Last year on July 27th we had to have my best friend and constant companion, Montague, put to sleep. Monty was with me for 15 years. He was my little shadow. Everywhere I was in the house he had to be right there with me. But Monty got cancer and I couldn’t let him suffer.
The vet once told me that Monty had “behavioral problems. ” Kind of an understatement. He wasn’t a friendly cat and most people were afraid of him. He could be sweet one minute and bite your hand off the next. But he was a momma’s boy and loved me probably more than any other creature in the world has or ever will. Even though we have two adorable, loving sister cats now, I still miss my Monty.
What does this have to do with gardening, you wonder? Well, Monty loved the screened-in back porch that overlooks my garden. He would nap on the porch or sit there watching me work in the yard. He loved to watch the birds, butterflies, and squirrels in the garden. In fact, when it got towards the end and Monty was so sick with cancer, the only place he wanted to be was on the back porch. Brian and I took turns sleeping downstairs on the sofa so we could leave the back door open for him at night.
|Monty napping on the screened-in back porch.|
Putting Monty down was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but we knew it was the right thing because he was suffering. We also knew the right place to do it. We had a mobile vet come to the house and put him to sleep in his favorite spot on the back porch, overlooking the garden with the birds, bees and butterflies.
When I sit on the back porch looking at the garden, I can’t help but think of Monty. Sometimes I feel as if his little spirit is sitting there with me. When we had Monty cremated I knew he belonged in the garden. His remains are in a stone marker with the hydrangea, daisies and roses.
|Monty's final resting place in the garden.|
A few days before we had Monty put down, I wrote a little tribute to him. It’s no work of art, but it sums up what he was like and how I felt about him:
Tribute to Monty
You were a devilish little thing as a kitten. You kept me up all night knocking things off my dresser. Pouncing on me every night, trying to play. You tried to climb my bare legs when you still had claws, you climbed my Christmas tree and even tore apart paperback books. But I loved you anyway.
You stuck to me like glue, whenever I was home; following me from room to room. Never out of my sight. Always by my side.
You wouldn’t sit in my lap, but you loved to cuddle up close and lay your head in my lap. And sometimes at night you’d lay on my chest with your face right in mine.
When Brian came along you let him know who was boss. And you let him know every day since. You’d snub him, or bite him, or sit in between us. You always made sure he knew that YOU came first.
You’ve lived in three different places; from a one bedroom apartment to two different houses. But I know you loved this home best; with a greenhouse to sun yourself in the morning, with a screened-in porch to watch the birds in the garden, and with great, big French doors where you’ve met the neighborhood kitties.
I’ve called you by many nicknames through these past 15 years; Wookie, Ewok, My Little Bear, HR Poop-n-Stuff, Fuzzy Britches, Grumpy Bear, Muffin Man, My Precious Baby, My Little Buddy, My Special Little Guy, My Little Sunshine, Fuzzy Monster, Monsterque, Magellan (because you loved to explore), and My Little Shadow.
My steadfast friend, my constant companion, you always loved your mommy and I always loved you.
I will miss seeing your little black shadow out of the corner of my eye. I will miss you lying on my keyboard as I try to type. I will miss you sitting under my chair, or your fuzzy little body curled up by my legs in bed each night. I will miss you pawing at my magazine as I try to read. I will miss seeing your little face peaking through the curtains when I come home from work. And I will miss the squeaky sound your paws make as you walk on the hardwood floors.
My heart breaks to let you go, but I know it’s for the best. I want your spirit to be free, and as happy as can be. I’ve imagined setting you down at the entrance to a great, big, beautiful garden. And you trot off on your happy little way chasing the birds and the butterflies as they fly away with you.
You will always be with me in my heart and I will always love you, my little shadow.
|Montague: My Little Shadow|