Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Heart Dog

We answered an ad in the newspaper one evening in October 1988. The woman who placed the ad was a dog breeder and told us that the police had found four puppies in an abandoned car on a city street and instead of turning them over to the local shelter, had called her. She cleaned them up, took them to a vet and advertised them for adoption. Three were black and white and curly haired, one was all black and frizzy. By the time we got to her place the three black and white ones were taken and a tiny black pup sat alone in a pen in her garage. We paid her for his expenses, I put him inside my jacket and we went home. We named him Bentley and sometimes called him Boo.

He didn't look like any pup I'd seen before. He weighed only two and a half pounds, had a large broad head, big webbed feet and a coat that looked like a home perm gone wrong. Pylon was delighted with him and he was a smart little thing. He learned right away to ring the sleigh bells I had hanging on the back door when he wanted to go out. I was determined to remain detached after the experience with Porsche, but within a week I was wrapped around his paw.

We took him everywhere with us and he always attracted attention. When someone would ask us what he was we would say he was a Loch Ness Terrier. Amazingly, no one ever questioned us about that. When Bentley was about a year and a half old, we changed Vets. The first time we walked into the new Doctor's office she said, " Oh, you have a Portuguese Water Dog." We responded, "We do?" neither of us had ever heard of a Portuguese Water Dog. She explained a bit about the breed, then our next stop was the library to learn more about Portuguese Water Dogs. There wasn't a lot available at that time, but we read everything we could find and became convinced we had one. A couple weeks later a friend called and told us she had been watching a dog show and had seen a Bentley look-alike. She told us he was a Portuguese Water Dog.

Bentley had some interesting habits. Every evening around 10:30 he would get an enormous burst of energy and race around the house at top speed until he fell exhausted at my feet. He liked to creep up behind people, bark once, then run as fast as he could leaving them looking around startled. He collected shiny things, jewelry, coins, rocks etc and carried them upstairs to the window seat that he claimed as his own. One morning when Rob was getting ready for work he couldn't find his tie tac. I suggested he check Bentley's window. When he came downstairs, tie tac in hand, he said, " Do you know he has 79 cents up there?" We called it Boo's savings account and he had another in the back seat of the car.

The first night we brought him home, we put him in a box beside the bed. Sometime during the night he whimpered and Rob lifted him onto the bed. He slept with us from then on. Every night he would make a big production of arranging his blanket on the floor, pulling it this way and that for about five minutes, then throw himself on it with a big sigh. Then he would cli
mb onto the bed, roll onto his back with his legs waving in the air and go to sleep.

Bentley was terrified of thunder storms and would climb onto my lap at the first sign of a storm. If a storm came up at night, I'd feel a little nudge at my arm and I would get up and sit in the living room with him until he felt it was safe to go back to bed. When I broke my wrist I had trouble sleeping because of the pain. Bentley would sit up with me. I guess it was payback.

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