Bentley, the fluffy dog

Two and a half years ago my oldest dachshund, Dax, was attacked by the two younger dogs we share our home with. I was faced with a very difficult decision – do I get rid of the culprit or do I introduce a new element into the pack? After much agonising I realised that I couldn’t face rehoming any one of my little darlings even if they were mean little princesses who couldn’t play nice in the sandpit. Dachshunds hardly ever do, in case you were wondering.

I decided to get us a boy dog. Princesses are easily distracted by boys. Watch any Disney movie and you’ll see what I mean. Dax and I went with a friend to the SPCA to find a likely candidate. The ideal candidate would be handsome, a bit larger than the largest of the darlings and polite to Dax. The other two princesses would have to deal. We spent a few hours interviewing all the dachshunds available but they were all a bit rude and rather pushy. That was when we saw the little mop of chocolate hair sitting quietly in one of the encampments. He seemed calm and didn’t bother Dax and well, he was chocolate coloured. I have a weakness for chocolate. I took his photo to show Kev and went home to “think”. Or so I told myself. But the little chocolate coloured mop of hair was mine already in my subconscious and it wasn’t long before I brought him home with me.

I named him Bentley to ingratiate him with Kev (he loves Bentleys, so it stands to reason, right?) and he performed exactly as required. He was a much bigger drama queen than the three girls and they ended up being more worried about upsetting him than fighting amongst themselves. Result. What I hadn’t bargained on was what a long road we would walk with little Bentley.

Anyone who has ever rescued / adopted a dog knows that they come with issues. Some are downright damaged. Bentley was damaged with issues. He had been in and out of the SPCA several times and I got him on the third round. I had only ever owned dachshunds and this new fluffy dog baffled me with his reactions, so it took me while to realise that he carried more hurt than I thought.

It took me three months to get rid of the usual runny tummy that comes standard with rescue dogs. In Bentley’s case the runny tummy had to be taken outside up to 4 times a night. I got crabbier by the day from lack of sleep. Yet each time Kev suggested that perhaps I had made a mistake I would look at Bentley and think to myself, “We did a good thing here.” The confirmation came the day I got home and Bentley wagged his tail at me. I nearly fell over. Since I had never had a fluffy dog with a curly tail, I had assumed that perhaps this breed didn’t wag. Not that I know what breed he is, other than fluffy. However, the assumption was there because in the time he had been with us, he hadn’t wagged his tail once. How damaged was my little chocolate mop if it took him three months before he felt relaxed enough to wag his tail?

The little fluffy dog that we have now only slightly resembles the scared little shadow I brought home all that time ago. Visitors are greeted by a bouncing, wagging ball of fur and not growled at by a slinking, scared little critter. I never thought that he was the bouncing type but it definitely suits him. There are days when his nerves still get the better of him but I am reminded each time that we did do a good thing. We took a little soul and gave it a reason to be joyful again. In return, we are the recipients of all the joy and love he has to give. It is a great blessing to be on the receiving end of all the love a little soul is capable of and very humbling to think that someone thinks you’re worthy of it.

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