We had arrived for our appointment a few minutes early. The two little dogs cuddled in my arms had been brought to my sanctuary badly in need of dental care. So here we sat, patiently waiting for our name to be called.

I saw her pull into the parking lot through the front window. I watched as she parked her car right next to mine. She came through the door clinging tightly to the handle of a small pet carrier. At the desk, she plunked it down on the floor at her feet, seemingly to have no regard for the precious cargo inside. She matter-of-factly informed the technician that he was here to be euthanized. She explained that he was the last of a litter of six. You see, at 5 months old, he was well past that cute puppy stage and had little chance of being sold. So to make room for her new litters that were due – he had to go.

My pulse quickened and my face turned 6 shades of red. It took all that I could muster to hold my tongue (or worse, if I had done what I really had in mind).

The technician glanced at me, knowing full well that I was fuming. She gave me a knowing nod as she took the pup to the back room. The woman wrote a check, picked up her now empty pet carrier, not batting an eye, and showing no signs of remorse, off she drove.

Her car was barely out of sight as I scooted to the back room. I approached him slowly. He eyed me suspiciously, cowering on a blanket in the far corner of a stainless steel kennel. He was a scruffy little guy with long hair, weighing about 12 pounds, I’d guess. He appeared to be a Maltese cross – cute as a bug’s ear.

I knelt down in front of his kennel, telling him that everything was going to be OK. He hunkered back, obviously not understanding what kindness was all about. I scooped him up, holding him gently but firmly. He stiffened but didn’t offer to bite. I then transferred him into a roomy pet carrier in my van. When my appointment was over, off we drove to start our new life together – his name would be Benjamin.

Introducing him to my existing clan would be a bit of a challenge as he was not a well-socialized little fellow. But gee, this wasn’t my first rodeo, now was it? Been there, done that! First order of business when we arrived at the farm was the usual routine for new arrivals:

Bath: check

Ears checked: check

Teeth evaluated: check

Appointment to be neutered: check

Now Benjamin was ready to start his life on the farm.

His room included a couch, blanket, fresh food, water and plenty of toys. A doggie gate allowed him to get to know all of his new pals at his own pace. But, in the beginning, it was not all peaches and cream. Many times as I entered his room calling his name, he would back away. He would advise me to keep my distance – and I did. It would take time to gain his trust.

A few weeks after his arrival, as I entered and spoke his name, his head jerked up as if to say “That’s ME! I’m Benjamin!” He took that first step toward me and it was all over but the shootin’. Now many months later, Benjamin can’t get enough of me. He sails through the air to sit on my lap, planting kisses all over my face. His nose bumps my ankle as I walk and occasionally he tugs at my pant leg for attention. To say the least, he has come out of his shell.

As I do my daily chores, I can see him watching me from each window of the house, his nose pressed against the glass. With a toss of his head he laughs and tells his pals “There she is – there she is…she’s my best friend, you know.” And they all quickly reply, “Yes, Benjamin, we do know, you see, she’s OUR best friend, too.” There is no doubt in my mind that the memories of once being unwanted have faded and have been replaced by the abundance of love that Benjamin now receives.

Benjamin’s story has a happy ending, but many pups across the United States are not as lucky. Due to gross over-population, many end up in animal shelters or worse. Please do not encourage back yard breeders by purchasing their “designer” pups. Always purchase from a reputable breeder or far better yet – Please – Please – adopt!

Chic Miller
Since 1990 Chic Miller and her husband, Bob, have owned and operated Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal sanctuary on Gas Point Road in Cottonwood. The Millers care for hundreds of abused and neglected animals. Animals that come to this sanctuary remain there for the rest of their lives. Chic is a retired nurse and takes care of all the medical needs for the injured and ill animals. Aside from a few volunteers, Bob and Chic take care of all the daily chores. The Millers care for hundreds of animals, including dogs, horses, ponies, pigs, llamas, goats, cats, chickens and yes, even a one-legged turkey. Chic Miller can be reached at 530-347-0544. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help support Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary.
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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Karen Calanchini says:

    OK, I sit here typing, tears in my eyes. What a wonderful story to read, as my little 13 pound Havanese girl sits at my feet, not taking her eyes off me. How can anyone be so cruel? That person should never be allowed to have pets, much less breed them. Poor puppy, at 5 months old, should be socialized, walking on a leash, and have a warm bed and plenty of food. Nasty person!
    Thank you for taking Benjamin home with you, and give him a nice pet and a “good boy” from this animal lover! Thank you.

  2. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    I’m on Chic’s e-mail list, therefore read this sad but eventually heartwarming story last week. We have a rescued Cavalier King Charles Spaniel whose fifth birthday was yesterday. We’ve had her for just over a year, and after the first couple of weeks of adjusting to her new home, she has adopted my husband as her own, follows him everywhere, and is his laptop whenever he’s sitting. We are so glad we found her – even if she snores like a chainsaw.

  3. Avatar Candace says:

    Boy did this hit home. Twelve years ago I adopted two dogs from Pets Without Partners; a miniature Schnauzer (Sadie) and a Scotty mix (Benny). Being my first time to adopt, some of the questions on the application seemed unnecessary to me. I remember thinking at the time “Jeez, do they want to save these dogs from being euthanized or not?” My application passed muster and as I was signing the contract the woman who owned the service said to me “Do you know why I accepted your application? It was because of your answer to one particular question.” The question was (paraphrasing) “If you have to move and can’t take your dog, what will you do with it”. My answer was “Not an option”. She then told me that it’s very common that people adopt the animals during the cute stage and then tire of them and get rid of them once they get older and that people also adopt them without considering the fact that their lifestyle and living, working situation might not be a good match. Of course this does not extend to those who are victims of natural disasters, sudden job loss, illness etc. and no one has a crystal ball to see what the future holds for them ( myself included). My answer at the time was heart-felt but I could have easily been proven wrong. Luckily, for me, that was/is not the case. Sadly, both Benny and I lost our dear friend Sadie a few months back due to illness. I was devastated (still am) but my pal Benny and I are still going strong. I’m so very thankful for people like Chic and others who take in, care for, and love the animals that people either discard like yesterday’s news or can’t keep their beloved one’s due to circumstances beyond their control. THANK YOU Chic, I appreciate all you do. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  4. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    What a wonderful story Chic! I would have done the same thing, because, that you were at this office at that particular time meant that this dog came to you. (not a reasonable idea, but it’s how I explain how great dogs have come my way during my life.) I can’t imagine not having a dog in my life. Euthenizing a dog is an odd way to get rid of it. There are so many great groups in this area who shelter and find homes for unwanted dogs. Craigslist works well and so does social media. (I’ve helped two lost dogs get back home by passing on the information posted by the dog finder.) Thank you so much.

  5. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Just a reminder: in order to do what she does, Chic needs our support. Money, animal food, money, blankets, money, beds – you get the picture. Her sanctuary is a 501(c)(3); so your donation is tax deductible. I make an automatic donation monthly so I don’t have to write checks.