Monty Don opens up on dealing with real grief after dog Nigels death: Distraught

Monty Don says his festive period was impacted by Covid-19

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On Thursday, Alex Jones and Ronan Keating were joined by broadcaster Monty Don alongside Death in Paradise stars Ralf Little and Shantol Jackson. The Gardener’s World favourite frontman was invited onto the hit chat show to discuss his latest TV venture. Monty Don’s Adriatic Gardens is a three-part series on BBC Two, which shows the star exploring picturesque gardens across Venice, Croatia and Greece. Talk on the sofa turned to grief after Jones quizzed the gardener on his dog, Nigel.

Host Alex initially addressed The Royle Family star: “We know that you love your dogs and sadly, just before Christmas, Ralf, that you had lost your dog, Suzy, that you lost her.”

The Welsh presenter then turned to Monty and said: “It took you a while, we have talked about this before, Nigel [Monty’s dog] was a big part of your life, always will be, 

“How did you kind of cope with that, then?”

The horticulturalist is regularly snapped with his pooches and shares two dogs with his wife Sarah. 

Reflecting on the death of his golden retriever, the broadcaster responded: “Well, I think the first thing is to acknowledge that losing a loved pet, and it can be a cat, a dog or whatever, is real grief. 

“It is not something that you should feel slightly embarrassed about, the depth of your emotion, it is true grief, and you should grieve, and that is fine. 

“By the same token, when you get a pet the chances are very, very likely that it is going to die before you do, so you have to deal with that. 

“And that is a part of the deal, I always feel, when you care for a pet, you love it and you may have to care for its death too,” he explained.

The 66-year-old presenter, who has a golden retriever named Nell, and a Yorkshire terrier named Patti, reassured viewers that the feeling of pain while grieving is only temporary.

He said: “As long as you, sort of, buy into that and accept that you will be distraught and it’s painful but it passes. 

“You had that life, you shared that life and it was wonderful and it enriched your life. 

“I think, also, there will come a time, and everybody is different when you get another dog.

“For some people, it’s two days later because it helps them move on. 

“Other people can’t face it for another year or two.” Monty continued.

Nigel sadly passed away in 2020, and in February 2021 the TV personality shared a photo of large commemorative terracotta he had been gifted engraved with his pooches name.

The star added: “But I think that you get another dog and somehow the baton is passed on, that’s how I see it. 

“You loved the dog and that was special and then another one comes into your life and you love that equally but somehow the love is shared and move along. 

“It’s sad but it’s not tragic.” He concluded.

Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, Monty was able to make three trips to the Adriatic in the summer of 2021 to film the latest series of his BBC Two show.

The journey begins in Venice and finishes on the small island of Hydra where the OBE shows off his very own gardening project which he has worked on alongside a friend for five years.

Visiting a range of public and private gardens, Monty learns about the impact that history, climate change and culture have had on the people who live there.

The writer concluded the show ends on a “personal” high for viewers to see.

The One Show is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

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