My husband and I do a little bit of animal rescue here in our own small little home town.  Consequently, over the years, we've adopted several pets that could not, for some reason, be adopted out.  As such, we've had to watch many cross over the Rainbow Bridge over the years.

Ben was a little senior guy whom I learned about over the internet.  He was in a kill animal shelter about an hour away.  His owner had died and no one else in the family wanted him.  A deaf senior rat terrier, I knew his chances of being adopted were not good.  I immediately called the shelter and told them I was on my way.

Ben immediately became my constant companion.  My little shadow, he was never far from my side.  His memory served him well when he lost his eyesight, and as long as he was in the family room as that is the room we spent most of our time in.  If ever I noticed that he was gone from my side, I knew he was lost somewhere in the house.  I would often find him lost in a corner somewhere totally unaware of where he was or how to get out.  He was never afraid though, as he knew I wasn't far behind him. 

I have a slew of "Doggie Stairs" throughout the house to enable my little guy to climb onto the couch in the living room, the couch in the family room, the futon in the guest room, and the various chairs throughout the house.  I also have one that leads up to the bed as he always slept with me.  One night Ben apparently decided to go for a walk.  He walked  down the stairs but apparently shortly after that became lost.  As I was asleep, I didn't go looking for him.  I have no idea how long he stood in the corner of our bedroom I only remember the blood-curdling scream that woke me from sleep.  Not far from me, I immediately snatched him from the corner and cradled him in my arms.  Rocking him back and forth, as you might a baby, I tried desperately to quiet him from shaking.

From the moment Ben entered our home, he was spoiled.  His absolute favorite pastimes' were napping and eating.  So we managed to make both the best we could.  We bought him the softest blankets we could for his naps and he loved snuggling down into them.  However, buying his food was more of a challenge.  Ben had horrible teeth but his veterinarian was reluctant to put him to sleep to pull them.  So...we bought Ben the best soft food we could....which he loved. As Ben got older though, he became more and more finicky.  In out efforts to keep him fed, we started feeding him people food...which we swore we would never do. do what you have to in order to keep them eating.  Ben's favorite was a cheeseburger from McDonald's.  If he ever stuck his nose up at everything else, we knew that we would be able to get him to eat a cheeseburger from McDonald's.

As his "mommy", it was my job to keep Ben safe and happy....and I took my job very seriously.  However, I didn't want to see how time was affecting my baby.  I didn't want to see how he could no longer hold his head upright.  I didn't want to see how he could barely walk any distance at all before having to stop to catch his breath.  I didn't  want to see how he would tumble and fall often while taking those short little walks.  My husband, Bob, in his gentle way, tried to help me see, but I managed to ignore his efforts.  Even when our veterinarian told me he probably didn't have much longer, I managed to ignore even that.

But....I was not able to ignore Ben's efforts.  When he stopped eating or drinking, I knew that he was trying to tell me something, especially when I could not get him to eat a cheeseburger from McDonald's.  His message was that it was time for me to let him go.  As heart breaking as it was for me, I knew I had to love him enough to let him go.

And so it was that I held my baby safely in my arms when he crossed over.  With many of his brothers and sisters waiting for him on the other side, I gave over to them the job of keeping him safe and happy until I am reunited with them and he is once again safely in my arms.

Take a peek inside Ben's book....

(click on Ben's picture below)



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Copyright 2007