A Dog Named Ben

How many times have you gone to a party and the guest of honor was among the missing?  I did just that very recently and had a ball.

The guest of honor happened to be a dog named Ben and his proud owners are Debbie Robinson and Ed Houff of Seabrook.  Both Debbie and Ed are dog lovers, but Ben seems to be quite a different experience for them. Ben came to them through an organization called Big Fluffy Dogs.  He had been found as a stray wandering the streets of Arkansas and had been microchipped.  They called his owners but they wouldn’t take him back. He had a very bad case of heartworm, which was so advanced that the medication wasn’t working, so the only thing left was surgery.  He was 10 years old and listed for euthanasia.  At that point, Big Fluffy Dogs rescued 23 dogs, including Ben, all in one day and proceeded to give Ben the care he needed.  After surgery, he went to an emergency home and the dog service started looking for an owner.  Debbie and Ed were approached and, as Debbie said, they really didn’t need another dog so they agreed to foster Ben.  It was only a short time before Ben became a permanent member of the family.

The Charleston Animal Society has an active program called “No Kill. No Harm. No More”. This program shines a spotlight on animal abuse and family violence, which are thought of as separate issues but are actually connected. Too often animal abuse exists alongside child abuse, sexual abuse and elder abuse.  Charleston Animal Society has taken a stand against such treatment.  The point of the party was to thank the 100 people who had contributed on Ben’s behalf to the People’s Choice contest, part of Charleston Animal Society’s 2018 firefighter calendar fundraiser. Debbie and Ed raised over $11,000 for the animal charity, more than for any other dog, and as a result Ben will be photographed with one of the firefighter models and featured in a monthly spot in the 2018 calendar.

I spoke to many Seabrookers at the party who had contributed to CAS, were mostly dog lovers themselves, and enjoyed the incredible spread that had been laid out for them as a thank you for their contributions.  Mary Sessions, Phyllis Harper, Ava Kleinman, Marcia Papanek, and Mary Hill were just a few of those present who shared their stories with me. Each one had a different reason for making their contributions, but all felt it was important to expand the outreach to the humane care of animals.

“Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous of spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky.”  -John Grogan, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog

We all hope Ben knows how much we enjoyed ourselves.


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– Barbara Burgess, Tidelines Staff Writer

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