Bringing Up Ben: the bond we have with best friends

Posted by Dr. Nina Mantione on Oct 22 2010

Ben was practically begging me to write a blog about him tonight as he attempted to stare me into taking him for a walk. I think Ben is the coolest dog I have ever met. We got him as a rescue over four years ago when my youngest daughter was three-months-old (did I mention that my husband is a saint?).

Ben was already almost two-years-old and had been returned twice to our local rescue. He was originally pulled from a West Virginia shelter and looks suspiciously like an English Foxhound, although sometimes I swear he is a person in a dog suit. He was returned to the rescue for once knocking a child down the stairs and again for barking too much when he was left tied outside. The first day we had him, he shoved past me, out the back door and took us on an exhilarating chase through the surrounding yards. As I chased him with a three-month-old baby in one arm and a bag of hotdog pieces in the other, I thought of ways to explain to the rescue how I lost our new dog.

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Aside from that initial hiccup, Ben was really kind of a Stepford dog. He never stole food from the table, rarely barked and refrained from climbing on the couch. To top it off, he is extremely handsome.

Somewhere over the past four years we have managed to ruin a perfectly good dog. He is now a ninja when it comes to stealing food off of the counters. His expertise borders on a super power, and he can snatch a bagel in the blink of an eye. He prefers baked goods, and will circle the kitchen like a starving vulture if cookies are baking. If caught in the act and yelled at he will whimper like a scolded child.

He considers it his God-given right to lie on the couch. He had his own dedicated loveseat, until his sister, June, threw up all over it and we had to toss it. I purchased two very plush, very pricey dog beds which he refused to lay on, choosing instead to sit in front of me on the floor and give me reproachful looks while crying softly under his breath. He would retire to the dog bed with hurt looks only when my husband would say, “Ben – You are a dog, go lay on the DOG bed!”

Even though he is a hound, I have a suspicion about why he ended up in a shelter. He hates bad weather. If it is the least bit cold or raining he will poke his nose out the door, sigh, and retire to his (now grudgingly accepted) bed. If you try to drag him out to go to the bathroom, he will go limp, collapse on the floor, and do his best imitation of a peaceful protest until you give up.

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