August 25, 2005 - February 9, 2014 


Dear Family and Friends,
On Sunday, February 9, 2014 about 5:30 p.m., I put my Sunshine, Monte down to rest.

Monte got sick on New Year’s Eve. He had multiple problems causing him to have continual nausea and vomiting. Multiple vets recommended surgery to determine the cause and attempt to fix him. Unfortunately, there was no way to know if he would fully recover. Given that Monte already struggled with hip pain, I opted not to subject either of us to surgery. I hoped that Monte’s little body would heal naturally.

He lived another six weeks. In that time, we traveled to Utah, found a house, explored Provo Canyon and Sundance Resort. Monte really liked the Provo Canyon Park. Here he is standing in the River and sitting like a good boy on the path. I could never keep that boy out of the water, even when it was freezing. He loved to “go swimmin”. I was hoping he would stay until summer to explore in the warmth and green.

During those six weeks, we had a relatively good quality of life – more good days than bad. He would still happily get my slippers, pick up the Frisbee, sing along to the Sing-a-ma-gig and go on short walks. He even wanted to go with me in the car even though rides made him nauseous. He loved being with me and I loved having him. He was my best friend.

He was certainly brave when I was around but I could tell he was struggling with pain and lots of nausea. When I was gone to work, he was suffering alone. He had some bad days and bad nights. He would stop eating and drinking. I fixed him “special food” to go with a ton of different medicines to soothe his stomach and intestines. After his bad nights, he would wake up all cleaned out and wanting to eat again. On Saturday, Monte had a terrible night.

I knew that I would have to hospitalize him again to rehydrate him. We would go through the same process again and again. He was still healthy enough to hang on for at least a few more weeks. We stopped at McDonalds to grab some hamburgers to share for the last time. Here he is waiting for the burgers at the drive-thru. He gobbled his last burger.

Believe me, I would have loved to have him another few weeks, but I couldn’t stand the thought of him suffering alone nine hours a day waiting for me to come home to love on him. So I ended his suffering.
A veterinarian came over. I played with him a bit. (I regret that this part happened so fast). We sang a song together while, the vet administered a sedative. He got really excited, trying to play but I grabbed him into my arms and sang to him while the sedative took full effect. The vet administered the drug to stop his heart while I clung to his warm body. I literally felt his spirit leave his broken body. His spirit was there with me while I held his physical body until his breathing and heart stopped.

He was cremated with a Frisbee, a picture of him (looking beautiful, of course) and me in Aspen, and his stuffed Lion Grandpa gave him. His ashes will be delivered to me in a wooden box with the inscription, “Monte, you are my Sunshine”. I will scatter his ashes in all his favorite watering holes to remember our greatest swimming adventures together.

Monday, I felt horribly guilty. I felt I had made a huge mistake, that I had let him go too soon. I felt like I was thinking irrationally because I was so tired and so concerned about his suffering. I felt I selfishly jumped to his conclusion. I knew he was sick but I didn’t let him make the decision to leave me. I knew he would have wanted to be with me until his heart stopped beating on its own. I made that choice for him and didn’t definitively know that was what he wanted. I felt sick with remorse and sick that I would have to live with my decision.

Tuesday morning, was really hard without him. I sat down with my coffee to read a bit as I normally do with him. I read a passage meant just for me that said,
“My peace is like a shaft of golden light shining on you continuously”.

At that moment the sun came up over the mountains and the golden light came through the window. I let it shine on my face and closed my eyes. When I barely opened my eyes, Monte’s image appeared in the liquid light and I could see him standing in some water looking right at me. I was redeemed.

Now I have to heal. I miss his beautiful and warm body but his spirit is still with me in the house, in the car and even at work now – happy and healthy. I also notice moments when he is not as near. Perhaps he is visiting you and all his doggy buddies. Let me know if you notice him around.

I dread hikes without him but know he will be with me in his spirit form and I will look for him in every stream, every flower and everysnowflake, but most of all in the shafts of golden light.

With love and light,
Monte’s Mommy