Ben, Carmarthenshire, United Kingdom

Ben, Carmarthenshire, United Kingdom

Happy Tails - BenSometimes timing is everything and five years ago Roger and Heather Gingell knew it was time to bring another dog into their family, so they decided to visit the local shelter. It was there that the lady in charge told them about Ben. Ben was being kept well past the standard amount of time thanks to the efforts of this supervisor. Normally the dogs are only kept for about 6 weeks, but there was something so special about Ben that she simply could not give up on him. She was determined to find him a home and so she subsidized his extended stay to do just that. Ben was described as being laid back and very gentle and the Gingells knew they had found their dog the minute they met him.Happy Tails - Ben

Prior to being rescued Ben was sadly found in a hedge in the countryside near Cardigan. There was clearly something wrong so one of the first things the Gingells did after adopting him was to bring Ben to their vet for an examination and an MRI. The result revealed several lesions along his spine which appeared to be caused by blows to his back, most likely in the form of abuse. How anyone could harm such a gentle soul is beyond comprehension. Unfortunately these lesions continued to haunt Ben long after the abuse, causing decreased mobility, loss of sensation in his legs, issues in his neck and problems controlling his bladder. 

Since Ben was a rescue dog his age tends to be an estimate. At the time he was believed to be around 5 years old, but later that estimate increased by a couple years once he began to age and display physical problems. 

At times Ben would show clear signs of being a past farm dog as he would display his herding mannerisms and he also showed signs of a dog that was mistreated, so it took the Gingells six months to build the trust needed to begin showing and receiving affection. Prior to that Ben was weary of anyone coming close in case they were a threat, but over time trust was established and a deep bond began to develop.
Happy Tails - Ben

Due to his condition Ben could not wag his tail, but the Gingells knew he was now a very happy dog. He had a family that adored him and a best friend Molly the cat (also a rescue) that never left his side. Young and filled with energy, Molly would walk right past the humans to find Ben wherever he was in the house.

Ben had a major impact on Roger's life. For health reasons Roger had to retire early, but soon found that without the structure a job provides he was slipping into a depression. Ben gave Roger the purpose he needed. They would go for long walks, visiting new places which filled their lives with adventure and lifted both Ben and Roger's spirits. Ben needed Roger and Roger needed Ben. They were perfect for each other.

"Ben was my savior"

As time passed and Ben's condition worsened he began to look to his family for more support. It was like he knew when he needed help and became so accepting of Roger's assistance. Whether it was help getting Ben up after he'd fall or when he needed help climbing up or down stairs, Roger was there. Ben never complained, took everything in stride and knew he could count on his family to be there for him.  

"When he'd fall he'd just look at me as if saying come on Dad, pick me up."

As his reliance on Roger grew so did their love for each other. There is something incredibly special that happens when you care for someone in the way that Roger cared for Ben. Their relationship deepened to a level previously never reached. The Gingells opened their hearts to Ben showing him as much love as possible because they knew he didn't have the comfort and joy of being loved for the first half of his life. He became a part of their family.

By the age of 12 Ben became progressively worse and incontinence was becoming a challenge, so Roger began to look for a nappy to better manage his condition. He first looked at disposable nappies, but they were not large enough to fit Ben. Even the XL nappies in the local pet shops would not fit around Ben's waist so he looked online and found Dog Quality's sizes to be just what Ben needed.

Happy Tails - Ben

"When I found your site it really seemed like you were doing something for the love of the dogs rather just for selling."

The Washable Wonders nappies helped to manage Ben's growing incontinence, keeping him comfortable and giving Roger and Heather the peace of mind they needed. Belly bands were used during the day, but the nappies worked out the best for overnight. And as you would expect of such a patient dog, Ben would stand still letting Roger put on the bands and nappies whenever they were needed.

"Before using the nappies we were worried about having to put him down. None of the drugs were helping and we were no longer able to cope, but the nappies made life so much easier for all of us."

Grippers Dog Socks - Happy Tails BenAs Ben became weaker and had such stiff legs due to arthritis, Roger looked for a way to help improve the quality of his life even more by restoring some of his stability. Roger soon found the answer in the form of Grippers dog socks which greatly boosted Ben's confidence in walking on the Gingell's tiled and vinyl floors to get to the garden.

Not everyone in life gets a second chance at happiness, but Ben, and in many ways Roger, were among the lucky ones. Fortunate to have met each other so that their special bond could be formed and light brought back into both lives. Ben gave Roger purpose and meaning, while Roger gave Ben the love and family he always deserved. And being able to make life easier when Ben needed him the most perhaps had the most profound impact of all, changing them both forever.

In memory of Ben who sadly passed away during the writing of this story. His family has gained comfort in knowing that Ben will live on through the special memories he gave them and through the sharing of his story.