog whisperer’ £100+ to help with the administering of flea treatment. After over an hour of talk and a little action the trainer tried the strong approach and attempted to forcefully apply the flea treatment to Monty’s neck. Monty nipped the guys wrist and we called it quits.
Monty once ate a whole fish that he found on the seafront, a jelly shot (and plastic shot glass) and entire packet of sandwiches wrapped in cling film. On one holiday, we struggled to carry six stone Monty over a gate. Having just about managed the herculean effort of getting him over we turned our attention to my mother-in-laws dog only to see Monty gleefully rolling around in cow crap twenty meters away. We then had to carry our glorious shit stained dog over two more gates.
We don’t have anyone to blame apart from ourselves for this behaviour. We bought Monty as a puppy and did our best to train him. We socialise him with children and take him to the vets regularly despite him not being great with either. Monty is now a little over 5 years old and is mellowing slightly but he will always require a certain level of attention depending on the situation. Right now he’s sleeping on the sofa next to me and he’s totally relaxed. Later I’ll walk him around the streets. I’ll need to be wary of random bits of litter, shit, vomit and other distractions that might set him off.
Monty is a serious responsibility in my life. We keep strict boundaries to keep him and others safe and we ensure that he is well looked after and socialised to keep him healthy and happy.
And the best thing? My list of (sometimes hilarious) negatives is part of what makes owning a dog so special. Monty is a perpetual toddler, albeit one you can leave behind without fear of disaster. I can take Monty to the pub and bask in the smiles that he receives from the other patrons. Monty is also my gym and my therapist. I spend over an hour every day enjoying my walks with Monty and even when I’m shattered from a day at work that little bit of a time outside of the house is just the thing I need.
Monty was there for both of us when we have lost loved ones. He will run up the stairs and force you to stroke him when you are crying. He will try and lick your face and lean against you, anything that his simple mind can think of in order to get your brain out of grief and back into happiness. He is magnificent.
Monty has made me a more tolerant person and certainly more responsible too. He has kept me fit and healthy and has brought Lucy and I closer together than any other creature. As stated in my last blog I have no idea whether I will have children but that’s actually okay in my eyes. If all I have for the rest of my life is a dog like Monty then I will be the luckiest human I know. Thanks fella.