Yes, friends, it’s been a difficult evening. We lost another great one tonight, this time much too soon. And for any of you who’ve had to deal with the agony of euthanizing an animal – of literally watching the light go out – let me tell you, it never gets any easier.
Benny was truly a special being. He lived pretty much all of his short life with the Militant – my dear friend who I’ve recently blogged about in some of our rescue journeys – and held a special place in the hearts of all who met him…especially other animals. (For those of you who saw that Mila the Miracle Kitty video a few entries ago, “Uncle Benny” was the very patient Siamese who Mila was playing with toward the end.)
With rescue-related stories so often being about humans affecting animal’s lives, I wanted to share with you all an e-mail that the Militant sent out to those in her inner circle, announcing Benny’s passing tonight. Clearly, this is a story about a “rescue” affecting all of the lives around him, both human and animal.
E-mail from the Militant:
In Loving Memory of Benny
May 1, 2008 – November 10, 2009
Gio and I rescued Benny off the streets of North Hills in June of 2008, from a terrible neighborhood where few cats survive. He was only 5 weeks old.
Eric, a homeless man we knew in that alleyway, wanted to adopt Benny, but we convinced him that it wasn’t the best idea. He agreed, but asked if he could at least name him. “Please call him ‘Benjamin’, but call him ‘Benny’ for short”, he said. And so, from that moment onward, this beautiful spirit, housed in an equally beautiful body of a Siamese cat, was known as “Benny.”
From the second we met Benny, his independent, strong-minded, tenacious, and spirited personality came shining threw like a bright light. We knew instantly…this was a special being…dignified, considerate, patient, intelligent, and kind.
Not too long after his arrival, I began to call Benny “my Prozac.” Benny would light up the room with his zest and love for life, and would put a smile on your lips, without fail. He embodied and exuded joy – pure, carefree, loving joy.
Benny was a friend to all he knew. He was every bit the rescuer that I ever hoped I’d be. When a new dog or cat came in the house, Benny took it upon himself to help that animal and befriend them. He would groom the kittens, patiently allow them to suckle on him, and lovingly play with them. He would teach the poorly socialized cats (and dogs) how to be more social with others and how to play. He would take on any “problem animal” as his own personal project, and not give up on him/her, as many times as he/she would push him away. He would persist until they would give in and until they were “rehabilitated” – Bo (a one year-old cat with no kitty social skills whatsoever) being his most successful project! In return, Bo ended up worshiping Benny, and did not leave his side in the last two weeks when Benny was ill. Wherever Benny went, Bo followed, loyally. Bo loved his best friend.
Benny’s stay with us here on earth was very short, but his mission was clear and profound: heal others through joy and love. He was a dignified being who lived his life passionately, and completely fulfilled the purpose of his spirit’s incarnation. He came, he did what he knew he had come here to do, and he made his exit, back to the other realm.
We all loved this special boy, and will miss him so dearly. I know the days ahead will be difficult for those of us who knew him well, as we will mourn the loss of our sweet Benny (especially poor Bo, who keeps going to the window and crying for him, wondering where he went). But I know that he will come and visit us still, and that his legacy of kindness and joy will live on through all the beings, four-legged and two-legged, whose hearts he’s touched so deeply in his brief stay here on earth.
To my rescue partner, child, and friend….
Thank you for blessing my life with your presence.
I will miss you.
Unfortunately, Benny had a terminal condition and tonight was his time to go. We had to hasten the inevitable slightly, though, so his suffering was minimal. I was at the hospital with the Militant and her sister, and we were all around him as he made the transition. At least he left this plane in peace, surrounded by love.
There is an incomprehensible sanctity to every animal’s life. And while Benny’s passing is certainly a reminder of this truth…his life was the embodiment of it.
We love you, Benny –