April 30, 2024

Farewell dude……

On the 19th of April, Meghan called the house. Melanie picked up the phone and Meghan asked to get me on the line as well.

Of course my first question was “are you ok”, and she said yes, but I have to tell you that we lost Bently today. He had collapsed in the back yard and wouldn’t get up. Meghan got Rob to help her pick him up and take him to the emergency vet clinic. An ultrasound indicated some definitely un-natural things going on inside.

They said that they could probably save him with emergency surgery, but at best it would only extend things a couple of months. So the decision was made to put him down.

Damn, just writing that brings tears to my eyes….

You see Bently was something special.

Our first introduction to him was on our way to Oxford, Mississippi for Meghan’s graduation from Ole Miss. We we’re about an hour out and she called and asked if she could meet us at the hotel. Of course we answered and hung up the phone. Many things were running through our minds when we pulled up and she was waiting for us.

We get to the room and she says “sit down I have something to tell you”….

“I’ve adopted a dog” she said. To be kind this was COMPLETELY unexpected, and far different than many of the scenarios that were running through our minds.

This is what he looked like early days at a “farewell” party we had a the house in Slidell before we left for NOVA in 2007. Cute little buggar. He liked to chew in those early days.

In the ensuing months, Melanie, Jourdan and I transitioned eventually to Reston, VA where we would live for some 14+ years.

Not long after we moved in the house, we got a frantic phone call from Meghan saying she was headed to FLETC and needed to drop Bently off. She had been accepted into a FLEO position and the first phase of that was attending a 6 week training seminar at FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) in Glynco, GA.

So, a couple of days later Meghan shows up, with her car loaded to the gills with Bently in tow. We had a nice couple of days with her, and she departed for 6 weeks of “fun”.

Rusty was none to fond of having Bently around. She was getting older and having this new “puppy” in her life was taken less than graciously. Prior to Bently’s arrival, Rusty was what I used to call a grazer when it came to eating. She would come and go from the bowl when the mood struck her. That changed almost immediately as literally the first time I fed them together, Bently slurped his food down and then made a bee line for Rusty’s bowl. This was met with a less than polite from response from Rusty. She then stuck her head in the bowl and finished off her portion.

And so it was. We would let them out in the yard and they would sit on the porch together. Rusty would see something and let out a big “Woof!” and Bently would fly off the porch in response. Rusty was always a bit of an Alpha-dog, and this hierarchy would remain throughout their lives together.

What became clear in those days was Bently was very much a mans dog. He attached himself to my side early on and was my faithful companion thereafter. In the evenings, he would leap into the chair with me and zone out:

One day we were sitting together and he was making a rumbling noise. I didn’t think much of it, until the next time he was in the chair with me and it dawned on me, he’s purring. When Meghan first got Bently she lived with Christian who had two cats. Bently learned to purr from the cats. That was interesting.

Anyway life went on for a long while after that. Meghan graduated from training and went down to Florida for her first assignment, but Bently stayed with us as it made the most sense.

Here they are during “Snowmaggedon” in 2007 in which we had two separate snowfalls of about 2′ each. Rusty loved the snow, Bently, well, not so much…

We all got older as time went by and we lost Rusty in March of 2016. It was an odd time as Meghan was back in NOVA by then. Melanie and I left on a trip to London literally a week after Rusty died, and Bently stayed with Meghan.

When we got back, it was obvious he was lost without her. That lasted quite some time.

Frequently we would make stock from the collection of chicken carcasses (carci?) that we had collected. This process typically resulted in a lot of schmaltz (chicken fat) being collected that I would give to the dogs (plural) over the course of a couple of days.

Well, with just Bently, the schmaltz lasted many more days. We noticed him getting very lethargic, and he stopped eating. Which for him was definitely unusual. So off to the vet he goes, and he’s got pancreatitis from all the schmaltz. Then I realized it was just one dog (singular) eating the schmatlz. Doh.

He got some treatment, but we still can’t get him to eat once he’s home. He goes to the vet again, with another eye watering bill, and finally comes home. We feed him rice and hamburger for a bit until he perks up, and that crisis is averted.

Throughout all this, Bently had a penchant for eating virtually everything. Rock, twigs, etc. I honestly don’t know how he survived some of the stuff he ate.

Melanie was in New Orleans one summer when I got a wild hair to install some cove molding downstairs. We had been talking about it, and there wasn’t much else going on, so I jumped on it. The installation worked out fairly well and I was filling the nail holes with some old fashioned painters putty. This stuff is basically mineral spirits and alum. I had been going back and forth, and had put the little ball down on a chair or something. When I came back I couldn’t find it so I grabbed another wad out of the can and went about my business.

Repeat this another time, and I think “oh oh”. I look at Bently and he’s shivering. Damn, he’s eaten the putty. Jourdan was in High School at the time and his school mate had a sister who was in vet school. She said to get some hydrogen peroxide into him so he’ll throw up the putty.

So, we found a syringe and pumped a goodly amount of peroxide into him. He jumps up and runs in the yard. I think for a second, I need to make certain he gets rid of the stuff. By the time I had found him, he had thrown it all up, and was trying to eat it again…. Oh no you don’t and I picked him up and brought him in the house. He was a bit shaky for the remainder of the day, but fine afterward.

For whatever reason, Melanie used to like to buy him Halloween costumes. To be kind he only slightly tolerated them.

Here he is as Darth Vader:

And then there was the crawfish/lobster costume:

Poor Bently.

He did love to ride in the car. Here he is in my Honda S2000:

About 10 years ago a health (back) issue emerged and I was advised to fold some sort of physical activity into my life, a first for me….

So, Bently and I would walk around Lake Thoreau. At first it was just for the exercise, but as the days and weeks went by something else unfolded, something far more rewarding, and motivating.

Every time that Bently and I went for our walk, there was something new, something that wasn’t there last time, something to be wonderful. So, what had begun as a physician enforced chore evolved into a delight that he and I actively looked forward to. He knew the walking days and would meet me at the front door yipping with excitement. We both loved it.

Alas, like all good things, this came to an end. Bently got to the point where he wasn’t able to physically do the 2+ miles around the lake.

In 2021, circumstances came together and we sold the house in Reston, literally in about 2 weeks. We found a townhouse to rent in Fairfax, and in the blink of an eye, we were moved.

There were a lot of stairs in the townhouse and they weren’t kind to any of us, including Bently. Melanie and I had gone out of town and Meghan was keeping him for a bit when he had a major neck issue flare up. The up/down on the stairs had caused problems with the vertebra in his neck.

It was the days of COVID and Meghan was home most of the time, so it was decided he would stay with her. We had been together for a long time, but this was the best thing for him.

We had frequent dog visits, but it was becoming apparent that age was settling in.

In the ensuing years, as you know if you’ve been following along, Melanie and I built our retirement home in Williamsburg, where we currently reside.

Meghan and Bently came down for Easter and it was to be our last time together. It was clear he wasn’t doing well, barely able to get comfortable. We knew the time was drawing near, but had no idea how near.

So, my friend, fare well. We had many good times together. My wish is that you and Rusty are together, as you were her lifelong friend, and over the years she begrudgingly came to appreciate you.


written by Chris - Posted in Yapping