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


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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.

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.’

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-- 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