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Monty, dog shot and left near death, is on the road to recovery thanks to Southern California rescuers

We're continually amazed by the resilience of rescued animals that manage to bounce back from illness, injury and cruel treatment. Guest blogger Janet Kinosian shares the story of one such animal, a pit bull mix named Monty who was shot and left for dead, but is now recovering thanks to the efforts of a devoted group of rescuers and their savvy use of social networking sites.

Monty1 It's amazing how life can change in an instant -- even if you're a dog. Fortunately, in this instance, life changed for the better for a dog named Monty when his path crossed with a kind person who helped save his life.

In the beginning of June, Monty (known to his Facebook fans as "Monty the Gunshot Desert Dog") was taken to the desert above Los Angeles and shot several times. It's believed that one bullet went through his hip and ripped through one leg, shredding his leg bone before entering another leg, snapping his Achilles tendon. He was then left for dead in the vast Antelope Valley desert.

Monty's luck all changed, though, when Nicole Reist found him emaciated and laying in pain on the property next to her sister's home and took to the social-media "airwaves" to try and help him.

What she had on her hands didn't look good -- the black-and-white pit bull mix's Achilles tendon was so badly damaged that the veterinarian who worked on him decided to create a new one from mesh, something he'd never done before. The damage to his other gunshot-wounded leg is so severe that it may yet need to be amputated.

Surgery on Monty's Achilles' tendon was complex and complicated, leaving a bill totaling more than $10,000. Reist's mother, who works with the Animal Rescue Volunteers in Antelope Valley, asked the rescue group to take Monty under its wing. The group paid for the expensive surgery with a credit card. Monty still requires daily bandage changes at a Santa Monica veterinary center.

Reist, who says she sees dogs dropped off to die far too often in this arid section of Southern California, says quite a few are left on or near her property.

Once she found Monty, she quickly started a Facebook fan page and ChipIn campaign for him; the once-left-for-dead dog now has more than 1,800 Facebook fans, with people from as far away as Australia and Turkey donating to help with his recovery. To date, Reist's ChipIn campaign has raised more than $3,000 for Monty's care. (Editor's note: ChipIn is a website that allows visitors to donate financially to causes through a secure server.)

He'll also be featured in a new book showcasing celebrities and their pets, tentatively titled "Gimme Shelter." The collaborators on the book, actress Elizabeth Perkins and photographer Suzanne Allison, plan to include stories of abused animals whose lives have been turned around thanks to the intervention of caring people.

Even his new name has significance; Reist says it's "from that part in Monty Python's 'Life of Brian,' where the knight keeps getting cut with a sword and he keeps saying, 'It's only a flesh wound!,' and to me that's Monty's story; he's so cut up, but he just takes it in his stride and keeps coming back."

Reist says Monty's foster mother, Julie, relates that he's a playful guy who enjoys hanging out and being lavished with attention in a special room at her Hollywood office.

"We're all hoping Monty will be able to keep both his legs and walk again," says Reist, who has four rescued dogs of her own. "We won't be sure for a while, but that's what we’re all hoping for."


Case of Angel, emaciated dog that died of diabetes complications in foster care, inspires rescue group
Hard work, perseverance and one amazing photo save Nico the Dogo Argentino

-- Janet Kinosian

Janet Kinosian has written freelance for the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Times Magazine and L.A. Times Syndicate for 18 years. In addition to reporting, she's also a media consultant who can be reached at JanetKinosian.com.

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It's unbelievable to me the good and the bad in the same species. Go Monty!

Awesome! I hope this helps to raise more funds for Monty's continuing care. Nicole, Julie, Lisa and Mel... you guys are saints!

Monty's story is so inspirational and it amazes me how an animal can be so loving and trusting even after enduring such cruel treatment by humans... Even more amazing are the people who believe in him, did all they could to save him and give him a better life. For that, no doubt Monty will be forever grateful and will reward them with neverending love, trust and loyalty. This is a wonderful example of what the human-animal relationship should be like... No animal deserves to suffer at the hands of humans, but Monty shows us it's possible to bounce back from all that, and to love again... Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with the world... Monty is truly a hero and a fighter, and the world needs to know his story!!

Thank you LA Times for publishing stories such as this one! More people need to know of the horrors that humans inflict on these wonderful animals AND of the amazing people that save them.
Sadly there are so many animals that are not saved but at least we can save one at a time.
Yes Monty, it's only a flesh wound! Lol....

Monty has such a spirit. Makes me smile just thinking about him! :o)

Mr. Monty just loves everyone including the three dogs he resides with at night. He has this happy personality that is just so amazing considering all that he's been through. Anyone who adopts him will truly be a lucky individual.

Who in their right mind would shoot a dog? Unless of course the dog was a threat to humans. I guess we will never know.

Actually, that scene she's referring to is from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," not "The Life of Brian"

Thank you so much for writing this article, Janet! Monty is an amazing ambassador for rescued dogs (and pit bulls!) everywhere! He has so much love and he gives it freely and with no inhibition. He trusts everyone he meets, even though at least one person he trusted betrayed him HORRIFICALLY. Monty is wonderful and we are hoping for the best for him! :)

Kudos to Nicole and the others who work so hard saving these animals.

When I saw the video of Monty giving kisses and wagging his tail, it brought tears to my eyes; shows he knows people are helping him and he's showing his appreciation.

I was involved in saving two dogs on I-5 in Seattle area(where I live) couple years ago and luckily they weren't hurt and got adopted to good homes.

Best wishes to Monty!

The shocking brutality shown to Monty by the perpetrator of his injuries is absolutely despicable.
The compassion, love and affection shown to Monty by the Southern Californian Rescuers is heartwarming and inspirational.

Ohh beloved Monty! All my love to you boy n the wonderful people takin care of you. Amazng story! <3

This is yet another reason why I love animals (esp. dogs) more than people--dogs will not ever ever betray us.

What kind of person would do this? It's so heartless, cold and downright EVIL. I suppose that Monty is just another Angel walking around earth in the form of a dog and an evil human being tried to get rid of him.

I do so hope they find this person and throw into prison for a very very long time.

I should make a note here, as it seems the headline can be confusing. The rescue that is helping us to help Monty is Animal Rescue Volunteers, which is a rescue LOCATED in Southern California. :)

You have to have a dark, dark soul to treat a helpless animal like that. Thankfully he was found and will recover. May Karma find his tormentors.
Go Monty!

I know someone will give Monty a good home. Saw the story on channel 5 this a.m. He looks well cared for but at the same time I do not understand the abuse of any animal and am glad to see great people willing to give of their time to help.


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