Beautiful Ben, our brave old soldier

God's Garden

God looked around his garden and found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth and saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best.

He knew that you were suffering, he knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never get well on this earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough and the hills were hard to climb.
So he closed your weary eyelids and whispered "Peace be thine".

It broke our hearts to lose you but you didn't go alone.
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.

Ben came to live with us and his friend Zena on 28 January this year. He was already a ‘goldie oldie’ and had a few problems with his back legs (arthritis and cruciate ligaments) and some other breathing and eye problems. He was a gorgeous old chap. He was always wagging and loved nothing more than lots of cuddles and being brushed. We loved them both straight away and they loved us back it seems.

Ben saw the vet several times for an ulcerated cornea and just last month he had to have an operation for entropian as the lower lid was turning in and irritating the ulcer so that it wasn’t healing. He came through the op and recovered well – the ulcer was beginning to get better and the vet was optimistic that we would save him sight in his right eye.

Suddenly last Friday (23 March) he became very ill and could not leave his bed. We didn’t know what was wrong but he had lost all interest in cuddling and wagging or even saying hello. We knew that he was particularly poorly if he couldn’t manage that. We gently lifted him into the car and once at the vets, the nurse helped us to carry him into the surgery. The vet took one look and advised that Ben was not going to make it. His liver was failing and his muscle wastage meant that he was unlikely to walk again. The prognosis was so poor that I knew that the only thing I could do to help him was to let him go. Ben died with dignity in my arms with me stroking his big broad head and telling him how much we love him. It was one of the saddest moments of my life.

Ben, we will never forget you. You were a gentleman and a character. You have left a very big hole in our hearts and our lives and although we had you for such a short time, I feel as devastated as I would had you been with us always. You were brave and proud yet a softie and a loyal companion and we love you. Now that your pain has gone, run free at Rainbow Bridge and feel young and invigorated once more.

Our love always,

Lorna, Rachel and Zena

Many thanks to Pauline and Lynne and to Andy for all your help and concern during the time we had Ben, your kind words in our grief and your continued support with Zena.

"I'll lend you for a little time a dog of mine" he said. "For you to love while he lives and mourn for when he's dead".

It maybe six or seven years or maybe more than these, but will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charm to gladden you, and should his stay be brief, you'll have his memories, as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return, but there are lessons taught down there, I want this dog to learn.

I've looked this wide world over, in my search for teachers true, and from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.

Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labour vain, nor hate me when I come to call, and take him back again?

I fancied that I heard them say "Dear Lord, thy will be done", for all the joy thy dog shall bring, for the risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may, and for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.

But should the angels call for him, we'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.

Back to the Rainbow

©2006 Irish Retriever Rescue UK