Wigan four-legged fund-raiser shortlisted for national award

Monty Dogge, the Newfoundland from Hawkley Hall who has become an online star with his support for charities and series of children’s books along with his owner Mark Sanders, is in the final of the Animal Star Awards.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 7:00 am
Mark Sanders and Monty

They have been nominated in the Best Pet Blog category for the light-hearted accounts of Mark’s experiences as a dog owner and Monty’s views on the “hoomans” he shares a home with and canine life in general.

Mark says being nominated this year is particularly touching as it is a decade since Monty first arrived in Hawkley Hall as a puppy.

He and Monty will be tuning in to watch an interactive virtual awards ceremony on Sunday.

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“Monty is delighted to be nominated but he will of course be sulking if he doesn’t win.

“During the pandemic we’ve been trying to make people smile and laugh with the blog.

“It has been pretty popular around the world. Monty’s got followers in Australia and America.

“We don’t do this for money, it’s not a business. We use the platform to try to raise funds for charities but other than that it’s all off our own back to try and put smiles on faces.”

Over the past few years Monty, along with Mark’s other dog Cookie, have helped raise cash for an array of good causes.

Monty has also become well known for his visits to schools and nursing homes and for the series of Christmas poems which have become part of the festive season for his followers.

The blog chronicles all these things along with observations of daily life and things which happen to Mark and Monty, which can range from the hilarious to the highly emotional.

Mark said: “The blog is written from Monty’s perspective, the whole thing is through his eyes. I think that’s why it has been so popular.

“Dogs are quite simple creatures, it’s all quite black and white to them.

“Dogs just live in the moment, they don’t worry about the future.

“The blog is all about being nice to people and helping them if you can.

“Some of it is me writing what Monty thinks of me, which is not usually that kind, and some of it is simply the stories and experiences we’ve had with Monty over the years.

“He calls Wigan ‘Wigwam’ and humans ‘hoomans’. He doesn’t always get the words right but he’s not bothered, he says it as it is and tells the world what happens to him in his own inimitable style.

“The reactions of people to Monty can be funny, lovely or strange.

“We’ve had cars stop in the middle of Poolstock holding all the traffic up to take photos of him.

“We’ve also been into nursing homes, particularly ones for people with dementia. That was very moving to see them reminiscing about their own dogs. Some of them also thought Monty was their dog. It was lovely to see their smiles.”

The Animal Star Awards, founded by Mary Burgess in 2015, recognise extraordinary things people and their furred or feathered friends do.

Almost 500 nominees will be hoping to take home one of the 15 category prizes, with the judges including Will Travers, the founder of the Born Free Foundation.

To find out more visit www.animalstarawards.com

To read Monty’s blog, go to montydogge.com/monty-blog

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