In Memoriam

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In July 1998, I was completing my last few months on a 14-year term with the US Air Force.  My 9-year-old bulldog, Winston's health was beginning to decline, and I made the decision to bring home a new addition to the family.  After much searching, I found a breeder in town who specialized in AKC pugs.  I made the appointment to meet with the breeder and visit with his most recent litter of 8-week old balls of fur.  I was greeted at the back gate by a gaggle of yapping and rambunctious little furry pugs that were so cute, I nearly bought them all! I quickly got on my knees and was overrun by the little guys and was quickly enveloped by the youthful smell of puppy breath. Licking, nipping, playing, the eight little pups were all so cute.  One in particular caught my eye because he was the most inquisitive, attentive, and playful. His coat was fawn color and he had a beautiful black mask and curly little tail.  He quickly melted my heart and I knew he would come home with me. On the way home, the little guy sat in a box in the passenger seat of the car.  He kept trying to get out of the box, and I took him out and held him against my chest.  He quickly crept up to my shoulder and began nibbling at my ear.  It was the sweetest feeling!  He immediately settled onto my shoulder and began snoozing all the way home.  I introduced him to the family that day, and he immediately became a part of the clan.  My bulldog, Winston was curious and ultimately took on the role of "big brother" to the little guy. We settled on the name, Monty.  Short for Montgomery, as in Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, in keeping with the British name theme in the house, i.e., Winston (Churchill). Monty quickly became the terror of the house!  He was fast, wild, and unstoppable.  If he wasn't into trouble, Monty was pestering Winston relentlessly.  Winston was patient, yet stern with the little guy.  Winston taught Monty the finer points of being a good little brother.  From going outside when needed to killing balloons, to eating tomatoes, bananas, and strawberries.  Monty picked up all the lessons and internalized them quickly.  Winston left us three short years later, but Monty was by his brother's side mourning him and placing his head on his brother's motionless haunch.  A few weeks later, a group of faceless terrorists hijacked four airplanes and turned our country up-side-down and forced even further mourning on our family. Twelve years have passed since Monty lost his brother.  There were many moves, a divorce, changes in addresses, a new sister (a pug name Lulu), more moves, a new love for daddy, another move, a marriage resulting in a new mother, a new kitty brother (Nico), and the ailments of an aging body.  Monty spent the last 2-years of his life living, eating, sleeping, and enjoying the tranquility of the family that loved him. Monty never ceased to amaze us. Even through the aches, pains, and age, he always found the strength to find his way to the kitchen and wait for mom's strawberry, banana, or tomato treats.  He always knew where to find us.  Even with the blindness and lack of hearing, Monty always had the sense to know where we were.  He loved his brother, sister, his mom and dad to the end. He left us on a Monday morning.  I discovered him as I was getting ready for my workday.  Monty was laying in his bed, and he appeared to be sleeping when I walked in. I shook him to wake him up, but he was already gone.  I carried him upstairs to be with my wife and we laid him on the floor and mourned our Boy's lifeless body.  Lulu joined us and watched from a distance unsure what to do.  Nico began meowing and the morning became very quiet in our home. Monty was returned to us in a decorative wooden box.  His ashes a reminder of a life fulfilled and never to be forgotten.  Most research shows that Lulu and Nico can mourn the loss of their brother.  In our house, the research is supported by Lulu constantly following me and aware of something missing in her life.  Nico roams the house meowing as if asking where he can find his lost companion.  My wife prepares breakfast in the morning under the watchful eye of only Lulu.  She wells up at the thought of the quiet and lack of Monty's presence.  I think back to the loss of my other boy, Winston, and try to remember how long it took me to stop mourning.  For now, I live my days with Monty on my mind: his eyes, his soft fur, his velvet like ears, and his sweet, sweet disposition.  Such a faithful companion, with nothing but love and honesty to give.  Again, I wonder how long my mourning will last. This is in Memoriam of Monty.  We miss him every day.  We'll love him to the end of time.  A sweet little pug who touched the lives of many and opened our hearts and minds to unconditional love and dedication.