Monty came from White Lodge in December 2004, aged about 18 months.
We were looking for a companion for Kai and had found White Lodge on the internet. During our visit to "interview" potential companions, and be interviewed, we were introduced to a veritable parade of hounds, none of whom Kai seemed to hit it off with. Then, almost in desperation, Monty was brought in. He'd only arrived at White Lodge from Ireland a couple of days before and was extremely shy and nervous. Until he met Kai. It was like two long lost friends meeting; tails up and wagging, and sniffing of bits – Kai had made his choice. Claire (who ran White Lodge at the time) told us to go home and think about it and call the next day if we still wanted to go ahead. To be fair she didn't know us from Adam so didn't know that we were totally serious. Next day came, the call was made and arrangements put in place for a home check the following weekend.
Saturday arrived and so did Lynne, with an extremely timid greyhound in tow. He went out into the garden with Kai while Lynne asked us a few questions. We must have answered them correctly and Kai and Monty were getting on fine in the garden, because following a call back to HQ to see if everything was OK at that end, Lynne left sans greyhound.
Unable to navigate the stairs, Monty slept in the hall. Kai, who usually slept upstairs, spent the first few nights with Monty until he could manage them (took about three or four days). The pair of them were firm friends the instant they met and remained so; so much so that they were called the Symbiont Beast.
Monty had been rescued by Wexford Pet Helpers. They had received a call telling them to get to a farm where the guy had a couple of bitches and a dog he was getting rid of one way or the other; they had a couple of hours to get there. Sadly, by the time they got there the girls had been sold for breeding, leaving the dog. He had a broken a toe at some point and so no good for racing and so no‐one would buy him; if Wexford Pet Helpers hadn't gone to get him he would have been "round the back of the barn with a shotgun" (the breeders words). When Wexford Pet Helpers got there he was in a dark barn and refused to come out; when they got him out he ran straight back in. When they finally got him in the car they decided he was not going to the kennels and went home with one of them. The dog didn't have a name; the breeder just called him "the dog"; he was christened Monty. He did have lots of bite marks on his neck; apparently the breeder just threw food into the barn, then it was every hound for themselves. Monty was t Wexford Pet Helpers' first Greyhound and they didn't know what to do with him; at that time hardly anyone considered Greyhounds as pets in the Republic of Ireland. A lovely lady called Mary Organ got involved; she had the contacts to get Monty to the UK and organised getting the funds for his transport and then the actual transport to White Lodge.
Monty was incredibly timid to begin with; his early explains why. At meal times he had to be alone in the kitchen – no hounds or humans – before he would eat; again, what he' explains why. For weeks his life was spent in one room except for when he ate, was in the garden, or out for a walk. Gradually he gained his confidence; I liken it to peeling the layers off an onion. The first signs were not going back upstairs straight away after tea, and a black nose would peer round the door of the lounge. After a bit the black nose, followed by the rest of Monty, came into the lounge, had a bit of fuss then left; gradually the bit of fuss became bigger bits. Then he discovered the sofa. From there it all came together; being on the sofa meant cuddles which meant I became a nice person in his eyes which meant I could be with him when he ate and he trusted me when out and … This took over 6 months to get to, and it taught me a lot.
After that Monty changed from a hound that wouldn't say boo to a goose into a very confident Beastly Boy (not a Beastly Beast at that time) that loved life; though even then his confidence only really showed through when he was in places he knew well. The exception to that was Little Dumpledale where Monty was at home from day one; he loved the woods and the beaches and especially watching the feral cats that lived in the barn of the farm next to Little Dumpledale at the time
Once the true Monty started to come out so did his playful side. Indoors this entailed Monty chucking a toy around the living room then pouncing on it; thing was, it didn't matter where the toy had landed, he would pounce on it. In the garden, he would run up one side of the garden then down the other while barking which would get both neighbour's dogs to start barking at each other; meanwhile Monty would come back indoors looking pleased with himself.
Monty was a blood donor and being one, if not saved his life, saved him from being very ill and potentially major surgery. After a donation he was found to have a raised liver enzyme. The level of this enzyme is typically raised when the body is fighting off an infection, but Monty'ts levels were through the roof. At this point Monty showed no sign of anything being wrong. Had it not been discovered his liver function could have declined and the liver started dying; this would have eventually led to physical signs, but by then a lot of damage would have been done to the liver. Treatment would have meant a biopsy to confirm and major surgery to remove the dead/diseased part of the liver; it goes without saying what risks that would have involved and what the post-op issues would have been. As it was, Monty had a course of liver support drugs for a few weeks and his blood regularly tested. The enzyme level came back down to normal (it is naturally higher in greyhounds than other breeds) and after it had been stable for a few months he started donating again. Without early detection Monty could have had a very different life; indeed, there would have been a real risk of him dying. Because PBBuk found the problem and Monty got treatment so early he went on to live a full and active life and even made emergency blood donations at our vet after he was retired from PBBuk.
Monty lived to a good age and was still chasing (not catching) rabbits up to a couple of days before his death. Something, probably neurological, happened that meant he became really unsteady on his legs. Sadly he didn't recover and I found him lying in his own mess unable to get up. I cleaned him and got him back on the sofa and made that phone call; he left with my tears on his head.
Monty was my first Greyhound, a true gentleman, and it was thanks to him I learned about the reality of the racing industry. All the Beasts that followed him owe him a debt of gratitude as do I because thanks to Monty I have met lots of brilliant people and been to places and done things I otherwise wouldn't have.