Benny will be five years old in March. I have been thinking a lot lately about how our lives have changed so over the four years he has been with me.
Benny is not an easy dog to have. He came to me as a puppy with tremendous fears and issues.
When Benny joined our family I had Kirby, sweet, perfect Kirby.
At that time Kirby was an older dog but no one knew exactly how old. Having been found on the street there was much we did not know about Kirby.
But we knew he was the kindest, gentlest, smartest little dog. He helped me transition Coco’s later years and losing her.
He was always by my side.
Then Benny entered the home and everything changed for Kirby.
The third day I had Benny, Kirby dislocated his hip. Kirby was off to the vet and Benny, a very new dog to me, was so out of control. I thought the only way for us to all bond as a family was to bring Benny to the clinic every day to spend time with Kirby as he was healing. This early intervention made a huge difference. Rather than feel threatened by Kirby’s place in our home, Benny saw that he needed a friend. A companion. Another dog to make it all better.
This is how the fabric of my new family was woven – at a veterinary clinic with one sick dog and one out of control puppy.
But Kirby helped Benny calm down.
Kirby helped me teach Benny to be a therapy dog, a confident dog, a Love Dog.
But they did not have very long together.
Over the years Kirby had many procedures and surgeries and always Benny was there to help him heal. He would walk slower to keep pace with Kirby lugging a cast behind him. He allowed Kirby to lie in his bed because it was the closest one. Or let me hold Kirby without being jealous because he knew Kirby needed it more.
When the last day of Kirby’s life was unraveling, who would have thought the crazy, insecure, out of control pup would become Kirby’s lifeline? Who would have thought Benny would be the one to want to be so close their fur intertwined? Who would have thought Benny would be the one Kirby wanted to be close to.
Benny knew he was not permitted to jump on the furniture but when he saw me lie Kirby down on the sofa, he just had to be with him. So close.
He would snuggle up in whatever position seemed to ease Kirby the most. And just stay there. Quiet and still and nurturing.
Who would have ever imagined the one dog that could most ease Kirby’s pain was the dog no one wanted?
I now watch Benny adjust to having Petey in the home. He only had a few days between losing his friend Kirby to having this new teeny tiny dog join his family. But I think Benny knows his greatest role in life is to be a Friend. To children. To dogs.
He knows how to do this.
He knows how to love big.
He knows how sometimes only another dog can help a dog in need.