Wednesday, 20 January 2016

My sad farewell to Benji

Long before I had children or even thoughts of children I lived in Manchester and longed for a dog. I would trawl the rescue sites online in my lunch hour and try and persuade Mr D to let me have one, but to no avail. Then one lunchtime I saw a picture of the most gorgeous little terrier looking very sorry for himself in his kennels and so I did a naughty thing and rang up the sanctuary. They told me he had just been returned for a second time as he was quite a handful. So I booked an appointment to go and see him in Sheffield and amazingly Mr D agreed! When we got there the little terrier we had come to see was in the very last kennel and on the wall was his photograph with a message underneath saying “Benji. Don’t be fooled by his cute exterior!” and the rest you could say is history. Benji came home with us that very day. He was a little superstar in the house and seemed so happy to be in a home with a nice comfy sofa and lots of cuddles. He had the most amazing under bite which made him always look like he was smiling. It soon became clear Benji wasn’t fond of visitors, postmen or anyone walking past the house. When we first took him out for a walk he went for every ankle he passed and tried to grab a ladies handbag and went absolutely nuts at any other dog he saw. He was quite spirited but I loved him from the moment I saw his little furry face on the internet so I wasn’t going to let any of this bother me.

Over the years Benji mellowed (a bit) and he was my best friend and travel companion. He came on many adventures with us, even to Auntie Katie’s wedding! He walked all over the Lake District, up mountains and chased sheep in the highlands of Scotland, he attacked the waves on all the beaches in Northumberland. Came with us camping and accompanied us on part of our honeymoon in Cornwall and was a resident in Doris are fabulous retro caravan. He even fell in to disused canal in the Cotswolds, luckily on the end of his lead, and had to be rescued by Uncle Simon.

There was and never will be another dog like Benji. Some of his quirks were he REALLY didn’t like motorbikes, or tractors or ice cream vans. He didn’t like other dogs, although a few he did especially female westies, but border collies were on the top of his hated list along with builders and postmen. He also wasn’t very keen on small children...

Benji’s life definitely changed when my big girls Lily and Daisy were born and I was quite nervous about how it was all going to work. When Benji came home from Auntie Katie’s and the two little babies were in the house he didn’t seem to mind until they cried and then Benji joined in and howled! My poor neighbours. But he adapted, we just had to put up a few stairgates and I think we would have managed but when Molly and Nell arrived eighteen months later it all got a lot more complicated. I was determined I was going to make it work. Benji was one of the family and I loved him to bits, even if he did have a fondness for eating pooey nappies, but the poor little chap wasn’t get any younger and he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved. Christmas 2012 was an incredibly difficult time for us, my new-born’s weren’t feeding or sleeping well, and they suffered from silent reflux and had a cow’s milk intolerance which hadn’t yet been properly diagnosed. I knew that I was being selfish by making Benji stay and he was starting to get snappy with the big girls so I made the very difficult decision to try and find a new home for him. But who would take on a thirteen year old terrier with his “quirks”. I really thought we wouldn’t find anyone suitable and I wouldn’t contemplate sending him back to a rescue centre but then fate intervened and we found ourselves in touch with Gillian, ours and Benji’s saviour.

Gillian, like me ten years earlier, fell in love with Benji from his picture and when she met him the deal was done. I knew Benji was going to a home where he would be the centre of attention and receive all the love and cuddles (not to mention ice cream and fish and chips) he deserved. Benji and Gillian were my friends on Facebook so I could still see Benji and keep in touch.  Gillian and her partner Colin cared for Benji for three years and nursed him when he was ill. And when it came to the end of Benji’s life he went to sleep feeling safe and loved in Gillian’s arms and is now at peace and bouncing around and causing mischief once again in doggy heaven.

Goodbye Benji my gorgeous furry boy, you brought so much joy, fun and laughter in to our lives. I will never forget you and thank you Gillian for all the love and happiness you brought to that little man you will be always very special to us.

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