Sweet Benny


On February 2008 I wrote the following post after the Westminster  Dog Show. Last weekend we had to put our sweet Benny to sleep. On Friday he didn't seem excited about his food – definately NOT his style – and on Saturday morning it was still there in his bowl and he was lethargic. I took him to the vet in the afternoon and they ran some tests and said he had liver failure. His chart said he was 11 years old, but because we'd gotten him from the pound and he was a stray, they'd guessed at his age. The vet said it was possible he was even two or three years older than that. He was a sweetheart to the end and he's been missed so dearly. I told Hubs, "I've cried more over Benny than I ever did for my own dad"… Hubs, in his normal astute way said, "Well, your dog never hurt you." We loved you Ben… have fun chasing bunnies in heaven with Toby, Dusty, Betsy, Max, Bud, Callie, Turbo, Freck, and all the other critters we've loved before.

Even non-dog lovers probably didn't miss the announcement this morning that a beagle, Uno, had won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. I've had a special place in my heart my whole life for beagles. When I was growing up, my first and only dog was a beagle. Toby. Since I was an only child, he became my 'brother', my partner in crime, my confident, my playmate. He took my tears and soaked them into his fur and kept all my secrets locked away. Every day he was my escape – allowing me to take him for a half-hour walk where I got to get out of the house and away from the craziness that was my homelife. He lived to a ripe old age of eighteen, but I was out of the house by then and my parents had him put to sleep and let me know afterwards… giving me  no chance to say goodbye.

About six years ago Emily and I went looking for a dog at the local animal shelters. My sweet shih-tzu, Dusty, had passed away and we had a hole to fill in our family. As we saw dog after dog, one caught my eye. He was just sitting in his pen, leaning against the fence, and looked up with those sorrowful brown eyes as we walked by. With great effort (it appeared) he reached up with one paw and lay it on the fence. My heart went out. We kept going, looking further, and ended up in a nearby town where we found a cat that we couldn't resist. (That turned out to be my huge black cat – but that's another story).

Although we got the cat, my mind couldn't get rid of the sight of that dog, just sitting patiently waiting for someone to come. I told Emily I had to go back and check him out. We went back and I don't think he'd moved one inch since we'd left! Once more, he put his paw up on the fence. Brown eyes pleading for escape. We took him out to one of the rooms they have to get to know the animals better, and he slowly walked around and veeery slowly put his paws up on my leg. Everything he did was in slow motion – we were tempted to name him Slo-Mo!

He became a member of the family and we named him Benny Beagle … aka… the Bowling Ball (Hubs' nickname). He was not a "normal" sized beagle as Toby had been, but rather a large lump that soon grew to a whopping 50 lbs. We found that the "slo-mo" movements were a ruse and that he could be extremely quick and clever if either a bunny or a sandwich were involved. Hubs even had me ask the vet if he was a mixed-breed of some sort, seeing as he was so large. She then told us that beagles come in varying sizes and we just happened to end up with one of the big ones.

He's a personality. Here in the new house he has a kennel in the garage that has doors to a fenced in kennel outside. He has an igloo dog house in the inside kennel as well as a fan in the summer and a heated pad in the winter (although our garage isn't heated, our vehicle thermometers generally register 50 degrees even in the most frigid days of winter). He plays on sympathy – when you go out to see him he pulls out all the stops, making this horrid wheezing sound. I thought it was asthma, but the vet says it is a "reverse sneeze"… and although he can't seem to stop himself from doing it the minute he sees you when he's in the kennel, the second you hook a leash on him to take him out for a walk, he'll stop. He can got through his whole walk without doing it until you bring him back to his kennel. Faker.

His other trick is to play the slo-mo card. He'll walk very slowly on his leash, practically making you drag him at times to catch up (trust me, walking him is no exercise). However, when he gets a whif of a bunny you'd better have a good grip on his leash or you'll be trailing him to the next county. When he wants to, that dog can move! Luckily, the last time he got loose out in the open was at the old house and he'd run into the evergreen grove – which just happened to have an old fence around it. Whew!

Anyway, I just had to take a moment to acknowledge the mighty beagle. Way to go, Uno! (I'll be giving Benny an extra snack today in honor of the win!)

Still Here…Sorta

My gosh, time is just getting away from me! Despite rumors to the contrary, I'm still around. Just been busier than, well… you fill in the blank. You've all heard the jokes. Here's a quick, or not-so-quick, update.

  • First off, my eldest daughter is back to having ECT treatments. She started three weeks ago and is still undergoing them on an out-patient basis. She seems a bit muddled, but over all seems to be handling it better than last year. I'm not sure how many more they are saying she needs to have, I know they were thinking they were going to start with about 11, then gradually wean her down to where she would have one a month as a type of maintenance. I haven't heard any differently, so am thinking that's still the plan.
  • My grandson, eldest daughters son, has been staying with us this week. He's 11 and going into sixth grade. He's a good kid, but I'm TIRED. Besides which, my OCS hasn't been fed this week and I'm starting to suffer for it… as is my hubs. If I don't get enough "alone" or "me" time, I tend to get a bit tense and snappish. So far, I think I've been good about not taking it out on the kid, but I get the feeling Hubs is feeling the crunch. I rather snapped at him on Tuesday night and these days it is extremely rare for us to have arguments of any kind… so, yes, I'll chalk it all up to my fault. There, I've said it. Publically and everything.
  • This week has been a whirlwind of activity surrounding grandson. We went fishing Monday (hot, no bites), Tuesday we did something but I can't remember! Huh. Wednesday we went to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha (about a 3 hr drive from home) and spent the day. Yesterday we fished again and I think grandson was ticked off at me… I got 12 fish, he got one. They were little sunfish and bluegills and where we fish it is all catch-and-release, but still he was ticked. It was cloudy, breezy and perfect fishing weather. Then we went to an Iowa Cubs baseball game last night. They even won! Tonight we are going to youngest son's races and tomorrow morning he goes home. I'll probaby be recovered enough to do it all again next summer, but man, am I out of practice!
  • Last Sunday was Hubs' and my 29th wedding anniversary. We were "unofficially" together for a year previously, though, so we usually count that… so, 30 years together with the same partner. I'll be honest, and he'd agree, it hasn't always been fun and sweetness and light… but we've worked at it and I think I can honestly say for both of us, we are more in love with each other than ever. Kinda nuts in this day and age of quickie divorces and instant gratification… that you really can be with the same person and after all these years not only love the person but like them and enjoy their company. I chalk it up to his great patience and tolerance of my OCS. He's good at giving me space without feeling hurt. Of cousre, space usually means being in the next room. Not like I'm in another state! LOL. Nonetheless, he's still here and so am I… the old "for better or worse, sickness or in health, richer or poorer"… still very much holds true for us. Now the obey? Hm… not so much. That's okay. He doesn't tell me what to do and I don't tell him what to do, so it is all good.
  • One of these days I'll be back to catching up (again) with you all. I may even get more regular with my blogging! *gasp*  Or maybe not. Guess we'll both have to wait and see, huh? Hope you are all having a good summer. If I've missed anything big, please let me know in the comments. (Amy? Babies here yet?)…  Catch you all later. Thanks for coming by.