Benny Man was our first rescue dog. He came to us from a breeder whose life had become more complicated and she could no longer care for him the way she should have. He wasn’t for sale but when my husband and I met him and saw his condition we made her a very generous offer and she, knowing that she had over-used him as a stud and wasn’t giving him the care that he needed, happily accepted our offer. Benny was seven years old, deaf and emmaciated from a flea infestation which had compounded into a tape worm. Our veterinarian was shocked by his condition and was able to remove many teeth which had caused the ear infections and, after months of tender loving care, Benny was once again able to hear and, to our surprise, had a beautiful white coat! We had thought that Benny Man was a cream colored dog but he had lived around so much cigarette smoke that his coat had become discolored and dull.
Benny did recover from his illnesses albeit with much fewer teeth and now missing a couple parts that made him such a great stud dog. He was officially retired from his stud service and adopted into the full service of being my shadow and constant companion. Benny Man was maniacal about me, he followed me everywhere and sometimes I would catch him just staring into my face with this look of complete adoration (he did have cataracts but I prefer to think of it as adoration in those sweet brown eyes). I never felt I could live up to what he thought of me but most of the time I tried. Benny loved to go “bye bye car”. All I had to do was say “Benny, bye bye car” and he would leap into my arms. I was still raising children at the time and my days were full of errands as I drove here and there for suburban necessitites. Benny would snuggle up into my back seat and happily accompany me everywhere. It was so automatic that one time I shocked my doctor’s office staff by walking in with Benny under my arm instead of my purse. Benny remained fairly healthy and happy for 7 years.
In our 7th year with Benny, his health began to fail rather quickly. He lost most of the rest of his teeth and he became completely blind. He spent nearly the entirety of his days sleeping…..in my car. Benny had become very insecure after he lost his vision and the only place he felt he could be safe was in my car. When I would pull into my garage after errands there he stayed, making it very clear that he was perfectly happy where he was. It was during this time of that last year that I told Benny that he “must let me know when it was time to go”. I also promised him that he would always, always be with me and that I would forever keep him safely in my car. One day, as I was taking Benny into the house to have some dinner and go out for his potty, something we did each day, Benny took a wrong turn and tumbled straight down our concrete basement steps landing at the bottom with a sad little whimper. Benny let me know that it was indeed time to go as I knew that he would.
Benny is still with me in my car, his ashes are safely tucked away into a Soft-Hearted Pillow Pet Urn with the embroidered message, “Benny Man, As I Promised….”. Sometimes I forget that he is there but always when I come out to the garage, open my door and look into the back seat, there he is, in his favorite spot, safe and sound just like he loved to be. Strangers believe I have a beautiful pillow in my back seat but friends and loved ones know they have a soft place to comfort their sore backs or rest their weary heads and they know that “Benny Man” doesn’t mind one bit..