August 9, 2009

Monty gets his very own Wheelies!

It's been a while since I have updated everyone on Monty's progress. As you all may remember, Monty (short for Sir Montague), is the GSD that was hit by a passenger train in Montclair, NJ right before Christmas last year. He came to my rescue early in January 2009. In addition to a severed spinal cord, a fractured skull and a nasty load of hookworms, Monty also tested positive for heartworm. That floppy ear, which at first the vets thought might have been partially cut off during the accident, is floppy due to chronic ear infections which caused hematomas that were more than likely not treated. There is so much scar tissue on the ear that it is now "too heavy" to stand up like the other one. Our feeling is that it adds yet more "character" to a dog that is about the most wonderful, sweet, good-natured, "take-life-as-it-comes-and-be-happy" creature that all of us who have come to know him have ever met.

Monty has come a long way since the day I drove to Montclair to get him. He is now a pro at getting around in a wheel chair and just comes alive when he is in it. He is also quite mobile and independent even without the chair. Monty's wonderful foster parents, Donna and Rick, live on 14 acres of land; in the mountains. They have a couple of rather daunting hills, I know it would be a challenge for ME to go up and down those hills. But Monty is quite capable of running up and down those hills, with or without that wheel chair and will only "allow" Rick to help him with a harness when he feels he needs it. When he is in the wheel chair, Rick has to keep Monty on a long leash or Monty will take off and Rick cannot keep up with him. Rick takes Monty on a 2-4 mile hike around their property just about every day and Monty has gotten so bold that he has taken some too-tight turns trying to chase down a bunny or squirrel and has flipped the chair a couple of times. He now knows to wait patiently until Rick can catch up and get him uprighted and off he goes again.

Monty had been using a wheel chair generously loaned to us by a friend. We just recently had a K-9 Carts wheel chair custom made for him and we went to Maryland to pick it up last Wednesday. Monty came along so his new chair could be properly adjusted. It was a very long trip, about 4 hours each way. But he was just great and when we finally got down to Oxford, MD and we put him in his new chair, he immediately started trotting down the street and around the huge field in back of the facility. Dr. Parkes (K-9 Carts) took some video of Monty trying out his new wheelies (see link below). Also below is a link to a short video one of my volunteers took a couple of weeks ago of Monty in his "loaner." This was taken at the end of his run. He started out by running up that hill (which by the way is MUCH steeper than it looks from this angle) like a bat out of hell, walked around the property for at least 20-30 minutes and then ran down the hill on the way back.

Please spread the word about Monty, he is looking for just the right permanent home. He needs a family that is just as special and big-hearted as he is. He has survived against all odds and continues to inspire everyone he meets, now he just needs the happy ending he so truly deserves.

My deepest gratitude to everyone who has so generously donated towards his care over the last few months and above all to Donna and Rick, Monty's amazing foster parents. Without them, Monty would have become another sad statistic.

Video: Monty at the end of one of his hikes


April 6, 2009

Monty sends his very best!

It has been a while since the last post, it is always hectic and just when I think I will have a few minutes to update everyone on Monty, something comes along I need to deal with and another day goes by.

Monty continues to get healthier and stronger every day. He is really enjoying the nice weather and being able to go for walks with the other dogs in his foster home. Donna, Monty's foster mom, has been extremely busy with her work recently and hasn't been able take a day off so we can take Monty to MD to get measured for his custom wheel chair but, in the mean time, he is making do with another wheel chair one of my friends had. He is really learning to get around in the chair and will even try to chase the "fuzzy" wild life, he would just LOVE to catch up with one of them squirrels or bunnies! Donna tells me if he wasn't paralyzed, Monty would be a "flight risk" for sure. We are hoping to get him to MD in the next couple of weeks.

We have started his heartworm treatment now that his other problems are pretty much under control.

Below are a couple new pictures of Monty, doesn't he look handsome? I am waiting for new video of Monty in the wheel chair, as soon as I get it from Donna, I will uploaded here so you all can see how great he is doing.

My sister, Maria, has made these 3 cell phone/pda charms that she is donating to my rescue to raise funds for Monty's ongoing care and expenses. She is also working on putting together a dog-theme pair of earrings. We only have these 3 charms right now but if others are interested in them, we can certainly make up more! If you would like to purchase one of these cell charms, please email me.

We still have one of the necklace and earring sets available, see the Red paw print in a heart set (silver) listed in our last post.

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your continued support and good wishes for Monty.

Cellphone charm with orange glass bead, light blue Swarovski crystal, and pewter dog charm.


Cellphone charm with blue and pink glass bead, pink Swarovski crystal, and two-sided pewter charm featuring a paw print on one side and ‘heart my dog’ on the other.


Cellphone charm with red and green glass bead, red Swarovski crystal, and pewter bone charm.


March 13, 2009

More paw print jewelry is coming soon!

Gloria's paw print jewelry has been a big hit! We still have one set available, the red paw print in a heart with silver necklace set (see previous post). If anyone is interested in that one, please let me know.

Gloria is busy making more sets like the ones that have been sold out, also a couple of new designs and my sister is working on making some bracelets and cellphone charms. I expect some of these will be ready in the next week or so.

Let us know if you are interested in a specific set or item and we will get those made up and ready for shipping as soon as we can.

Thank you all for your support with Monty's care!


February 22, 2009

Wear beautiful jewelry and help Monty get his Wheelies!

Gloria, one of my rescue friends who lives in NJ, is very generously donating some wonderful jewelry pieces she has made herself to help me raise funds to pay for Monty's custom made wheelchair. The wheelchair is going to cost somewhere around $500-$600. Because of the nature of Monty's injury to the middle of his back, we need a chair that will be built to his specific needs and measurements. We are planning on getting Monty to the K-9 Carts facility early in March so he can be measured.

Buy the necklace, the earrings or the complete set!

If you would like to purchase any of these items, please email me at:, let me know what you would like to purchase, your address and I can give you a total including shipping costs. You will have the option to pay via PayPal or with a personal check. Most of these pieces are one of a kind so they are first come, first serve! If you are interested in a set that has already been sold out, let us know, we might be able to order the charms and make a set that is similar to the one you like.

Embossed silver paw print in a heart set

Necklace is a soft, light grey leather. Earrings are for pierced ears and hooks are sterling silver. The charms are made of pewter and are easily cleaned with a mild soap and soft cloth. Necklace is 16 in. long with amber and soft green glass beads. Both items are brand new. Definitely for the pet lover of the family.

Necklace: $20
Earrings: $10
Set: $27

Thank you Simie!

Blue paw print charm set

Earrings are for pierced ears and hooks are sterling silver. Paw print charm is pewter and cleans easily with a soft cloth and mild soap. Necklace chain is 16 in long. Both are brand new. The blue crystals are Swarovski crystals. Very pretty.

Necklace: $18
Earrings: $8
Set: $23

Thank you Nike!

Red paw print in a heart set (leather)

Earrings are for pierced ears and hooks are sterling silver. Necklace is a soft, maroon leather. The charms are made of pewter and are easily cleaned with a mild soap and soft cloth. Necklace is 16 in. long and both items are brand new.

Necklace: $20
Earrings: $10
Set: $27

Thank you Beth!

Red paw print in a heart set (silver)

Earrings are for pierced ears and hooks are sterling silver. Both the necklace and earrings have pink quartz stones as an accent piece. The charms are made of pewter and are easily cleaned with a mild soap and soft cloth. Necklace is 16 in. long and both items are brand new.

Necklace: $20
Earrings: $10
Set: $27

Delicate twist chain, sitting cat set

Earrings are for pierced ears and hooks are sterling silver with a clear accent bead on each earring. The charms are made of pewter and are easily cleaned with a mild soap and soft cloth. Necklace is 16 in. long. Both items are brand new. A great gift for your favorite cat lover.

Necklace: $18
Earrings: $8
Set: $23

Thank you Mary in NY!

For those of you who like the excitement of winning a prize, we are holding a raffle for the beautiful set below. This was hand made by my sister Maria and generously donated to raise funds for my rescue. Maria makes wonderful jewelry which you can see at her website, Believe Street.

We will draw a winner on March 15, 2009.

Carved Carnelian and Asian beads set

Stand out in a crowd wearing this one-of-a-kind necklace and earring set created in beautiful nature hues and sterling silver. The 16” necklace features an eye-catching flower pendant carved in carnelian, a semi-precious stone. The pendant is accented by ceramic Asian-inspired beads, rhyolite, pressed glass beads, and sterling silver. The two-inch extender allows you to wear it at any length from 16” to 18”. The matching earrings feature ceramic beads and rhyolite beads on sterling silver wires.

Retail Value: $75

Buy your chances here!

February 9, 2009

With Love, From Monty

Hello to my fandom!

My name is Monty, although, my temporary mom sometimes calls me Sir Montague. I am "the dog who lived" (for those of you who are Potter fans), otherwise known as the "train-wreck dog from New Jersey." I wanted to let you all know that I am feeling so much better after my accident even tho I have a long way to go until I can find a forever home.

Also, I want to thank all of you dear two-footed people who donated money toward my doctor bills and medicines. Mom says after my back is healed more I am going to get a wheelchair... not sure what that is, but she promised me I would really like it. Thank you one and all!

Mom says I should tell you some of the details about all my boo-boos since it's been 6 weeks since the accident. Well, first of all, my skull fracture seems to be completely healed and you can hardly even see the scar on my head any more. All the doctors said I had two fractures in my back, one of which made my backend paralyzed. I can't tell when I have to "go" and I continually wet the bed. I just HATE that, so every chance I get, I "walk" across the floor to get away from the mess until mom changes the bedding; mom is doing A LOT of laundry! I have a "changing pad" just like a baby, and mom routinely attempts to empty my bladder for me. It is so-o-o-o undignified, but I love my mom for doing it.

In addition to all that, I have a urinary tract infection and two bedsores. One of the bedsores is almost completely healed, but the other one is pretty nasty, and mom keeps putting medicine on it. Soon, I am going to get different medicine to treat the heartworms that I got 'cause nobody took such good care of me before. If that wasn't enough, I have an ear that is floppy due to a previously untreated ear infection, and it keeps getting gunky and needs to be cleaned out several times each week. It itches like heck, and mom rubs my ears a lot which I really like.

I can sit up now and often do, so I can better schmooze mom. I also give her high five and show my belly for some nice belly-rubs. She thinks I am really, really smart, but she ain't seen nothing yet!

I gotta tell you, this foster home stuff is pretty cool. I have 4 other temporary brothers and sisters, but one of them is waiting for her forever home too. They don't pay very much attention to me, tho. I guess I'm not much fun right now. I get two really yummy meals every day with lots of goodies in between. Mom thinks she is hiding those rotten tasting meds in there, but I don't care. I especially like the home-made peanut butter treats.

I hope you all will keep praying for my continued improvement. Best wishes and thank you again!

Love, Monty

February 8, 2009

The Dog Lived!

Cats are supposed to have nine lives. Dogs, like their best friend, only one. But there are a few special dogs that defy the rules.

Montague -- or Monty, as he is known to his growing list of fans -- is one of those special dogs. We have no idea where Monty came from or where he was heading on Monday, December 22, 2008, but he sure was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Monty was walking along railroad tracks as a passenger train was pulling into the station in Montclair, NJ. It was already dark; there was snow on the ground. Did Monty realize where he was? Did he hear that train coming? Did he try to get out of the way? I wish I could find the engineer who was running that train. If he saw Monty on the tracks, I am sure he at least tried to slow down, but maybe he didn't even see the dog in the dark.

Roberto, one of Montclair's animal control officers, was most likely looking forward to going home when the call came about Monty. It was after 6 P.M.; I am sure the last thing he wanted to deal with was another dead animal. Dr. Negrin, the veterinarian for the township, was wrapping things up for the day. She told Roberto she would wait until he got back with the body. They both know the odds of a dog surviving a train hit are pretty slim. But this isn't just any dog, and his life was not meant to end that cold, snowy night underneath a train.

Dr. Negrin couldn't make out what Roberto was screaming into his walkie-talkie, but she could hear his sirens blaring. That meant only one thing; that dog was still alive, and she was not ready to deal with an emergency. She was just about done cleaning up the clinic. While Roberto raced through town, Dr. Negrin rushed to get the surgery room ready to deal with what was likely to be a critically injured dog.

Unless they are animal lovers, most people don't really notice things like dogs being hit by a train. I am sure most of the people who got off that train didn't know about Monty, didn't really notice the dog laying on that platform with Roberto and a police officer trying to figure out how to get him into the truck and on his way to the animal hospital. They were rushing to get home to dinner, to their last-minute holiday shopping, to pick up their children at day care. Who can blame them for not noticing a stray dog that didn't know how to stay off the tracks?

Luckily for Monty, there was someone getting off another train who is a writer and a reporter and whose job it is to notice things others don't. It doesn't hurt that he is an animal lover too, so he took the time to take a picture and to write about The Dog and The Train. That blog on made it to the rescue lists and before long just about everyone in rescue knew about the German Shepherd that was hit by the train.

For the first week after the accident, Dr. Negrin and her staff continued caring for Monty. They were amazed that he survived the accident, and prayed his owners would be found. Monty was alive and he was improving every day but his injuries were severe and would mean almost certain death if his owners did not come forward. Monty's back was "broken." One of his vertebrae so badly dislocated, you could actually see a hump in the middle of his back. His back legs were completely paralyzed, there was a good possibility his spinal cord was severed. He also had a skull fracture. His condition required significant medical care, maybe surgery and most likely months of rehabilitation. His prognosis was a huge question mark. Shelters cannot care for a dog with such severe injuries. After having survived the train accident, Monty needed yet another miracle: if his owners did not reclaim him, his only real chance would be to find a rescue willing to take him. But most rescues are overwhelmed with unwanted animals looking for homes, they can't even find homes for all the healthy animals out there, the sad reality is that a dog like Monty is simply not very adoptable. These are just the kind of cases I find compelling, they are a challenge and they don't always have happy endings but when they do, they are truly rewarding.

When I heard about Monty's case through one of my rescue lists, I just had to find out more. I spent New Year's day trying to work out a plan, these are not the kinds of cases you can take on without some careful thought. The most critical part of the plan would be finding someone willing to foster Monty; without that, I could do nothing to help him. One of my dedicated foster moms, Donna, is a German Shepherd lover, she has had German Shepherds for 30 years and when she heard about Monty and saw his picture, she agreed to foster him! Donna has done wonders with every dog she has fostered for my rescue, Monty would be no exception. I contacted the Montclair township and learned that a couple other rescues had also inquired about Monty. In the end, the township decided to entrust me and my rescue with Monty's case. A few days later, I drove to Montclair, on a very rainy, dreary day to meet "the dog."

When I got to Dr. Negrin's office, Monty was laying on the floor in the middle of the clinic, he was as sweet and gentle as I had been told. It didn't take me long to realize what an exceptional dog he is but I must admit the thought crossed my mind that for once, I had overestimated my ability to help a dog, this was going to be a real challenge. I had taken a paralyzed dog into my rescue before, but that was a small dog that could be easily carried around. The sheer logistics of dealing with an 80 lb. dog that is paralyzed can be quite daunting. I have learned that when faced with such challenges, it is best not to think too much. If you focus on the moment, on dealing with the immediate problem and figure out how to deal with that, things tend to work out. And somehow, with the help of a few friends along the way, I managed to get Monty to my friend's grooming shop so he could have a nice bath and from there to his temporary foster home where he would stay for a couple of days until I could get him to a neurologist for a consultation and then to Donna.

As a rescuer, I have had some very interesting journeys with my rescue dogs. Dogs are gifted teachers, they are patient and forgiving. I have learned many valuable lessons from them. I have learned about hope, about looking past a "messy" exterior to the beauty and dignity within. I have learned that patience is indeed a virtue, one that can bring wonderful rewards. I have learned about being courageous and strong when life deals you a bad hand. What lessons will Monty teach me? There are many out there who feel that it might be kinder to end his life; they feel it is cruel to keep a dog alive whose back end is paralyzed, since he will never be able to run and walk like a "normal" dog. I wonder if those people would still feel the same if they met Monty, if they had the chance to spend some time with him. Time might prove me wrong, but in my heart I know Monty does not want to die. His body may be somewhat "broken," but his spirit is strong and unscathed.

It is still early in our journey with Monty. We are still dealing with his numerous medical issues. In addition to the injuries he sustained, he is also heartworm positive. We don't know yet how his story will end, but every day he makes progress, every day he inspires us with his gracefulness, his sweet and gentle nature, his quiet but determined will to choose life and hope over death or despair.

I want to thank everyone who has so generously contributed to Monty's care. I am indebted to Last Hope Safe Haven, Inc. for setting up the Monty Fund, to all who have already contributed to the fund, and to the many who have helped in other ways. Above all, I want to thank Monty's foster mom, Donna and her partner Rick, who are taking such loving care of Monty while he heals.

Come back from time to time to hear about Monty’s progress as we go along. There will be more pictures, and probably more videos, more about his story and the medical challenges he faces, and hopefully someday the happy ending he so deserves.