Benny!!! Benny in Action!
Breed: Lab/Cattle Dog
Favorite toy: $5 Chuck-it balls
Favorite activity: Agility classes and competitions/running/hiking
Favorite treat: Anything really smelly
Favorite spot in your home: Dog bed above the radiator
How I met Benny in Mexico:
I’ve traveled to many third world countries and have met many, many third world dogs that I could’ve brought home. But none quite like little Benny (Camilo when I met him).
I was on a yoga retreat in Yelapa, Mx in 2011. Yelapa is a 45 minute boat ride from the civilization of Puerto Vallarta. There are no cars, only an occasional ATV.
My yoga group was on a short hike up to a waterfall when I noticed a cute, mangy little fella with cute ears and expressive eye brows following us. He stuck with us as we traversed our way up through the village to the waterfalls. I looked down and thought, ‘well, if he’s gonna be with us, maybe I should name him’. He looked like a Benny. Benny stuck with us throughout, greeting all as we passed by. His personality and mangy look were so endearing, by the time we’d reached the falls, I’d fallen in like.
The next day was spent looking for him. I wanted to make sure he was safe. He’d had a collar, so I knew he belonged to someone. His collar had a chewed-through electrical cord attached, which told me someone was trying to keep him at bay, but was unsuccessful.
That night I woke up at 1 am and was worried about him, so went looking for him. A security guard asked me what I was doing, and I told him, ‘buscando un perro’. (Looking for a dog). He must’ve thought I was loca. He told me to go back to my palapa.
I found Benny the next day, joyfully running on the beach playing with whomever would play with him. Everyone loved him and wanted to take him home. I took him for another longer hike to a different waterfall. That’s when it was all over for me, I’d fallen in love and was gonna bring this little guy home…That’s when I knew he was my dog.
The following morning, I’d skipped yoga (which I never do and the first of many serendipitous events), and found his owner, Victor, a waiter at Hotel Lagunita where we were staying. I asked him if this was his dog, and he shot back with a, ‘si, por que!!?’ I think he thought I was gonna tell him to keep him tied up, he’s eating all my enchiladas. I told him I loved him. His face softened, and he asked me if I wanted him. YES! I DO!! Twenty dollars, he said, but he’d have to ask his wife, cuz she likes him too.
That day, after much searching, I was able to find a vet in Yelapa! Imposible!! She’s only there one, maybe two days a week. “She’s up the trail, turn left at the stairs to a house across from the kindergarten”, one of the locals told me. I asked Victor if I could take him in for a tune-up and eventually a neuter. That made Victor cringe. Benny got some shots, a little gentian violet for whatever he might be harboring (I think the color just makes you feel like you’ve done something), and a brief once over…for $30. I told Pamela (vet) I was gonna take him home. She stated, muy fuertemente, “I will do anything to help you get him home”!!
The rest of the trip was passed trying to figure out in a place where you get WiFi only certain times of the day, and under certain coconut trees, how to get Benny home.
Benny spent the remainder of the nights in my room. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to touch him too much…I had another dog, Bodi, at home I didn’t wanna bring anything home to. He started out in the free bed next to me, and ended up in my bed. I didn’t care. By then I was all in.
As I was leaving on the boat to go back to Puerto Vallarta, I looked back and Benny was watching me from the dock. I was HEART-BROKEN to leave him.
I came home, made reservations to fly back 9 days later, got his bed, blanket, bowls, and crate ready and had a talk with Bodi.
I tried for the next several days to get a hold of Pamela, but the computers were down and phones were out. I wanted to tell her not to neuter him, that I was coming back. I got a hold of her the morning she was going to neuter him.
She said she would bring him to Puerto Vallarta so I didn’t have to make the trip back to Yelapa and that she’d meet me at her condo at around noon….Mexico time. That’s anywhere between 10am and 5pm.
It all seemed fishy, but I trusted her….. How was she gonna remember which dog was Benny in a place where every mutt is a mangy one? How could she be so sure she’d find him, when we know he’s willing to hike with strangers? What if Victor decided he didn’t wanna sell him? (By the way; due to inflation, Benny’s asking price had gone up to $40…He doesn’t know I would’ve paid $4000).
I sat at Pamela’s condo door for 2 hours before she showed up at 2pm (noon Mexico time). But, she had the right dog!!! And, he remembered me!!!!!! I told him I’d be back!! We flew back home the next day. The flight attendants were very suspicious of me, asking, “didn’t you just arrive yesterday?” As though I was a mule packer. “Yes”, I said, “I came down to bring a dog home”….”Lucky dog”, is all they could say. Hence his Mexican name, Bendito: BLESSED/LUCKY.