• Dotty Ann Harding

Ben And The Givers

The Christmas Season...words come to mind that this is the season of love, peace, joy, comfort, hope, and happiness. It brings to mind the story of Ole Man Ben. A forgotten, abandoned, uncared-for older dog. However, he walked down a path, perhaps directed, into the lives of several people who gave him their time and talent to help him.

His life was changed, but more importantly, so were the lives of those who reached out to help him. So an unwanted, lost dog was offered love, trust, and comfort that, in return, could bring the same compassion to others.


The Story of Ben and The Givers

On a hot, dry, dusty day, Lizette, a single Marine mom, found two large gentle dogs in her yard, hungry, dehydrated, and full of fleas and ticks.

Ben, the older dog, was in the worst shape with open festering sores. But they were super sweet, and her heart ached for them. No ID, microchip, or collar Lizette did not know what to do, so she asked OCPAW for help. Jean Cole from the organization contacted her and started to assist.

Rita, Second Chances back to Nature, became his foster until she realized she could not part with him and adopted him. Ben had Rita’s full attention, and she cared for his physical condition, which was in such dire straits.

With her help and financial assistance from OCPAW, he flourished and became a Therapy Dog to minister to the many Alzheimer patients that Rita took him to see faithfully every other weekend. They were inseparable in their lives, and when she realized he was dying, she laid beside him, speaking softly of their memories together while keeping her hand on his body so he would know of her presence.

He passed knowing he was so loved and cared for with her gentle healing hands. Thank you Rita, you were both blessed by each other, and I know he will be nudging his way to the front of the pack, as there have been so many others that you cared for, on the other side to greet you.

There are so many memories of Ben that will surely last our lifetime, but most importantly is how full and giving the life of a companion animal can be with care, love, and attention, so that they also can attain their full potential that God intended. Sweet dreams dear Ben, you were a gift to so many.

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So in every act of kindness, we hold in our own hands the mercy of our Maker, whose purposes are in life and not death, whose love does not stop at us but surrounds us, bestowing dignity and beauty and hope on every creature that lives and suffers and perishes. Perhaps that is part of the animals' role among us, to awaken humility, to turn our minds back to the mystery of things, and open our hearts to that most impractical of hopes in which all creation speaks as one. For them as for us, if there is any hope at all then it is the same hope, and the same love, and the same God who (Dominion by Matthew Scully)

" shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Rev.21:4)

 

Part of Issue 4: