It is with great sadness that we report the death of our beloved farm dog, Montana Bench, who died on Monday, January 20, at 7:30 PM, after a sudden diagnosis of acute lung cancer. She came to Kurt as a pup during a difficult time in his life, while still living in Chicago, and through her cheerful puppy ways, helped him through it. She had a penchant for running away on adventures. In fact, while living in Elgin, IL, she would dig holes under the fence and explore the neighborhood on many an occasion.  In her early years, she was a spritely dog, running at lightning speed through the fields, chasing the tractors all day long. She was always faithfully by her master’s side. After an unfortunate incident involving a garbage can, chicken bones, and a plastic bag, she underwent surgery to remove the obstruction in her digestive system. After that, she lost her penchant for exercise and her svelte appearance and became the rotund, slow-moving retriever of her later years. And boy could she eat! Though she’d dutifully eat her bowl of dogfood each day, she loved a good raw piece of (cont’d p. 5) bunny rabbit, and was always on the lookout for fresh game on her walks down the bike path. She was our “gentle” dog, who always lumbered up to a newcomer, looking for food, before retreating respectfully.  She functioned as a pillow for both of our boys, who liked to roll around on her reclining form. She took on the role of mentor to our new dog Sienna in 2010, teaching her the ropes on how to wrestle, how to catch bunnies, how to snuggle with Jed, how to get table scraps first, how to run away from the farm, and how to eat raw sweet corn. In 2009, Montana also became the voice of our farm business, as she shared many savory anecdotes of farm life with our customers through her weekly column Montana’s Diary — many people’s favorite part of our newsletter. Her death is in many ways  a real loss to our farm’s identity, as she witnessed and recounted the chapters of our farm’s history.

We’ll miss her constant barking at the coyotes on winter nights. We’ll miss picking the burrs out of her long shaggy fur and watching her jump into the creek for a swim on our walks. And we’ll miss the glow of love whenever we hugged her.

We decided to let her write one final entry of Montana’s Diary, which we included in this issue’s newsletter. Her column will be taken over by her protégé Sienna, who will become the new (albeit different) voice for our farm.  Thank you for the many well-wishes and condolences you have shared with us.

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