I DON’T often post personal stuff here, but today I’m making an exception to pay tribute to the little man who saved my life.
Some of you will have heard me speak about Benji before. I was struggling with clinical depression in the run up to my breakdown (breakTHROUGH) when we called into the café at Woodgreen Animal Shelter, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, for a cuppa and some cake.
We weren’t even looking for a dog, but when five year-old Benji and I locked eyes through the bars, fate intervened. This little chap, shaved down to nothing having become so matted, and handed to the shelter after the death of his elderly owner, reminded me so much of the pup I’d had growing up. We took him for a walk and the rest is history.
I never would have guessed I’d end up being best friends with a Lhasa Apso, or that this little lion dog would be so instrumental in healing my heart, rebuilding my spirit and giving me the focus and determination to climb back out of the abyss.
For the past nine years, Benji has been my constant companion, always there with a nose lick, head bump or well timed bark.
Today, we said our farewells for the last time, as the fast growing tumours that had begun to invade his mouth and beautiful face were having a detrimental effect on my little man’s breathing. I have wept rivers this past week as the arguments between my head and heart raged on – my heart knew it was time for Benji to shed his battered body and go running in the next place, whilst my head wanted to keep my best pal by my side for as long as possible. Ultimately, the heart knows what’s needed. Benji was ready, and he slipped away peacefully, with so much dignity and a final cuddle.
Massive thanks to the team at Riverside Veterinary Practice for so much care through the years, and especially at the end.
So long, Benji. My little life saver. I’ll miss you.
IN MEMORY OF BENJI – THE TINY DOG WITH THE HEART OF A LION. 2002-2016.