Mr. Monk is not having an easy few weeks. First Sharona returned and opened his heart up all over again, a reminder of his past and how far he's come, and last week he made a best friend only to lose her. Sniff sniff. And who cares if that best friend is just a cute dog? Any dog owner was probably bawling by the end of the "Monk" episode, because even an OCD anxiety ball like Monk could be won over by a pair of sweet big eyes and a little paw.

A pretty girl like Amanda is sleeping over at her new boyfriend's house, and she coos at his nice Australian Shepherd dog. She goes to cook him breakfast in bed and finds pictures of his wife in the drawer. When she confronts him, Steve tries to explain and then accidentally pushes her. She hits her head on the counter and falls. When she gets up he is concerned and they call 911, but then she collapses and Steve decides to watch as she dies and turn off the phone. This is a little unique for a Monk case, since usually the murders are deliberate and pre-planned.

Monk attends Natalie's family reunion, but he's clearly uncomfortable. He is called into the missing person's report on Amanda, who is local artist. Animal Control comes to take her dog Shelby away, and Shelby seems unnaturally attached to Monk as he wanders around the house. Natalie convinces him to take the dog for a few days so she wouldn't eventually be sent to a kill shelter. At first he is panicked about the dog being in his house and in his space, but somehow Shelby grows on him.

At the search party for Amanda with volunteers, Monk brings Shelby and he meets Steve. Steve is pretending to search for Amanda, and he pets Shelby and calls her fat. Steve places Amanda's wallet there, and Monk starts to suspect him of being the culprit. Stottlemeyer looks into it and they know that Amanda called 911 somewhere around Steve's house, and he was into art so he could have been to her gallery. Amanda's body is finally found in a rug on a hiking trail, and Monk gently tells his precious Shelby that her owner is dead. The dog is heartbroken and he comforts her lovingly.

Steve denies knowing Amanda and shoos Monk out of his house, and then Monk meets his wife and their pretty dog. Later that night Monk is walking Shelby and someone tries to run them over, specifically aiming for the dog rather than for him. He's worried about Shelby because she won't eat and she's just lying around all the time. The emergency vet says she's pregnant! Ooo! Mr. Monk has puppies coming! Natalie comes over and Monk realizes that Shelby was pregnant with the puppies of Steve's dog. This ties them together! Everyone is satisfied that they can solve the case the next day and let Shelby relax with her four puppies.

In the night Steve breaks in and plans to murder the dogs with a knife. Monk confronts him and he tearfully admits it was all an accident. He turns himself in. In the end, Monk decides to give Shelby and all her babies to Natalie's aunt, because he can't bear to have Shelby separated from her loved ones. Monk says goodbye to the first family member he's loved in a long time, and plans to visit her regularly. He even takes off his gloves and pets her with his own hand. Tear!

It would've been nice actually if they kept Shelby as Monk's dog. Why not? He could use the companionship and it is not like she needs to be in every episode. It would be good for Monk. Oh well. This was a sweet episode, and that dog was beyond cute. Plus the puppies really looked like newborns!

"Monk" is on USA Friday nights at 9 PM EST.

Monk cast: Tony Shalhoub / Bitty Schram / Ted Levine / Jason Gray-Stanford / More

Image © NBC Universal, Inc.

Story by Chelsea Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer

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