Monday, January 27, 2014

Bentley's Story

I credit Bentley, my Basset Hound with being the inspiration for my book The Returns. I really believe he was born to be ours. Basset Hounds have always been one of my favorite breeds because, well just look at them. Those ears, that face and the stubby little legs are hard to resist. Five years ago a friend of mine offered me her son’s full-grown Basset. Soooo tempting! We have always enjoyed raising our dogs from the puppy stage so I reluctantly passed on her generous offer. About a week later, my family was trying to decide on our lottery numbers. I told them my lucky number was seven. The kids laughed and pointed out that seven was almost everyone’s lucky number. Duh, there’s a reason for that…it’s a lucky number! Surprisingly, we didn’t win the Powerball. Keep reading, I promise this is leading somewhere. My husband received an invitation to a surprise 50th birthday party for one of his co-workers. Now is the time to point out we never go to parties other than family functions. It’s not that we don’t enjoy parties; we just don’t like actually going to them. So for the first time in probably fifteen years, we ventured out to this surprise celebration. It was a great time and his friend was very surprised. He was even more surprised when he received a six-week-old Basset Hound puppy for one of his gifts. **Note: It is not a good idea to surprise someone with a puppy! Of course, I was in love immediately and spent most of the night cradling the little sad-eyed baby. We spent the rest of the weekend talking about the puppy and thinking of what we’d name him if he were ours. My husband called me at work the following Monday. The man and his wife were not able to keep the pup. They had recently lost their old dog and weren’t ready to welcome a new dog. If you’ve ever lost a pet, you can certainly empathize with their feelings. My sadness at the fate of the puppy was quickly replaced when he said those magic words, “They want to know if we want to take him!” My excitement was off the charts. YES, YES! The next afternoon Bentley, the name we chose over the weekend, came to live with us. My Golden Retriever, Tucker was less than enthusiastic. True to his nature he tolerated the ear pulling, gnawing, and climbing little bundle of curiosity. They quickly became best friends and Tucker taught him the ins and outs of being a good boy. It wasn’t long before we let him run around in the backyard following his big “brother.” It was during one of those romps, my husband called him Seven. When I asked why, he pointed out the perfect white number seven on Bentley’s hip. I was stunned and did the thing any responsible pet owner in my situation would do…I wrote Jack Daniels Distillery! They asked for a picture and thought it was great but declined my idea of using him in ads. I did score a ball cap and Bentley got a bandana so it wasn’t a total loss. I still knew there was some reason God put a seven on our Basset. Then we figured out he was the seventh dog we had owned since we were married. (Cue the spooky music) He is such a cool dog. He sits on his butt like a human waiting to talk; he insists on giving real hugs, looks deep into your eyes and can be as stubborn as any human can. I later contacted a dog food company advertising that their food helped dog’s bodies in seven ways. I mean, come on! Nope, nada. I couldn’t shake the feeling there was a reason for all of the coincidences surrounding the sevens and Bentley. Finally, I had decided to begin a writing career and wanted to incorporate him as a character. The idea to make him an FBI Agent returned to earth as a Basset Hound struck me like a bolt of lightning one afternoon. My husband and I both knew at that moment, we had found the reason he with his number seven had become ours. The rest as they say is "his-story."

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