Benny I got your number

I made a new friend this week and I already can’t wait until we hang out again.

A sweet goofball who just wants everyone to be okay, Benny loves people, dogs, long walks, cheese and a good belly rub. He’s my kind of guy. He has an old soul and big puppy paws and he really hates to be alone.

If ear lobes could talk, the missing chunk of Benny’s would tell the traumatic story of a street kid who had to fend for himself until he found his way to an L.A. animal shelter. Inexplicably (because he’s so cute), Benny then spent nine months in foster care until Ed, his favorite person in the world, adopted him. He now lives with Ed and my daughter Katherine, whom he also loves dearly, like the doted-upon star he was always meant to be.

I experienced the Benny effect several times this week, most notably when I poked my head into a lovely Italian restaurant to see if they could seat us for dinner.

“No reservation?” sniffed the haughty hostess and she prepared to shoo me away.

Then, she spotted Benny and her face lit up.

“Is he with you?” she asked.

“Yes, we would need a table for four people and a dog,” I said.

“Follow me,” she said, and she gathered up some menus, stopped to give Benny an ethusiastic neck scratch, and brought us to a lovely patio table. Moments later she came back carrying a silver bowl. As we looked on somewhat astonished, she squeezed her elegant self behind the table to set the water dish next to Benny and squatted down next to him like they were two kids in a playground sandbox.

“Thanks for scoring us a table Benny,” I whispered to him after she’d left.

Everywhere we went this week, people stooped down to greet Benny. He accepted their affection like a jovial grandpa who won’t relax until he knows every single human on earth is okay. “Great to meet you! You doing okay? Can I get you anything? You good? You look a little peaked. Are you sure you’re okay? Sit down next to me. Tell me your story.”

Like many rescue dogs, Benny is a charming mix of two clear and maybe one or two other not so obvious breeds. He got his intelligence and strength from his pitbull relatives, and his friendliness and tail from the labrador clan. He likes nothing more than to crawl into the nearest lap and be snuggled.

I should have known Benny and I would hit it off when I spotted his favorite toy, a stuffed cow. This summer, I’m told, Benny will be coming to Wisconsin for a visit and I’ll be counting the days until I can see him again.

It will be nice to see Katherine and Ed again too.

I took my friend Benny for a walk a few days ago and I noticed how ferocious his shadow appeared compared to the sweet two-year old puppy it represented. Sometimes, our misconceptions about certain dogs can cause us to miss out on a great friendship with them.
This little guy just wants to be loved…
…and snuggled while napping…
…and taken on grand adventures…
…and to the beach to watch the sunset…
…and wrapped up in warm blankets after anxiously patrolling the pool making sure every single person in it was okay.
Benny’s a really good listener,
a proud Packer fan and…
…our newest friend.

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