A Song for Beny

We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us.

Maurice Maeterlinck

This little dog came into my life three years ago, but in that short time, he became a cherished companion. When he died this week at the age of thirteen, he left us who knew him with broken hearts but with fond memories of the unique little guy he was.

Beny came into Cara’s life as a rescue thirteen years ago. Originally named Luka, he was renamed Beny after the Cuban bandleader, singer, and songwriter Beny Moré.

Beny came into my life when Cara brought him to our new house in early June 2019. I’d met him a couple of times at her home and helped walk him around the block, but now, I had a dog for the first time in decades. Even though every place we’d looked at had to have been pet-friendly, I had almost forgotten that a dog was part of the deal until Cara texted me a photo early one morning to say she was bringing the dog over.

Beny arrived twenty minutes later. By the end of the morning, we had played a few times, gone for a walk, and built the groundwork for the relationship that would grow over the next three years.

What follows are just a few of the ways that Beny was a special, quirky, and beloved companion.


Beny loved playing, which involved anything from stuffed toys to tennis balls to found baseballs to simply running around the house with the zoomies.

When Beny wanted to play, there was usually no doubt about his intentions:

And if you didn’t have time to play, he would often entertain himself:


Like all good dogs, after some hard time at play, Beny enjoyed relaxing. He would relax on the couch, on the carpet, in his bed, or even dangling out of his bed in ways that could not have been comfortable. But especially during the cold weather when the fireplace was on, Beny enjoyed a warm cozy spot:

And because of his cuteness, Beny could take being asleep to an artform:

And occasionally, he’d have an exciting dream and “talk” in his sleep:

The Perch

There was one place in particular that Beny liked to relax and sleep: perched atop the back of the couch.

Out and About

Beny enjoyed going on walks. He wasn’t the friendliest dog to other dogs (owing to a mauling he’d had as a puppy), but on rare occasions, he found a dog he actually liked. Although he would bark at and chase squirrels and rabbits in the yard, he wasn’t really a hunter, and in one of the photos, you can see that he is far more interested in sniffing around than in the bunny that is mere feet away.


There are a few things Beny did not enjoy, and bath time was one of them. Getting his hair cut was another. He always would get anxious around bath time (tongue out, panting) and would look miserable during it.

But, once the bath was over, and he was let out of the tub, he would engage in a self-drying practice that was half drying his fur, half manic lunacy:


Part of what makes dogs so appealing is their personalities. And like all dogs, Beny had a personality: weirdo. He would find the funniest things to obsess over, like a coconut we found buried in the English ivy in the backyard.

In fact, he was so obsessed with this coconut that we even tried to hide it from him in a bush, but he kept trying to get it:

He also enjoyed scratching his back on the underside of the bed, sometimes making the oddest sounds as he did so:

Beny did not usually get along with other dogs, even dogs on TV. That became clear to us one night while watching an episode of Mythbusters:

And then there’s the activity we used to call “carpet swimming”—something he’d often do when we’d first come home or just as a sign that he was happy:


Perhaps Beny’s biggest quirk of all was his singing. Early on in their relationship, Beny surprised Cara by singing along to her vocal practices. It was a habit he would keep up his whole life long. Here’s a montage of some of Beny and Cara’s “duets.”


Pretty much up until a few weeks before his death, Beny was in good health. At least, it appeared that way to everyone. He was getting older, to be sure, but he was still pretty spry and active. On occasion, he’d have a heath concern, like the time he injured himself (likely jumping off the master bed) and gotten a soft tissue injury. The anxious panting and the odd walking gait soon revealed itself to be a problem.

But in the end, after a visit to Friendship Animal Hospital in DC, he was on the mend and now had a sporty new bandana!


Of course, we spared no expense in taking care of Beny—he was a member of the family. And as far as he was concerned, we were members of the pack. He was very loyal to us and always excited to welcome us home, as he is here seeing the kids arrive back at the house after Christmas vacation.

And, of course, he loved being where we were. Cuddling up near us to relax or sleep in safety, on the couch, under the hammock, under the piano, or just nearby:

Beny, you were a special, sweet, funny, faithful little dog, and there is a hole in our hearts. We miss you and love you and will remember you always.

I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?

Sir Walter Scott