Once in a while a rescue gets a call about a special dog, the one that shelter isn't sure about because of lack of history, evident distrust, shyness, unpredictability, etc. That is when my rescue calls me. This time it turned out to be a big-eyed Spaniel mix, with no history to speak of, but plenty of unpredictable behavior that earned him high marks for un-adoptability at the shelter. I usually give it a day to see what percolates as far as naming my new wards, but fate stepped in when my family commented on how the Spaniel boy's personality together with his visual resemblance was that of Ben Linus on TV show Lost. I thought of other options, but decided to keep the name!
Ben, indeed, turned out to be the unpredictable one. One minute he couldn’t get enough of you – the next he wanted to stay away. Just like a cat, really. Plus, it was clear that he didn’t show well in the crowds. Just when I thought it was going to be okay, he managed to bite a woman who stretched her hand to pet him. His teeth never did damage, but he showed he meant business. A bit later, when she saw him interact with me by playing and begging for belly rubs – she asked how I did it. I told her that Ben, resembling a cat, needed to be the one to approach you first, to determine if he is to like you. She asked for a demonstration, and as if by magic, Ben approved of his recent enemy and was already falling asleep in her arms. All in under ten minutes! She confided that she has had only cats all her life and didn’t know how to handle a dog, so his behavior made total sense to her. And wouldn’t you know it – she ended up adopting him right then and there! I was crossing my fingers no latent issues would arise when I received an email from her telling me about a month later that he did indeed eat her duvet, but that “he really is a lovable little rascal and I worship the ground his little paws walk on...duvet and all! I definitely get why you named him Ben…I feel so incredibly lucky to have found Bennie. He sleeps with us every night. He rolls and squirms around on the down comforter like the happiest dog in the world and his greetings are off the charts!” Now there is what every foster lives for!