This website is dedicated to a special dog named Benji.
Benji came into our lives in October 1992. My husband and I always thought that a boy should grow up with a special dog by his side. So, our then 2 year old son, Christopher, and I went to PetCo in Denton, Texas one sunny afternoon during a pet adoption event.
I’ve always been a believer that pets choose their people. They just seem to have an uncanny knack for knowing who needs them most. As I remember, there were about 20 dogs of all kinds in several different pens. There were lab mixes, huskies, a few German shepherds, several poodle mixes and a bunch of pit mixes. Then there was this rusty-colored mop of a terrier with the cutest perked ears. He didn’t really stand out at first. Christopher went to play with the most out-going of the pups. He giggled with delight at all of the puppy kisses and barks. Then there was this little terrier, quietly following him around.
The little terrier just wouldn’t leave his side. This little terrier would follow him along with whatever puppy Christopher was playing with. When Christopher finally sat down after the puppies wore him out, the little terrier climbed into his lap, looked up at him, gave him a lick and sat down in his lap. The terrier had claimed his boy and the deal was sealed!
Christopher and I completed the adoption paperwork and thought about what to name this rusty fluff ball that had just entered our lives. Being a fan of the Benji movies from when I was a kid, and as the dog looked remarkably like the star, Benji, it was decided. Benji he was, from then on.
Now Benji was young, but not a puppy, when he joined our family. He was with us for moves from Texas to Kansas and back to Texas. He was there for walks, soccer practice, baseball practices, and just to goof around. When the kids were sick or not feeling well, he was velcro-dog, not leaving their side until they felt better. Benji was especially attentive to my youngest daughter, who has multiple chronic illnesses. Benji was by her side through all of it, watching over her every day.
Benji, the wonder dog!
Benji was with us through birthdays, Christmases, going from kindergarten to grade school, then middle school and high school. He guarded the house with great gusto. When ever the doorbell rang, Benji would bark like crazy, charging the door. We didn’t have too many sales guys stick around, not knowing what huge beast was at the other side of that door and the bark. If they had only known it was a not so big terrier with a big heart!
When Christopher went to college, the rust of Benji’s muzzle had long-turned white. He was certainly no longer a young guy by any means. And he was starting to develop health issues as we all do when we age. But he kept going. As Christopher went away to college, Benji delighted when Christopher would come home for breaks. Benji would become his energetic self again for the period when Christopher came home, but he would slow down again after Christopher left.
When Christopher came home for his spring break of his senior year, it was clear that Benji was coming to the end of his road with us. Christopher was heart-broken. Christopher returned to school to finished his senior year at Texas A&M Galveston, graduated and started getting ready for the next chapter of his life as a Naval Officer. Christopher came home for a break before he had to report and it became more and more clear that Benji was declining fast and suffering. It broke our hearts but we finally made the call to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge. He was 24 years old, in people years or 168 dog years. But I could see in Benji’s eyes that he was ready. He had raised his boy, Christopher, from toddler to man. He had guarded his little girl, Caryn, when she felt her worst. He had done an amazing job at that.
There isn’t a day that we don’t miss Benji. There may be other dogs in our lives and in our hearts, but there will only be one Benji. And what a wonderful blessing God shared with us, that a rusty little terrier should open his heart to us.
Thank you, Benji!