Yes, you read that title right! We have a new family member!
I am so thrilled to introduce you to BENJI! He’s a 7 month old goldendoodle and I rescued him from the Triad Golden Retriever Rescue last Saturday. Two weeks ago I never dreamed that I’d have another puppy, much less a goldendoodle…it’s been a whirlwind!
This story has many layers. I won’t get to them all in this post but I’ll start here.
There has been a hole in my heart since I said goodbye to my Sullie girl last June. I was instantly brought to tears when I went to pull this photo and link to her goodbye post. I haven’t written about the grief that I experienced losing Sullie because it’s felt intense and private.
I needed time to be with that grief but my heart always knew that there was space for another dog. In early November I was ready to submit an application with a golden retriever rescue. While I wanted to stay with the golden breed, it was important to me to rescue and not pay for a puppy this time around. Also, I intended to adopt an older dog. I fully believed that we would end up with a dog who was 5+ years old.
Well, that was not God’s plan.
It took over three months for my application to be approved with the Triad Golden Retriever Rescue. When I received my approval letter it came with the caveat that it was not a guarantee that I would get a dog and that it would likely be months before I was offered a dog.
Imagine my surprise when I was sitting on the couch on Sunday evening the same week I received my approval and received a call at 8:30p from an unknown number. It was a volunteer with the rescue offering me a dog. And not just any dog…but a goldendoodle and a puppy named Benji.
Obviously, my mind was all over the place but I was willing to consider it. I spent the next few days thinking about it, talking to my close friends and family about it and talking and texting with his foster mom. I never dreamed that I would end up with a puppy, and hadn’t imagined a goldendoodle, but after learning more about the Benji I knew I had to at least meet him.
Benji’s foster mom was amazing. She has fostered over 300 dogs and cats and has such a sweet setup in the country. Benji was a lucky boy to spend five weeks with her. She was totally honest with me about his positives and negatives and put zero pressure on the meeting. She told me that if I decided not to adopt Benji, it meant that he just hadn’t met his perfect family yet and she was happy to keep him.
I took Zoey with me because it was important to me that she be involved in the process. You see, Zoey never knew life without another dog around until we lost Sullie. And while I think part of her liked being an only dog, I could also see many ways that she was more anxious and unsettled without another dog around. Yes, I have a toddler and life is crazy but while Finn LOVES Zoey, I fully realize that Zoey doesn’t love Finn the same way. I know she missed the way she played with Sullie right up until the end, and as well as the companionship.
So last Saturday I traveled two hours to meet Benji in Snow Camp, North Carolina. I went into it totally 50/50 about whether I’d bring him home. A puppy wasn’t in my plans and I felt noncommittal. I had decided that if he was wild, crazy and knocking everyone over, I wasn’t going to move forward. Not that these aren’t totally normal puppy behaviors but I had to think about Finn and what I could realistically handle.
Everything went better than I could have imagined. His foster mom said that I was the first person Benji had ever met and not barked at. He was calm, chill and didn’t jump on me one time. He was sweet, social and inquisitive. I was sure that I would know if it was right and while I had many reservations going in, I had none from the moment I met him. It was right.
So Benji came home with us. He was very anxious on the drive home, as to be expected. This sweet boy has had four homes in his short 7 months of life. He alternated standing like this and crying and lying down for the whole two-hour trip. Once we got home, I could see him noticeably settle and he’s been right at home ever since! 🙂
His foster mom didn’t have rules around furniture and the bed so Benji has made himself very comfortable on the couch and in the bed, The lovely thing is that he’s so gentle and considerate about it. His presence and energy is so calm and grounding, similar to Sullie’s but different.
Let me tell you more a little more about Benji’s background. The rescue believes that he came from a puppy mill, and was weaned too early. His birthday is July 30, 2019. He was Christmas present from a mom to her 10 year old son. They were living in an apartment and it sounds like they didn’t have experience with dogs, especially not large ones. They ultimately decided to surrender him to the Triad Golden Retrieve Rescue just a few weeks after Christmas due to medical issues and separation anxiety concerns. I think they had good intentions but didn’t know what they were getting into.
Benji arrived at the rescue with pretty severe entropion of his right lower lid. Entropion is where the lid curls toward the eye, which can scratch the surface and lead to infections and damage to the surface of the eye. It was surgically repaired by the rescue. (This is why you’ll notice that the areas around his eyes are shaved in photos.)
His other health issue was that he had a pretty ugly skin infection. The worst was around his mouth/lips, but his belly was also affected and he had an ear infection too. The skin and ear issues seemed to clear with a high-quality puppy food and so far there is no evidence that it will be an ongoing concern. I dealt with similar things with Sullie when she was a puppy. It’s crazy the power that food can have on their skin and ears.
His foster mom had him for five weeks and said that his eyes became so much brighter and his coat so much healthier in the short time that he spent with her. I pray he continues to thrive with me!
I could keep going all night about Benji and I’ll write a second post answering more questions and giving more detail but for now…he is an angel. Benji is the easiest puppy that I’ve ever had. His foster mom did a good job working on leash skills with him and I plan to keep that up! He’s smart, calm (but a puppy!) and so very loving and trusting.
While Benji’s foster mom made it clear that there will never be a day that he won’t be welcome back with her, that day will not come. He is meant to be a part of our family. There hasn’t been one minute since he’s arrived home with us where I’ve questioned that.
I truly love having two dogs. I think that most of my friends and family though that I was a little crazy for wanting another dog right now. Pretty sure my parents straight up said, “you don’t need another dog right now” and my friends kind of nodded and went “mmhmm” when I talked about it. (But as soon as it was real and I sent photos of Benji, my parents changed their tune. And my friends are in love with him. Haha.)
There is zero part of me that questions this decision. I know what is right for us and this was right. I thought it would be an older dog…but it was Benji. This sweet boy was meant to join our family. I am certain that we will all bless each other in so many ways.
All is right in our world and we are so grateful to give our amazing Benji boy the loving home he deserves!
Give me all of your questions about Benji, his adoption, Zoey, Finn, etc.!
Have you ever adopted a dog?
Any goldendoodle tips? I Amazon Primed three different brushes/combs this week and actively researching nearby groomers.