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Story of the Month - September 2005    



Born: 14 June, 1999
The boy from Oz’
Canberra, Australia

Monty was a gift to me from my children. We had had 2 delightful longhaired standard Dachshunds named Fanfare Melaleuca aka Lady and, Fanfare Napoleon aka Poley when my children were growing up. Lady was 10 and Poley 8 when they passed on. I had always said I would get another dachshund at some time in the future but never got around to it. Other mixed breeds made their way into our family and our hearts for the next decade or so. Angela the Irish Wolfhound X, Josephine, a bull terrier X, Pep an aging Mastiff X and Tess, a lean and fast Greyhound X. I remember my late father always said that when he passed he wanted to come back in his next life as a dog but not just any dog – it had to be a Colbert dog (our family name). I think he thought our animals were ‘spoiled’ – spoiled, I don’t know about that but they were certainly loved.

Back in February 2000 my daughters went to the local show (or fair) and stopped by a dog show that was also happening in the grounds. There they saw Monty, a standard smooth Dachshund whose breeders were showing that day. Lowmont Loredell aka Monty was 7 months old at the time. Alas he was a failure in the show-ring because he had ‘attitude’ and other ‘blemishes’ such as a small growth in his eye (that we later had investigated and decided to leave in place as it does not cause him any problems). Because of his ‘faults’ his breeders had decided to sell him. Any way to cut a long story short my daughters contemplated on buying him overnight and went back the next day and brought him for me. We bonded straight away and our lives have been enriched every day since. Monty had been a ‘kennel’ dog and it took a while for him to get him used to the feel of grass under his feet. He also had a strange habit of ‘suckling’ on pillows and blankets as if feeding from his mum and continues to do this to this day. Monty never walked, he strutted, and on our walks people often made comments as they passed by about his color, and his cuteness. He loved long walks and encounters with kangaroos and rabbits would have him charging off after into the scrub in hot pursuit. He is a vocal little man and people laugh at me when I say that he speaks perfect English – he always understands exactly what I am saying and chats back often. He has ‘daybeds’ about the place but night-times he snuggles up with his pillow and blanket on our bed. If the temperature drops to low then he nudges at our blankets and burrows down under them.

Monty had his first back ‘episode’ when he was 2. I was walking him and he had stopped behind to mark a small bush as was his habit when he screamed and just suddenly went down in obvious excruciating pain. I will never forget his body, rigid with pain and the distress in his eyes. The vet gave him steroids and suggested acupuncture. Monty was the first dog to be treated with acupuncture at the surgery in Canberra and was treated for free so that they could assess the benefits of this ‘new’ therapy for dogs and to assist the therapist get his accreditation. Metacam became his long-term ‘arthritis’ medication. We were also told to confine him but Monty hated being crated and stressed. We resolved this by putting two large armchairs together to make a ‘nest’ for him with his favorite boomerang pillow, blankets and toys. He could see us and was content to remain in his ‘place’ and rested much better. We lifted him in and out to go to the toilet. He recovered but we were advised to restrict Monty from doing many of the things he had done previously. But Monty ‘with attitude’ had other ideas and delighted in ambushing the magpies that flew down to steal from his outside food dish and launching himself off the back steps in pursuit of the neighborhood cats that were doing tightrope acts along our back fence. He loved to travel in the car and was rarely without one of us. We had to stop him from going on long walks and with our indulgences and lack of exercise Monty did put on weight.

In July 2000 my husband became very ill. Monty became his constant companion- never leaving his side as he recovered from open heart surgery and similarly as he recovers from numerous surgical procedures and bouts of ill health ever since. Monty is very intuitive and able to sense my husband’s health and indeed mine if I am feeling unwell. He helped me through a difficult period in 2002. He will nestle in close, provide a comforting nudge, or simply rest his head against your foot just letting you know he is there. During these times he never asks for anything, treats etc but he knows that when we’re well it’s a different story. Heaven forbid the mum or dad who returns from the shops without a treat for the Dachshund in their bag.

In May this year Monty started to exhibit signs that he was again having problems but this time the onset was slow. On 31 May we woke up and Monty was paralysed, unable to control his bladder. He was distressed that he had wet himself. We rushed him to the vet who arranged for x-rays and administered pain meds. As Monty had to be anesthetized for the x-rays to be taken we had to leave him and wait for the results overnight. We were very upset that Monty had to be left at the surgery as he had never been away from both of us before and we knew he would stress. The x-rays were not as successful as the vet had hoped and he scheduled Monty for a further series the next day. We took our baby home after insisting on stronger pain relief for him (he was fitted with a pain patch) and nursed him throughout the night, constantly changing his bedding as he leaked urine, keeping him hydrated and calm. The next day we were called from the surgery and advised that surgery was necessary even without the new x-rays having been taken. The practice had already found a specialist in Sydney who was able to see Monty that day and we rushed him 370 kms to Sydney. Monty was operated on on 1 June, 2005. He had to go through this all alone as staying in Sydney was not an option for us. Our only link to him was via daily updates from the vet and the veterinary nurses who looked after his day-to-day care and rehabilitation.

Within days he was able to walk supported outside to toilet. He had bladder control back (although he still does leak just a little). We brought him home and his recovery continued here, he resumed acupuncture and continued on Metacam for pain relief.

When this latest ordeal started I began searching the internet for help and found Dodgerslist and Wonderful organizations whose members welcomed this woman who lived thousands of miles from them, offering comfort, support, advice, information about disc problems, treatments and supplements. They also gave me hope. I will be forever grateful to Linda Stowe, Barbara Taylor and Lin Emmans for their calmness, expert advice and for the friendship that they gave me during this stressful time and Guadalupe Rivera for her humor and videos which have helped me understand the condition more.

Today Monty is walking again albeit lopsided. His gait uneven and sometimes there’s a bunny hop or two. When he sets off now it’s with comments such as “get your balance first mate” or “slowly, slowly” following him as he sashays along. He now waits, usually impatiently, for us to answer his call to come and get him at the bottom of the steps and to lift him on and off the bed. He can’t lift his leg to toilet anymore but he has learnt to use the slope of the land or garden objects to give the illusion that he is and manages not to urinate on himself at the same time. He even sometimes manages a final indignant fluff of the vegetation before he sets off back inside. Most days he gets to go to work with his dad. Content to lay on the back seat with his blanket, pillow and a treat and guard the car when dad has to go to check something out. Other times are spent watching the world go by from his futon positioned at a window or on the back patio. He is back to being the most talkative, opinionated, stubborn, smart and loyal and most loving dog in the world. ‘Monty with attitude’ is back. Look out Hugh Jackman this boy from Oz can still strut his stuff!

Very sadly Monty passed away on 3 April 2006. He fought IVDD very bravely and was an inspiration to all. In his memory a donation was made to a local animal rescue organization. A memorial to Monty has been included on the Dachshund Memorial Website indexed under Lowmont Loredell (aka Monty Colbert) .... he will be missed by his family forever - until we meet again Mr Rabbit.
- submitted by Debra Colbert
Canberra, Australia


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