by Jim Stengel
(Vacaville, CA, USA)
Montana came into our lives as Nicky, our loving older schnauzer, was aging. She was a pretty, lively and assertive white schnauzer with energy to spare. Nicky and she finally bonded and toward the end of his life she would lick him and clean him as his condition deteriorated.
After Nicky was gone, walks in Montana's park became very important. She would jump about, harassing my wife in the morning as the telltale signs of the impending walk were evidenced. Montana couldn't wait to meet her dog friends and sniff all the familiar spots and plants that Nicky had shown her not so long ago. Jasmine, in particular, was his favorite plant to dwell upon, and so it was with Montana.
Montana had an irrepressible joy of life I had never seen in any other pet. She had an ability to throw her head way back into your chest, almost as if it were on a swivel, as she jumped in your lap, demanding attention and affection. She also loved to gently mouth a hand or arm in invitation to play. I know I shouldn't have encouraged it as others wouldn't necessarily understand her intent, but we understood what it was all about and shared the demonstrated bond of affection.
Montana had a favorite cat, KK, or rather I should say, he was the only cat in the household that would put up with her. Since he also had a strong will and persistence to burn, they respected each other. At times, she would play with him as if he were another small dog. What a panic! The two of them would sometimes join me at bedtime and if I turned out the light too soon Montana would pound her paw on my chest and KK would butt up against my face. Light back on, it was time for a little out loud read so they could finally settle down.
Living with Montana, caring for her, feeding her, grooming her, walking her, sharing many moments of affection and play has been a gift I'll never forget. She was my constant companion at home, in the car and on her walks. I never fully realized how much a part of my life she was when she was still here. I loved her so much and was so little aware. But now I am and I miss her so.
In loving memory,