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Legacy of Weird

Written on 3/16/01

“What kind of dogs are those?”

That is the question I always get when I take my dog out with my parents’ dog, Benji. Of course, I always have an answer ready:

“Well, she is a Siberian Husky,” I say pointing to Destiny, “and he is a freak of nature.”

There really is no other way to describe Benji with the same accuracy. Did you ever play with those books as a kid where you could put the head of one animal on the body of another with the tail of yet a third creature? That is Benji.

Imagine if you will, a full sized German Shepherd stuck on Basset Hound or Corgi legs. Are you getting the picture?

So exactly what does this legacy of weirdness mean for our little sausage dog? Not much, really. He doesn’t seem to notice that his legs are too short because his feet adequately reach the ground. Also his low-rider status enables him to bulldoze under Destiny’s belly. Who wouldn’t love that?

In fact, his oddity probably has helped him along the way. Shortly after my dad returned from a residential alcohol treatment program my parents decided they needed a dog. I had recently left and took Destiny with me. So, they hunted and did research. They started with the greyhound rescue and decided they wouldn’t make good greyhound owners. After that, they spoke with vet clinics and started visiting shelters.

They walked into one of the local shelters and asked to see the dogs they had available for adoption. After walking through the first kennel, they didn’t see the dog that was meant to be theirs. So they asked the assistants if there were any other dogs available. The lady took them to another kennel and (from what I’ve heard) they took one look at Benji and started rolling on the floor laughing.

After a brief discussion and a toss of a coin (which landed on heads), it was decided that Benji would become the next Burt family member. My mother claims that she felt sorry for this little animal that would surely never get adopted because he was so weird. She was certain that he had been at the shelter a long time and that his life was coming to an end. You can imagine her surprise when she found out he had been dropped off a mere four hours earlier.

We’re all grateful for Benji’s strangeness because he may never have weaseled his way into our family and become the speed bump of our living room floor otherwise. Thank God for the bizarre!

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