His drooping left eye
His back foot with only 3 toes
His old man mouth with black speckles throughout his gums
his worn down teeth
his thick dense smelly black fur
his wobbley back legs
the way he always would wait for me if he got just a little ahead of me. he knew I could help guide him and he trusted that.
The way he puffed up around a big dominant male. Didn’t matter that his legs were wobbley, he would show him who was King.
The way he would follow an intact male around with great fervor, with a dash of intimidation, but mostly just being a good Alpha
His roar every time the door bell rang. His need to protect till his
last days. but as soon as he saw it was a good friend- he would wiggle his little nub tail and grab his monkey for them.
The way he would wait patiently until a dog dropped their ball and then mosey over and pick it up – acting like he had just hunted and stalked it for miles.
Then he would lay down and lick on it- showing off to the surrounding pups- cleaning and prepping the ball as if it were a newly killed dear.
How he loved to mark his territories far and wide, and even at 13, this was important to him.
How he loved to lay down in big deep puddles and just lay there, for minutes. looking at me to be acknowledged- “Hey mom- i am here, this is so so cool!”
How he always ventured down to any beach he could make his way down to. Water was his therapy. This was because on one
of our first walks- we went to Pt Pinole and his joy of being off leash overcame his fear of the water and in minutes- he was running through the tides with utter abandonement.
The way he would watch me, whever I would go. he was a strong boy, but his mom mattered most to him. Home was where I was. and I felt the very same.
How I accepted so much fixing, messing with in his last years- the pills, the heating pads, the acupuncture, the stretching, the cleaning, multiple surgeries. Never once a growl or a nip.
How everyone in all his vet hospitals knew the Benjamin and his story. Every Vet, technician and front staff- knew how much he had overcame and the great statesman he had become.
How he had his special bed – placed perfectly so he could see everyone who entered the house. and none of the girls ever got on it. This was his throne. He was their leader and they knew his place.
His old man bark- he could still muster a big one when needed.
How he loved to be stroked deeply under his chin and on his chest. He would make these moans of ectasy and all was good in our worlds.
Everyone in town saw us and knew Old Man Benjamin- people who would normally be afraid of the breed- saw him- in his later
more vulnerable state- and that softened their fears. They saw an old soul trying hard to stand tall and show his grace even with a tired body. He helped me make so many nice connections with people I otherwise would not have.
How 2 days before his death- he happily did 5 minutes on the underwater treadmill- eating his favorite treats and being cheerleaded by me and Joni- his favorite rehab nurse. he never wanted to give up.
How I know without a doubt, he brought Abbey girl to me, months ago- they must have had a conversation- and he said I was going to need a special muse- full of laughter and lightness- to help me through the darkness of my loss. Thank you my son for this gift of Abbey.
He taught me that Wise Masters come in animal bodies. He taught me that deep abuse can lead to awakening which leads to love, teaching, and spreading the Wisdom. I was HIS VESSEL. I was here to serve him, so that he could teach me how to serve other dogs in great need of rehabiliation.
He taught me that even when there is severe aggression, – it is just often a doorway to step through with inner conviction- where Love and Leadership can shift it all.
He taught me that Home is where Unconditional Love is. Home is where he was. and even thought his physical presence is gone now- I am starting to see that Home is where we ALWAYS are together in Divine Vast Love that knows no death.
He was always the leader of any and all packs I walked- but he did it in his measured dignfied way- that never instilled fear in the pack, just deep abiding respect.
His old man farts and how he could care less about them.
The way he would quiver his lips when he got an especially good scent of urine on a tree
His crazy love for female dogs in heat. No matter how wobbley his old man knees were. he would try his damndest to mount her.
How he always ate past all the good veges in his dish, just to get to the meat.
The smile that took over his face.
His eyes following me whereever I went. always keeping an eye out for me.
From Dan Kuklo: I only have one poignant memory of Benjamin and Lucille. It seemed to me both your pups were at their best at UC. Lucille tossed her brooding nature aside and frolicked in all directions, chasing squirrels, careening in the creek and enjoyed a high state of abandon. Benjamin also seemed fulfilled there. But in his very different way. He was so smooth and comfortable that he was able to take a sublime joy there, especially in the three main bathing pools. Like a pigeon takes a bath, Benjamin could just be still and meditate on his good fortune. Dogs don’t do that in my experience except for him. He was a deep spirit. I’m equally sorry for his loss and your loss. But he is passed it now and you still have further to go on the trail.
The way his tired old back legs would cave in a bit when I gave him deep massage there. He loved the deep rubs.
On our walks- if he got a few steps ahead of me, he would always wait. turn around and wait for me to come. I think he liked me leading him as he got older.
His extreme pride at being helped anywhere. he hated it when I lifted him over things like rocks and wood. He would see me coming and instead start to move faster to get an old man running start to go over- rather than have me help him.
How serene he looked when he would find the best biggest puddle to lay down in. He would just lay there so richly fulfilled.
His face when he wanted me to acknowledge him for something-
just a quiet look of hopeful expectation for his mom to say “ I see you”
How he would perk up and muscle up when other dominant boys would come by. No matter how sore or tired he was moments before- he would enlarge those shoulders and strut to show his prowless around them.
How he so so loved to be toweled off. He would come to me and lean against me as soon as he saw me with the towel. he would push the other girls out of the way. I think this was from one of his first memories with me- the day I rescued him and his first bath at Pet Food express. Most likely, the first loving touch he had ever had.
His big front chest. a barrel.
The morning howl with Lucille every morning for many years. how she would always start it, then he would chime in , and her voice was high and his was deep, low and long. union, joining. and how it would trickle off to just small utterings.
His magnificent profound transformation from aggressive beast to noble centered stable dog.
The way he would correct Lucille with a snarl, a growl, a look, if she got too close to his bed. Only her. and she loved it! she loved his reprimands.
How whenever Lucille was stressed or insecure. she would go lay right next to him, usually touching him.
How 10 years , after I would turn the lights off to go to bed, 15
minutes later or so- he would always come in the bedroom to sleep with me. I could sense him enter. and he would be standing there. I would acknowledge him and only then , would he make his way to lay on his bed.
How hearing him sleep deeply brought me so much comfort.
He would do that funny thing with his mouth- taking in some amazing smell – like a computer chip so much more advanced than our nose.
His effervescent smile. big, wide, so so happy.
How wide his front limbs were from each other. He walked like a soldier on a mission.
his absolute delight with female dogs in heat.
his white underbelly
his battle scars. ear, legs, – the stories they tell of his survial and transformation.
The way he loved when I would give him a big full massage- he would stretch out his back legs and spread out in total bliss.
He always knew I was coming home- he was fully alert and waiting for me. very happy. very ready for our one on one time.
His fear of flies. sweetness , innocence.
The way his whole face expanded with his smile.
When he layed down on the walks- he looked very content and regal. also- always keeping one eye on me.
The thickness of his Fur especially around his neck – so lush.
The way he smelled- deeply familiar, comforting, like an old man.
How he would let me do anything to him. Never a growl. ever.
His ears that seemed a bit too small for his head. like little airplane wings.
His perfectly imperfect Rottweiler stature.
His little Nub- Rapid movement when he was excited.
His black toenails
How absolutely adorable he looked in his raincoat and sweater.
Our vacation in Tahoe. Experiencing his first snow! His perseverance on the walks. always trudging along. making the way down the small hillls with his rickedy back legs. but perfectly beautiful doing it.
How he owned his bed. it was HIS and the other dogs knew it and respected it.
His fierceness with raccoons and skunks. The fights! His skillful predatory drive. Scary, but somehow admirable and awe inspiring.
The Lucille and Benjamin morning howl that took place almost every morning for years. She would start by looking at him and yodeling. then he would chime in and soon , both their heads would be thrown back with deep primal howls- what were they saying to each other? The mystery of it left me deeply affected.
The love of my life. simple. forever. The love was limitless. It grew every day, in every moment of our interactions, in the silence.