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Monty Don, 65, has opened up about why he decided against seeing his dog Nigel in the veterinary surgery after his death earlier this year. The Gardeners’ World presenter recalled having a conversation with the vet, who offered him the chance to see Nigel one last time.
He explained: “We had the conversation with the vet and I said, ‘Really? Okay, fine.’
“And he said, ‘Do you want to come and see him?’ And I said, ‘Actually I don’t because I’ve held him in my arms all night, I don’t want to see him on a slab in your surgery through a window’.”
However, Monty recalled encountering another difficult issue, as he was unable to bury his beloved dog straight away due to his filming schedule for Gardeners’ World.
The horticulturalist continued: “But I said, ‘I can’t bury him tonight or tomorrow because I’m filming’, so they put him in the freezer.
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“The whole thing was incredibly gut-wrenchingly sad, but at the same time hysterically funny so I said, ‘Please make him look nice’.
“And they said, ‘We’re going to have to fit him in’ and he was a big dog!”
After chuckling over the memory of the vet struggling to fit the golden retriever in the freezer, Monty added while speaking to Cariad Lloyd on the Griefcast podcast: “So we buried him two days later.
“And of course he was frozen solid, so we dug this big hole in the garden we have a pet cemetery.
“He’s the fifth dog we’ve buried in this area in the garden, and we dug a big hole, and we lined it with flowers that I picked from the garden, and we put 50 tennis balls in because he was mad about tennis balls.
“And we got a bowl and we put his favourite food in it and lots of biscuits, and then we put frozen Nigel in there, and he looked really peaceful.”
Nigel died in May after he suffered from a brain tumour which caused him to have “violent fits all night”.
The presenter decided to call the vet, but explained he couldn’t be with Nigel when he was being seen due to coronavirus restrictions.
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He said: “I rang the vet at six in the morning who said, ‘Bring him in’, and he said, ‘You do realise you’ll have to be in the car park?’
“So we did all that, took him in, he was fitting in the car, he was fitting in the car park and then I had to film that day.”
Opening up about how difficult it was to work while he was worrying about Nigel, Monty said: “So I filmed Gardeners’ World with this going on and all day phone calls were coming in saying, ‘We’ve tried this drug and it’s not working’.
“Finally, the drug they used was the drug they used to put dogs down in a small dose and they said, ‘To be honest, we should just up the dose and that will end it.
“He’d had a brain tumour, and at that moment the tumour had grown.”
The father-of-three has two remaining dogs, Nell and Patti, who are regularly seen on his Instagram account and on Gardeners’ World.
Earlier this month, Monty shared a drawing with fans, which outlined the important components of the TV presenter’s two acre estate, including the grave of his dog Nigel.
He captioned his post: “I have often been asked for a plan of the garden – this is pretty accurate and can be seen in glorious widescreen on my website montydon.com.”
The numbered garden plan, which he shared with his 655,000 followers, showed the location of elements which often appear on the programme, such as the cottage garden, the paradise garden and the potting shed.
Number 15 on the illustration is listed as “Nigel’s Grave”.
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