What My Dog Benney Taught Me About Life

 In Blog

Before my daughter was born I decided that I needed to share a little of myself with someone in need. I really felt something was missing in my life. I didn’t feel a deep sense of connection in my community and felt there was more for me to do. In this case, it was a dog from the nearby animal shelter. While I knew it would be nice to have a pet to come home to, I never in my wildest dreams expected to get more than I gave. However, that is exactly what happened with my dog Benney.

When I first arrived at the Humane Society to adopt, I was not quite sure how to choose the right animal for me. There was an entire compound of different animals waiting for someone to take them home, but I was drawn to the kennel that housed all the dogs. In the kennel, I noticed only one dog in the line-up that quietly stood still with his tail wagging. When I picked him up and put him on my lap, he sat with me as if we had been together for years. He was so well behaved, and in my eyes, he was the epitome of a perfect dog. While thirty pounds is not the usual weight for a lap dog, is just felt like this dog was the ideal fit for me. At that moment Benney, a mixed breed of Golden Retriever and Brittney Spaniel, became my partner.

Little did I know at the time, but I was not the one who picked Benney; it was Benney who picked me. However, the moment I got him home he started showing his true self. Benney was not the calm, low maintenance dog I had originally thought. He was wild, misbehaved, and full of energy. His eyes would glaze over when he was outside he became easily distracted by all the sounds and the smells of nature. He would run for hours until he was exhausted, and would then prance into the house, giving me a wag and what seemed to be a smile, and proceed to take a power nap.

While I wondered how Benney could have so much energy, my friends said that this was the same energy that they saw in me. It was quite amazing to me that our personalities could be so similar, and I can’t deny that we moved through the world in the same fashion. I was an impatient, high-energy- person that did not listen well, and who spoke so quickly that I often missed out on connecting with others. I would go throughout the day, eyes glazed over, distracted.  ..

On a particularly hectic day, my friends pulled me aside and said I have a withhold with you and asked if I was “present and open for discussion,” which was a term I had recently taught them from my self-help seminars. While I laughed at how they used my own “language,” I realized that they were trying to tell me something, and that this was a wake-up call: I had not really been living my life. When I got stressed and preoccupied, I would tune out, and it would show in my facial expression and eyes. Just like Benney, whose eyes would take on this wild glaze, I too was glazing over at the prospect of actually living my life. It was not only my friends, but also Benney that helped me realize that I needed to make a change.

One of the great lessons Benney taught me is how to be present and in the moment; he taught me about living in the now. When I get home, whether I am gone for an hour or all day, the arrival is always the same. Benney greets me at the door with what looks like a grin, and a tail that wags at sixty miles per hour. His whole body quivers and jumps around, emanating joy in every single movement. There is nothing else that puts my life in perspective more than those few crazy minutes of sheer joy and unconditional love.

Every negative aspect of my day goes away while I give Benney my full, undivided attention. He keeps me grounded, centered, and authentic, reminding me in who I am. His happiness has taught me to bring joy, serenity, and happiness to those around me. After adopting Benney, I started smiling more, concentrating more, and truly engaging with those around me. Just as Benney taught me, I started living in the now.

You have a daily choice of what mood you live in and how you present yourself to others. People that are open, compassionate and confident are often told that they are charismatic. It’s much more enjoyable being with someone who is charismatic than being with someone who is distant and closed off

Although Benney is in now in doggy heaven his lessons have continued to this day to serve me well. What has your pet taught you about life? I bet you have a similar story if you look for it. Want to share your story? Send me an email and I’ll post it in my next blog post. becky@beckywoodbridge.com


Pets teach us one very important thing, and that lesson is to live in the “now.” They don’t worry about yesterday’s meal or yesterday’s love. They are simply happy in the present moment.

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