December 22, 2004: Glendale, California: A stray puppy is found and taken to the Pasadena Humane Society in Pasadena, CA, where he is identified as a 3 month old "white and brown male, probably a St. Bernard mix," given the number A173267, and assigned at least a one week stay. Meanwhile, a young couple is browsing dogs available for adoption and narrowing down the decision. On the final round before speaking with an adoption counselor, they notice a new arrival that is just simply adorable. He doesn't bark or pace or even get excited. But he has soulful eyes and floppy ears and hearts are won over. The only concern was the "St. Bernard" label on this puppy with big feet, as the couple lived in a one bedroom, second floor apartment in Burbank, CA (just north of Hollywood.)
Ultimately, we decided that #A173267 was our puppy and we'd take our chances, and the wait 'till he could come home began.
I actually named him on the way home that day, driving from Pasadena to Burbank though the San Bernadino Mountains, thinking of my new, potentially St. Bernard, puppy, and remembering my former dog, in heaven after 18 years of life, named Brandy. I had also read (I checked out every puppy book in the library) that dogs respond best to names that are two syllables and end in a vowel. So, it all culminated in the name Benny. It stuck. I couldn't wait to tell him that.
During that waiting period, one of Albert Hammond's songs showed some literal meaning. As he sang, "It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn ya, it pours, man it pours." December 2004 was one of the rainiest seasons ever in southern California, and my Benny was in an open air animal shelter waiting to be claimed by someone other than me. When I went to visit him, they wouldn't even let me hold my puppy, because he wasn't officially mine yet, and I couldn't take him out of the shelter. But soon enough, adoption day came and my little 17 pound mutt named Benny sat on my lap all the way to his new home.
Little did we know that we had just adopted the country's cutest puppy. That's right, my little Benny is a blue ribbon mutt, awarded so on national television by a celebrity panel of judges. March 20, 2005, Benny competed in and won the "Best/Cutest Puppy" category in "Nuts for Mutts," which aired nationwide on Animal Planet June 25th. I am a proud mother.
Now Benny is living the life in Raleigh, NC where he has doggy friends, people friends, and also proud grandparents. Life is great.
Oh yeah, and his mom & dad opened a business based entirely around his health and happiness, and he gets to be the tester! What a dream come true.