The painting you see above was a gift to me for the combination of Mother's Day/Birthday from my daughters, Brianna and Tara. When I opened it - I cried. And cried. And cried.
OH - how I miss these two companions. Jasper and Monty Carlo (Monty) never met - at least here on Earth. However, my family and I are pretty sure Jasper was at Heaven's Gate waiting to greet Jasper when he arrived. Jasper knew how much Monty challenged us and yet - made us laugh and laugh. Sometimes, my family and I even thought that maybe Monty was a gift to us from Jasper.
Night and day was how my family and I thought of Jasper and Monty.
Both pups were rescue dogs. We adopted Jasper from the Chemung County ASPCA back in 1998 and we adopted Monty Carlo from the animal shelter up in Bath, NY in 2010. Jasper was about 1 year old when we adopted her and Monty was already over three years old when we adopted him. We adopted Monty less than a year from when we lost our Jasper.
Jasper hadn't been at the shelter for even a month when we got her. Poor Monty had been at the Bath shelter for at least three years! When I asked the shelter why no one wanted Monty, they explained that a lot of people don't like the sound of a hound dog's bark and Monty had a lame rear leg so people worry about medical issues....etc., etc.. We adopted Monty on the spot and as we were leaving - all the staff from the shelter came out to see Monty off.
Now Jasper was one of the most incredibly intelligent dogs. Monty, on the other hand - not so much. Jasper didn't need to be put on a lead. She knew the boundaries of our property and never, ever went beyond. Monty, on the other hand, would smell a chipmunk in New Jersey and bolt off - usually with one of us racing at top neck speed to catch up with him. Luckily, Monty was also easily distracted so when he raced off - he'd then stop to smell and dig up a different chipmunk's hole and that's when we'd be able to catch up with him.
A true story here - many, many years ago we put Jasper up to board at the Corning Animal Hospital when we had to go away. At that time, The Crafting Cottage's original location was just a few houses over from the Corning Animal Hospital. When I went to pick Jasper up, they brought out her file folder and I couldn't help noticing that there were several bright orange papers sticking out from her folder. I asked what they were for. The Veterinarian replied, "Oh, yes, well, we had a situation with Jasper this weekend. She climbed up the chain link fence in her outdoor pen and we found her three quarters of the way up when we caught her. Unfortunately, we can no longer let her go out on her own because of that. "
Now mind you - the outdoor fence is at least 8 feet. Jasper knew the Crafting Cottage was close by. She was trying to break out of the joint and make a run for it!!! We laughed so hard. We didn't board Jasper after that but found someone who would stop by the house to feed her since Jasper had a doggie door that she used to simply go in and out of our house because - again - Jasper never strayed off our property.
When we boarded Monty at the Corning Animal Hospital there were no worries of him trying to stage an escape. We joked that maybe Jasper had scrawled messages on the walls to let other dogs know how to escape!!! Monty was easy to keep "in bounds" in the house. He was easily led to believe he could not go somewhere simply by our placing a book on the floor. He would walk up to it, sniff it and then turn around thinking his road was blocked.
My family and I often mused as to how we think Jasper would have dealt with Monty if the two of them had been with us at the same time. We think Jasper would have rolled her eyes a lot. Jasper calculated. Monty lagged. Jasper figured things out and solved puzzles. Monty was a puzzle with some pieces missing. Jasper was an excellent judge of character and when she growled at someone - we knew to be cautious. Monty loved everyone. We always said that Monty would lick a burglar to death.
But both pups were extremely loyal to us. There was even one day when Patrick was around ten years old - out in our backyard playing fetch with Jasper. Next thing you know, two big labs came racing onto our property and headed for Patrick. I was in the house making dinner when I heard Patrick screaming and Jasper barking. I looked out the window and I saw the two labs trying to get to Patrick and Jasper protecting Patrick taking on the two dogs but not leaving Patrick's side. Naturally, I raced down the stairs and out into the yard and grabbed rocks and sticks and started yelling and throwing the rocks at the attacking dogs. They took off. And I was mad. Patrick was crying and Jasper was checking to see that Patrick was ok. I knew who owned the dogs so I piled all three of my children into the car WITH Jasper and as I was driving to confront this neighbor, the kids were petting Jasper and that's when they discovered she was bleeding!!! So, off to animal hospital we went instead. Jasper was the family's protector.
Another prime example of how different Jasper and Monty were was when we brought Jasper into our home - she knew how to let us know when she needed to go out. Monty, on the other hand - despite being already three years old presented challenges. First, we would take him outside for long walks and he would do nothing. As soon as he came into the house - he would pee. Finally, my husband had had enough of Monty's peeing so he said he is taking him for a walk and "...won't be back until this mutt figures out where to go to the bathroom!"
The two of them were gone for over an hour. The kids and I were beginning to get concerned when finally they returned. In exasperation, my hubby says, "OK, I don't get it. Nothing. He did nothing except stop to smell every tree, blade of grass - you name it but nothing!" At which point Monty came into my husband's office, walked up to his television and proceeded to pee all over it!!! The kids and I just looked on in horror until I completely lost it and started laughing, laughing, laughing. It wasn't funny (of course). Eventually, we finally trained Monty Carlo.
The other big difference between Jasper and Monty was the bravery factor. Nothing scared Jasper. However, a leaf falling off a tree would send Monty bolting. One of my favorite stories about Monty was when we first got him. I was about to take him out for a walk and since the weather had turned cold, I had gotten him a coat which attached with velcro strips and there was a hole for the leash to be able to hook onto his collar. As we were heading back to the house, the coat became loose and was now simply "floating" on the leash behind Monty. Monty turns his head to see what was bumping into him and I will never forget the look of sheer horror on his face when he sees this body-less coat following him. He bolts and as he is racing back towards the house - he keeps looking behind him and is terrified that this thing is still chasing him!!! I had to finally let go of the leash because I could not keep up with Monty as I was doubled over laughing my head off.
It's funny, in hindsight I think I can honestly say that when we adopted Jasper - we needed her in our lives. With Monty, he definitely needed us in his life and yet, in many, many ways - we ended up needing him in our lives big time, too.
I know many of you knew our Monty Carlo and quite a few of you remember Jasper. I miss them both so much but that is why scrapbooking can help us when we want to remember some of life's stories. Thanks to Tara and Brianna - they have inspired me to create a scrapbook sharing pictures and stories of Jasper and Monty. I hope you, too, will consider creating a special album for your "fur family" members.
My dear crafting friends and sisters - I must get back to work writing a letter to the Planning Board. Then I need to get going on posting things onto the online shop. After that I should probably do some work for the Rubber Stamp and Scrapbook Show. Then I will need to move some stuff to prep the new Workshop room........
I send all of you
GREAT BIG HUGS.
As always -
Stay Crafty My Friends!!!!!!