Memories of Ben

This week our family had to put our golden retriever Ben down. He lived just over 14 and a half years and was a loved part of our family. And so as we say good-bye, I'd like to sit down and remember.


Who can forget the day we can home to little Ben in his crate, and he had ejected about every possible bodily fluid into the bottom of his crate. He was cowered in the corner trying to escape the flood, poor guy. What a sight and smell that was!

A strong attachment

I remember when I was about 15, a year or two after we got Ben, laying on the floor of my parent's bedroom after watching a movie, snuggled up with Ben. It was one of those times when I realized how heart broken I would be if he were ever killed in an accident such as being hit by a car. I think I was near tears as I lay there with my arms around him and my face buried in his scruff.

5.5, 7.5, and 9.5

When I would take Ben for a walk, there were different possible lengths: The short walk was going North from the corner of Oxford and Hunter and completing a one-block square. But because the walk from our house to the corner was about 3/4 of a block, I reasoned the walk was 5.5 blocks. What a mathy! If I walked two blocks North from the corner and then one block East to Delatre, that was a 7.5 block walk, and if I did the same but walked two blocks East to Vansitart, that was a 9.5 block walk. And so Ben's walks with me were pretty much always a 5.5, 7.5 or 9.5.

Teaching a dog to bark

Ben wasn't much of a barker, which is a great trait to have in a dog. Our parents must have rolled their eyes then when we were trying to teach him to bark on command!

The park: A powerful magnet

I was always amazed that as soon as we'd get close to the park, even if we were on a street that I thought Ben had never been on, he'd start pulling on his leash in the direction of the park. How did he know if was over there? In the later years, when I'd walk him without a leash, I think there were a few incidents where he'd make a sudden break for it, crossing Vansitart without me. Yikes!

Rebekah's first winter away

I think it was January 1997, and Rebekah was in Hawaii on her DTS, which was the first time that she was away from home after high school. Woodstock had been dumped on with a massive amount of snow, and after supper Ben and I went out for a walk in it. I dressed as warmly as I could, with many layers, a big coat, hat, mitts. I was an abominable snow man, and off we went to the park. That night we talked to Rebekah on the phone and it was a strange thing to talk to your big sister half a world a way. Ben and I made it to the park, and I was exhausted. I flopped down on my back and just lay there contemplating the world while Ben pranced around and enjoyed the thick white fluff.

Losing a tooth

If my memory serves me correctly, I'm responsible for chipping off the lower half of one of Ben's canines. I was out in the back yard with a golf club and Ben thought it was fun to treat the club head as a bad guy. One time he got a bit too close and that was all it took... his smile wasn't quite perfect after that.

Spiritual analogies

I could never understand what Ben saw in garbage, but time and again he would sneak out of the back yard and get into a neighbor's garbage. Many times, he would get sick later that day somewhere in the house. It was stupid behavior, and I would think to myself, why can't he ever learn from the consequences? What was interesting about seeing Ben get into the garbage again and again is that it is analogous to how people sin again and again. We get into the garbage, we feel ill afterwards, and yet it is amazing how people will keep going back for more.

Throwing a ball straight up

While I was home on my summers off of university, I would go out to the back yard at lunch with his orange ball, and I had fun throwing it straight up with an under arm motion. I could get it around 30 feet high and it was fun to see Ben running around madly trying to figure out where it was going to land. It was quite funny if he got too close, because it came down with quite a thud!