it seems like forever ago almost like another life, when my girlfriend and I decided to get a boxer pup. I remember it was new years day when we drove drove our tiny puppy home, having just picked him out of the litter of pups. We decided to name him Bentley after the car company and because it was a freaking awesome name.

New puppies really suck at night, Bentley was absolutely no exception. He kept us up for days crying all night long, because we got him during the Wisconsin winter, neither he nor us wanted to go outside in -10 degrees to crap. I remember stand for what seems like hours in a freezing garage waiting for him to sh*t on newspaper, only to have him sh*t in the house minutes later. We honestly contiplated throwing in the towel and returning him, but, each time, we talked each other out of it.

Bentley was a goofy puppy, and fearlessly curious. My girlfriend once took tiny Bentley for a walk wearing one of those doggie dork sweaters, he was attacked on the leash by a neighorhood pitbull. I can still recall my girlfriends scream as she tried to protect him. Maybe it was luck or that doofas sweater, but Bentley came our realatively unharmed.

As he got older, Bentley's legs grew faster than his body so he looked like a ugly baby deer. We spent hours, weeks, months training that dog. We conditioned him not to bark, using a soup can with nickels in it. We taught him to walk by our side and not in front of us and never pull the leash! We even taught him to ring a bell when he needed to go outside, ya know to sh*t. By the time he was two he knew about 9 tricks really well. He was our baby and our whole life. We even had web cameras on him so we could check in during the workday.

„When Nora got sick and things turned dark, Bentley seemed to understand.“

Bentley her terrible allergies. At times he his entire neck would be bald and bleeding from constant scratching. As we tried to help him, a vet checkup revealed he had an agressive form of cancer and underwent surgury. We were terrified, of loosing him, but he came through. He carried a wide scar across his belly from then on.

Time past and I eventually asked that girlfriend to marry me. Bentley, Jaime and I become a family.

When we moved to Tennessee, 100lb Bentley covertly stayed in a hotel room with us for almost a month. Teaching him not to bark had paid off. We eventually found a home and shortly after moving in, our still fiercly curious Bentley ate his first and only bee. I still remember how shoving peanut butter covered benedryl into his mouth as his face ballooned so huge, his eyes swelled shut.

Nora came along shortly afterwards.

Bentley, once the center of our attention, our lives, had begun to fade to the back. Bentley became the protector and developed a love of paper products .... well, eating paper products. No paper towel, toilet paper, or small boxes were safe. He would snatch paper towel if left unsupervised then quickly eat it. When he would pass in the yard, the lawn mower would run over the turd it and it would explode like confetti. He had strange craving which led him to eventually eat a full bar of irish spring soap then spent the day cleanly vomiting around the house.

Other strange things Bentley ate over the years:

  • a entire large heart-shaped pizza
  • a full bag of resse's peanut butter cups
  • a box of cereal (the box, not the cereal)
  • a full sleeve of saltine crackers
  • a ladies Schick Intuition razor
  • 1/2 roll of toilet paper
  • stuffing from dozens of dog toys
  • full bar of Irish Spring soap
  • over 40 pairs of used foam ear plugs

When Nora got sick and things turned dark, Bentley seemed to understand. He took on a much gentler role, treating Nora as gently as we treated her. As Nora's needs only increased, Bentley became lost in the shuffle. He slept a lot and protected the house. He somehow always knew who was on our property. He would growl but never bark until the doorbell range, the he spring out from behind the door and scare the hell out of whomever was thee. The UPS guy eventually learned not to ring the doorbell.

Before long though, our puppy became an old man. At eleven years old, he moved slower and slept more. We began to notice his food bowl wasn't being touched. We tried different food, even soft food and it didn't make a big difference. One evening a pizza man came to the door, we braced for Bentley's mad rush, but it never came. Bentley, never got out of bed. He just barked once then fell back asleep. We took him to the vet a few days later and they delivered the devistating news. Bentley had a large inoperable tumor that was displacing his other organs. He was likely in pain already, but letting "nature take it's course" would have meant Bentely's pain would increase.

We decided it was time to let him go. Jaime held our fearless and goofy little puppy, as they delivered the shot to put him asleep, for the last time. ...and Bentley was gone.