Benny was returned to the shelter four times before he was a year old. Four families deemed him untrainable, unadoptable, unloveable.
They said he was unsocial, unfriendly, unteachable.
They said he could never be with a family or deserving of love.This little misunderstood dog came to me at a time I did not want another dog. I had just lost Coco the Love Dog that week and the last thing on my mind was adopting another dog. And certainly not a dog like Benny.
But Benny came into my life when He needed Me most and that is what spoke to me. He was so shut down, curled in the fetal position in the back of a kennel, surrounded by barking dogs. They all were chomping at the bit to get out of those kennels. But Benny wanted to melt into it and disappear.
He wasn’t unsocial or mean or crazy.
He was scared.
He was misunderstood.
He was confused and searching, searching for someone to look into his eyes and see a loving soul.
Just like the children we work with, particularly those with autism.
Just like the boy who says he “really likes me” but cannot return a hug or look at me when we are speaking.Just like the girl who speaks so rapidly you cannot understand a word but who gives the deepest hugs.
Just like our friend Julian who finds it so difficult to focus and use his words but who loves so deeply Benny is his best when with him.
Benny knows that Julian understands his need for quiet and structure and routine.
His need for familiarity and steadiness and support.
Benny and Julian are of different species but they are the same.
Two boys who can so easily be misunderstood – or just as easily appreciated for their uniqueness, their determination, their passion and their unending trust – once it has been earned.
Today Julian brushed Benny on his head and touched his nose. Huge steps for a boy who was afraid to face a dog and for a dog that was once afraid to face a child. Only trust can make these miracles happen.
Two boys. Helping each other be the best they can be.