Many of you may remember my beloved, dearly-departed design dog, Hershey, who graced our design studio with her beauty and cheerful disposition until she passed away five years ago.

Dear, sweet Hershey made every day special so that only an adoring, unconditionally loving dog will do. She was a distraction from stress and tension. She brought levity when she “attended” our vendor and design meetings. She faced sales reps – nose-to-nose – while lying on the conference table.

Now, those were presentations!

Since Hershey passed away, I spent a lot of time at the equine rescue center, Equine Advocates, in Chatham, NY. I’ve grown to love, appreciate, and respect the gorgeous creatures who resde there. They are special and magical. And, I was recently honored with a request to join their board of directors, which I did.

Every weekend I visit the lovely horses, donkeys, and mules at Equine Advocates. Each one has its own personality, and eagerly interacts with me (I always bring a big bunch of carrots and a big dose of love). But, sadly, I cannot take them home with me.

After the loss of Hershey, It took a long time for me and my husband, Dennis, to be ready to think about getting another dog. We knew a dog was in our future, and we made a list of our wants requirements.

Here’s what we envisioned:

  • He wanted a big dog. I wanted a medium-sized dog. We agreed to compromise here.
  • He wanted a male dog. I wanted a female. Compromise here, too.
  • He wanted a hypoallergenic dog. That was completely OK with me.
  • We both wanted a mature dog (no puppies please!) In agreement here.
  • I only wanted a rescue, and that was totally alright with Dennis.

So, we started looking at breeds that might fit our criteria. We scoured every rescue opportunity, but because people have been cooped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a spike in adoptions. There wasn’t a dog left in the pound – forget about our priorities!

Frustration began to set in. This wasn’t fair! We needed a new dog in our lives, but no dogs needed us – crazy!

All of a sudden, we received a Facetime call from my daughter, Avery, who lives in Charleston, SC. But it wasn’t Avery who appeared on the screen. Instead, the screen was entirely filled with the gorgeous mug of an enormous Greater Swiss Mountain Dog!

She said, “Mom, you have to rescue this dog, or something bad is going to happen to him!”

She told us the poor guy was only five-years-old and had already been bounced around from one home to another, and he was now officially homeless. Avery’s friend had brought him over hoping she would adopt him because she said he was the perfect second dog. With a 2-year old, a German Shepherd, three cats, a busy life, including a thriving business, Avery and her husband are definitely not ready for a second dog. Regardless of how perfect he is!

Dennis and I looked at each other, looked back at the screen, and said, “Of course, we’ll take him!”

Enter Monty!

After three days of waiting and 16 hours in the back of a car, he arrived at our home in all his glory. He is lovable, affectionate, and so eager to please. We absolutely adore him!

Monty’s breed, sometimes called “Swissies”, was developed to be able to pull 2,500 pounds and more. At 139 pounds, Monty could easily knock you over without even realizing it. Thankfully, we’ve hired a dog trainer who is giving him (and me) some structure. He’s already “getting it” and now walks like a perfect gentleman on the leash.

We are still social distancing in the country, but we know we have to get Monty ready for the big city with the dogs, the noise, and the traffic. Our trainer has a plan for re-entry, and we are confident our new dog will be able to handle anything that comes his way.

Before Monty arrived, sometimes my life felt robotic – “I gotta get everything done, I gotta do this next, I gotta check everything off the list,” and so forth.

But Monty has reminded me that I am alive and I have much more purpose than just checking off boxes. He has changed my life. I feel calmer with him around. I sense his unconditional love. I experience joy, just looking at him. I can’t stop hugging and kissing the big guy.

Monty gives me purpose to be a kinder, gentler person to those who need me and those in need. I feel more compassionate about life.

Monty got me out of my own head and is making me feel like a better person. He reminds me to respect all living things and to cherish life.

Thank you for allowing me to share this little slice of joy with you. When things get back to “normal,” visit the studio and meet this magnificent creature yourself. Be ready to fall in love!


PS: If you’d like to find out more about Equine Advocates, click here.

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

Share This Article