Mom Here and Signing In
Well, we live in a rural area in Central Florida. Our home is in a sub-division with most of the homes being on one-acre lots. There is one way into the sub-division and the same way out so there is very little traffic except for the residents themselves. It was on our way home late one night in the summer of 1997 when we first met Benji sitting right in the middle of the road that goes around the sub-division. As the headlights of our car caught him and brought our attention to him, we slowed down and stopped, waiting for him to get out of the way. Instead, he sat up in a begging position and refused to move. So, what else could we do? We got out of the car and he ran right over to us. We took him home with us and let him spend the night in the garage since we didn't know anything about him or if he had any hidden illnesses we didn't want our own dogs exposed to.
The next day I put a leash on him and walked him around the neighborhood hoping he would recognize his home or that someone would recognize him. This approach was unsuccessful so the following day I dropped him off at our vet's office on my way to work so he could be checked out and given shots so I could bring him into the house. He remained at our house and seemed very happy to be there. Then a couple weeks later there was a knock at the door. The people told us they had seen "their dog, Shaft" playing in our backyard and were there to pick him up. They did live in our sub-division down the road from our home. So we said goodbye to Benji and sent him back home.
A couple days later I came home from work and was greeted by "Shaft" sitting in front of our garage door. Now that we knew who his owners were, we called them and informed them that we had a little visitor at our house. They didn't come to pick him up until the next day. A few days later, there he was again....sitting by our door waiting for us to get home from work, but this time he had a chewed up rope still hanging from his neck. Once again, we sent him back home again. The third time he showed up, he had apparently slipped his collar off from wherever they had him tied, because his collar was missing. Then one time he came in with a broken chain hanging from one of those chain spikes that you push into the ground to keep a dog tied up. The real kicker was on another occasion when he showed up with a big chain around his neck and the other end padlocked through the hole on a CINDER BLOCK. The poor little 17-pound dog had dragged a heavy cinder block all the way down the road to get back to our house. There he was, in his usual spot, waiting for us to come home. I still wonder how long it took him to drag that hunk of cement from his house to our house.
Each time he came to visit, it took his owners longer and longer to come pick him up. Once he was with us for 2 weeks before they showed up. We didn't even call them anymore to let them know where he was, because they knew exactly where he went every chance that he could get away from them. But we already loved him and didn't really care if he came over whenever he wanted.
Then on Labor Day in 2002 when his owners came to get him, they informed us they were moving away to a town about 30 miles from us. So we had to say our final goodbyes to "Shaft" that day.
We thought of him often over the next year and wondered how he was doing and if he ever thought about us. One of the vet techs at our vet's office was having a Christmas candle party at her home just before Christmas of 2003. I really wasn't planning to go but then something inside of me told me I needed to go for whatever reason. A few of the other vet techs were also at the party and started talking about the little dog that was brought into the clinic the day before and how he wasn't expected to live. His owners had him tied up outside and a group of stray dogs attacked him and injured him so badly that it was considered a miracle that he was still alive when he was brought in THE DAY AFTER THE ATTACK! His owners didn't even realize he was near death until the following day. The vet tech also mentioned that the dog's heart had stopped beating twice during the surgery to try and repair the many wounds he had. The vet had to use paddles on him to bring him back to life until he could finish patching him up. He was injured so badly he wasn't expected to live.
During the conversation at the party, one of the techs mentioned the dog's name.....SHAFT! Now how many people name their dog "Shaft"? I started asking questions about the owners and where they lived. The answers were enough to tell me that the Shaft who was dying was actually our Benji. They apparently never took him to a vet for anything and only knew his original vet from when he was still a puppy. Even though it was late at night, the tech said she'd take me over to the clinic so I could see him. I called my husband and he met us there, as he loved Benji too. Benji was just laying there unable to move. His entire body was shaved and looked like nothing but a series of little zippers where all the staples were holding his wounds together. We were told he hadn't responded to anything and wouldn't eat, probably because he couldn't even lift his head. He was being tube fed. We walked in and started speaking to him very quietly and suddenly he started wagging his tail. Could it be that he remembered us after not seeing us for over a year? The next day and every day after that, we returned to visit him. After only a day he was able to sit and we hand fed him. He would only accept food from us, and not from the techs.
After a couple of weeks his owners were able to take him back home again with instructions that he was never to be left outside alone so he wouldn't get dirt into his wounds. The owners just didn't believe a dog should be a house dog, so I'm not sure what they did with him. They also traveled a lot and would take Shaft to the vet's office for boarding. The techs always called us when he boarded so we could visit with him.
Then it finally happened. There was a knock on the door late on a Sunday night in May of 2004. It was Shaft's owners. They told us they just couldn't keep a dog if they had to keep him in the house all the time and it was getting too expensive to board him every time they had to leave for the weekend. So they said they were planning to turn him over to a shelter but wanted to ask us first if we wanted him since he seemed to want to live with us so badly. Of course we said he could live with us. They said they would drop him off at the vet's office the following day and pay all his remaining bills from the surgery after the attack. We were to pick him up from the vet.
When we picked him up, we were also told he had active heartworm that needed immediate treatment. So we left him there until the next day after the first heartworm treatment. Apparently he had never been on heartworm preventative medication, but that was no surprise. He came through all the treatments and we had him neutered. He just seemed so happy to finally come back home to the only home where he was ever happy. Of course, he was no longer "Shaft" and seemed to smile whenever we called him BENJI.
According to our vet's very first records he kept when Benji was just a 6-week old pup, Benji was born in May of 1996, making him nearly 15 years old. He is in the best of health and certainly doesn't act 15 years old. He is Reno's buddy and will often go out to lead Reno back into the house when Reno forgets where the doggie door is.
Now, for a few pictures of Benji.
One of the scars from the dog attack is still visible on his upper rear leg
This picture was taken when he finally came back to his forever home
This is just how he looked on the road the first time we met Benji
Benji loved digging tunnels in the sand on a hot day
A haircut helps
An even shorter haircut
'HELP ME...I'M NAKED'
A nice restful evening in "my chair"
Ok....I is back again! Thank you for putting up with Mom's commentary. I didn't tink she would ever shuts up. Next time I will have to tink twice befores turning over my bloggy to her.
And...since dis is my blog....here is a foto of me as a wittle one when I first met da Benji!
HAPPY MONDAY, Y'ALL!