Thursday, October 29, 2009

Introducing: Benji

My apologies for lack of postings lately... I've been busy hanging out with my new friend, the flu. I'm feeling much better now, just the remnants of a cough left, which also seems to be on it's way out. The most painful part of this flu was sitting inside watching the beautiful last few days of fall foliage and not being able to get outside. It didn't stop me from picking up the camera a few times, and I've been outside for short times the last couple days.

And without further adieu, I would like you to meet my main man (other than my husband), Benji Roethlisberger, aka Mr. Ben, Little Ben, Little Man, My-Two-foot-long-hot-dog, and many others. Yes, he is named after the Steelers' Quarterback, "Big Ben" Roethlisberger, and has a jersey in his size.

Benji already had a name when I adopted him from the Belmont County Animal Shelter in Eastern Ohio. I was going to adopt a dog, and found an adorable little girl named Tia on their Petfinder website, she was a smiley Westie mix. I went to meet Tia and that cute smile in her photograph turned out to be a snarl and growl. Okay, well, maybe Tia's not right for me and my apartment. We kept looking, all around, small dogs, large dogs, puppies, seniors. No one I was completely sold on. Then my dad had me come back in the room with Tia to see the dog in the cage under hers. He was a dirty messy scraggly guy with a funny bark. He had been taken from his last family because they kept him tied to a tree outside all the time with no shelter "because the kids had allergies," yet they had a Lab that lived inside. I have allergies too, and am allergic to Labs, and have never once had a problem with Benji. The Dog Warden decided to take him away from them a week before Christmas. We got him out and walked around with him for a while. In my head, my biggest criteria was a dog slightly under 20 pounds so if I ever had to fly with him, I wouldn't have to put him in the belly of the plane, I would be able to carry him on. Benji was a little bit bigger than that, but the more my dad played with him and petted him, he was convinced that Benji was the little man for me. I played with him and loved him some before making my final decision that Benji would be coming home with me that night. I filled out the papers December 28, 2004 and the rest is history :)

Now I don't want everyone going on thinking "Aww, what a sweet dog, what a nice story." On our way home from the shelter, I took my new muddy, matted dog to Pet Supplies Plus to pick out his new collar, leash, kennel, bowls, food, etc. We were in the toy aisle and I was squeaking and tossing around every type of toy trying in vain to gain his interest and get him to play. Nothing. No interest whatsoever. Enter: Great Dane at the other end of the aisle. Benji locked eyes with this new dog and took off at a gallop toward the dane! At first, we were all thinking, aww, they want to play! NO! Benji! Stop biting the Great Dane! Unwrap yourself from it's neck! Cease and desist! "Oh no! my perfect new dog is going to get killed!" Luckily for all involved, the fully grown dane had a very good sense of humor, and in my mind I can still see him patting Benji's head with his huge paw and saying "There, there little dog. I know, you're big. It's okay." When we got the two untangled, Benji trotted off like nothing had happened. We were still standing there horrified, and the dane's owner just laughed and said they were more worried about Benji than their dog, one chomp could have seriously injured him. We thanked them for their candor and quickly shuffled out of the store. I learned that night that Benji's a tough guy. I've never seen him back down when feeling threatened (even when it's by an 80 year old man with a cane) but he doesn't usually actually attack, just growls to let you know he's the boss. He's still stubborn and always right, and if he doesn't want to do something, good luck getting him to do it. But at home, he's the most adorable loving licking and sometimes playful little guy. As I type this, he's curled up in his pink poodle blanket (it used to be mine; he claimed it. same as he did my fleece robe.) on the couch. He LOVES soft blankets and rubs all over them before forming them into a perfect Benji-shaped nest.

In March, we moved into our house and out of the apartment that kept the Little Man so cramped up. Now he has plenty of space to run and play in, deer to chase, chippymunks and squirrels and turkeys to hunt, and grass to fertilize. The great news for me: he couldn't care less about birds!

This is Benji's Kingdom.

Until we put in our fence, we keep him on a 30ft tie-out which gives him lots of room to sniff and hunt for chippymunks, and a little hillside he can climb up on to see the neighbor's yard and watch for more critters. Then sometimes his tie-out chain gets stuck on the stumps of the multiflora rose bushes we took out in the spring and he gets the pitiful "Mommmeeeee? Please help me" look.

But most of the time, he just lays around and chills and enjoys the grass.

Last March, right after we moved in, our front porch was looking pretty bare.

"Mommee will probably be along shortly... I'll just keep being patient."


  1. Aw, that's one cute little guy you've got there. Sorry to hear that the flu came to visit you. Hope you'll be feeling well soon!

  2. Ahhhhh.....what a great story!!! I totally pictured that Great Dane patting your Little Man on the head..... I had the Swine too. It was horrible. Especially the cough that burned my thoat and chest. But it's over and done, and I'll be healthy for Thanksgiving Dinner! Yeah.....glad you're out and about too.

  3. What a cute dog. It's kind of scary that he fought with a dog at the pet supplies store. It's hard to judge dogs based on their pictures. I once went down to an animal shelter to see this cute dog from Craigslist. When I saw him in person, he was several months older than in his picture and basically crazy. I wouldn't have even be able to take him if I wanted to, because they said he needed specialized care.