Benny the Butthole's Short Life posted

Last night, around midnight, our dog, Benny became pretty restless. He started moving about the bedroom as if he couldn't get comfortable. This was followed by incessant panting and pacing about the house. He'd had a bit of restlessness the night before, so we didn't think anything of it at first.

But it kept up for quite a bit, so I tried to think about what was different that day. I'd kegged some homebrew earlier and spilt a bit of the filtered trub onto the floor. As he does with everything edible that falls within his range, he quickly lapped it up... and he's lapped up a bit of spilt beer before, so I didn't think anything of it. But I googled homebrew + dogs and found that hops can be very toxic for dogs. This particular homebrew had lots of dry hopping, so the stuff he lapped up, no doubt had some amount of hop particles in it. It wasn't much, but I still called the animal hospital and we immediately brought him in to be safe.

At around 3:30am, we arrived at the animal hospital. Benny had a low grade fever, so they put him on an IV to try to regulate his temp and admitted him so they could monitor and treat anything that came up. We got home a little after 5am, and by 6am, we received a call that his temperature rapidly rose to nearly 110 degrees, his heart went erratic and then suddenly stopped. CPR was unsuccessful. He died of malignant hyperthermia.

That phone call at 6am didn't feel real.. It was like a terrible dream.

Was it really that small amount hoppy homebrew trub that killed him? We'd noticed some wild/rapid/erratic heartbeats with this dog a few times since we got him, but were never able to diagnose it as anything. We have no idea how much of the hops he ingested, but the hospital believes they're what caused the malignant hyperthermia... I have to believe them, and I feel indescribably horrible about it. Like. Absolutely terrible. Dogs trust us with their lives, and I fucked up for mine...

The stress that Benny went through in his short life was unfair. I don't even think he lived 4 years... we rescued him just 5 months ago - after we'd lost Garth a few months prior.

In March, Benny was abandoned at a Tractor Supply Company store in Oklahoma. He was found roaming the aisles by himself, with a toy that he'd apparently picked out. He was sent to a nearby shelter and was effectively on the "kill list," so a shelter in Iowa scooped him up and we adopted him from there.

After bringing him home, we immediately noticed that he was limping pretty badly and favoring one side. He had a torn ACL, so we fixed that up as quickly as possible, which led to a hard couple months of restraint.

During that time, we did a DNA test and learned that he was 1/2 lab and 1/4 Australian shepherd with a small amount of whippet, vizsla, and pointer mixed in. A true mutt that had some very strong lab and shepherd traits.

He was a straight up herder, to say the least. He'd push boxes or roller board luggage around the house, until he got things right where he wanted them.

He'd often herd Kari and I toward his food, treats, or to be together with him.

While working from home, he was effectively my shadow, walking right behind my side at nearly all times. Sometimes nudging me along for "fun" ... and it was usually not very gently, either.

Benny had a huge personality. The personality of a real butthole. And everyone knew it... and they seemed to love that for some reason. My retired neighbor, Jim liked to ask "how my butthole was doing." And to be honest, I loved that too.

Benny once stole a whole-ass Jimmy John's sandwich off the counter and ate it. You can imagine how heartbroken "Saturday morning Kari" was about that.

During a grill-out, he stole 2 chicken drummies right out of some buddies' hands and ate em up, chicken bones and all (which was also a bit concerning for a day or so).

For whatever reason, he loved putting the entire necks of other dogs into his mouth. Like palming a basketball.

Benny needed to inspect every bag or container and destroy every single plastic bottle or package that came into our house. It wasn't even a desire, it was like a mission.

One time, our friends Red and Rik came over, Benny ran full speed into Red's legs and knocked him on his ass, broke Ricki's fingernail, incessantly "palmed" their dog's neck with his mouth, and destroyed the toy they brought him in a matter of minutes. It was such a mess.

After we first got Benny, he managed to sneak through cracked doors or gates to run around and check out the neighborhood yards and park. One time, he straight up ran into the middle of an elementary school soccer practice. He joined right in with the swarm of kids chasing the ball. It was pure chaos.

I had thoughts (some, very vocally) about regretting adopting this dog many times. He was a LOT after Garth.

But after healing from his knee surgery, he learned to love the routine of morning and evening walks. He grew to love his doggie door, the back yard, and started to gain a little bit of independence around the house. He started to love basking in the sun, started to patiently wait for me to finish up a yoga practice, and was learning to have some food security.

Unlike Garth, Benny actually liked toys. He, one-time, claimed a juicer as his own personal toy... so, we spoiled him with bark box deliveries. He often herded his toys into a single spot in the living room.

We took Benny on Jeep rides, ice cream runs, and did lots camping / exploring with him around Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

We learned that he loved to swim.

He was learning tricks, (slowly) learning to be a bit more gentle, and definitely learning to love our family.

Benny was given a LOT of training treats.

The thing that kills me is all that he didn't get a chance to do with us. I was really looking forward to introducing Benny to a nice Iowa snow day. And you know that Kari was too... I'm pretty sure he would've loved it.

However, we were both dreading opening gifts on Christmas with his desire to inspect and destroy all packages, hah...

I don't really know what else to say.

Going through my phone, the second to last video that I shot of Benny was 2 days ago, of him chasing a bird off into the sky.

And the last video that I shot of him was the morning before he died, having a good dream and wagging his tail next to me in my home office while I worked.

I didn't build up the love for Benny that I'd had for Garth, but I was learning to love him and I feel so incredibly guilty about his short life.

The shorn fur from his knee surgery hadn’t even grown all the way back in yet.

God. Dammit. This is hard.
Really hard.

Tags: Benny Brooks

comments

  • fuck…that fucking sucks dude, don’t be too hard on yourself, you really made benny happy and gave him a good ending to his life ☹️💓

    Clint posted

  • sending all the love to you guys. this was a beautiful tribute to an energetic, wild, loving companion. i'm laughing thinking about all the things he stole from me in the short 5 months I knew him (chicken wings, plastic bottles, my sunglasses case, a koozie). he was only with you guys for a brief time, but will leave a ton of memories

    nick posted

  • I can't imagine how you're feeling. Remember you gave him a good life and saved him from an even shorter life. You gave him love and toys, which was probably more than he ever had. I imagine he was very happy with you and Kari even if his life was short. Remember the memories.

    Libby posted

  • This is a beautiful tribute to Benny. He had a fun life with you & Kari. If you would have known he was near danger, I KNOW you would have kept him away. You didn’t know and it was an unfortunate accident… or possibly even a combination of things…? Big hugs to you & Kari. ❤️❤️

    Rhonda: Mon posted