Bear was born in March 2009. He was first owned by a woman who thought it would be nice to have a puppy. She did not realize how much hard work goes into raising a puppy, so when Bear was about six months old he was brought to Heaven Can Wait — and given to them.
Bear spent a few months in Heaven Can Wait’s Pups on Parole program and one day a young man came in and wanted to adopt Bear. He seemed like a nice young man and Bear went home with him. Just a few months later Bear was again returned to Pups on Parole. No one was really sure what happened but it just didn’t work out. He was very cute but did not respond to people very well. When brought out for Adoption Days he stayed in his kennel, coiled in the fetal position in the back and didn’t look at anyone.
Lots of people saw his beautiful face online and expressed an interest in adopting him, until they met. Then he would retreat into his shell and be lethargic, closed down and not social at all.
Heaven Can Wait asked me to visit with him and see if I could figure out why he was doing this and bring him out of his shell. I went to an Adoption Day and saw Bear right away as a very shy, insecure dog that had a lot of change and disruption in his life. He had several owners in a year, new homes, new voices, new smells, not a lot of time to bond and trust anyone before moving on. Shy dogs need patience, lots of it. I had Kirby with me and they seemed to like one another right away. I took Bear for a walk and saw how difficult he was on leash. He just wanted to bolt out of there. But with Kirby by his side and my silence and guidance, he soon walked with us and even stopped to pee.
I brought him back inside and did not speak with him, but I did start clicking with a clicker his good behaviors. He sat for me (Pups on Parole taught him basic obedience) and even let me pet him. Then the real breakthrough. He did not respond to his name at all so I tried a different one – and I got the slightest look up. I finally saw his beautiful eyes. We now connected and I could see how distressed he was – why were all these people taking me home and bringing me back? Why were all these people reaching out to touch me when I clearly tell them I am uncomfortable with that? Why are all these people staring at me and making loud noises?
I spent about two hours with Bear and went home. But I could not forget his soulful eyes. I could not leave him to once again go to a new home that did not understand the shy, fearful dog and would not know how to continue the little bit of success we had in our first meeting.
So I decided to foster Bear and teach him enough trust to be ready for the right Forever Home.
After five days with Kirby and me I knew that Forever Home was ours.
So Bear, now named Benny, a name he loves and responds to, is officially ours.
His training has begun and we will continue to share his successes and challenges as he begins his path to becoming a much loved, hard working dog!
2012 Update about Benny: Benny’s demons began to show shortly after joining Sue’s family. He would startle from deep sleep as if sleepwalking and run into doors, blinds, walls – all trying to escape. He would bark and run so fast when outside it took several months to control his walking and reactive barking but positive training and tons of trust and love worked. Six months to the day of his adoption Benny was a different dog. Trusting, loving, smart, and he became the most perfect therapy dog.
Learn more about Benny at:
See Benny at work at www.lovedogadventures.com
What people are saying about Benny …
“I can’t believe Benny didn’t like people – he sure loves me!”
“Benny is so much like Coco – he even looks like her.”
“Benny gets scared sometimes but he is a very brave dog.”
“Benny wants to play all the time.”
“Benny will be a good dog one day!”
“Benny really likes to walk, a lot”
“Benny has a big heart.”
“Benny looks like a panda bear.”
“Benny is a fast learner.”
“Benny loves to cuddle.”
“Benny melts in your arms like he doesn’t have any bones!”