My Father was the warmest, most decent male human being ever created on this or any other planet. My Mother was the most sensitive, warm, caring woman that I have ever had the good fortune to know. Together they had a love for each other, their family, and life that was unparalleled.

Benji was our Cocker Spaniel, he was always a very close friend. When my Father had a very serious operation, Benji kissed my Mother over and over and was her constant companion until he came home from the hospital safe and sound.

When my Mother slipped on onion pieces that had been flipped off a pizza at the Oshawa Shopping Centre and broke her hip, Benji went through a depression. No matter how upset he was Benji still acted as a faithful companion to my Father and accompanied him on walks every day. Benji was delirious with joy when my parents were reunited in good health.

Benji had a tendency to jump up on beds, he seemed to like my bed the best. My Mom would constantly yell for him to get down and with a shrug of his head, he would leave the comfort of the bed and lie on the floor. As soon as my Mother exited the room, he would get back on the bed. He would manoeuver himself into a position where his head was resting on the pillow. Benji was a very smart dog.

The love my family had for Benji was borderline abnormal. We treated the dog as a member of our immediate family and he reciprocated with unconditional love. He was a constant companion who seemed to have the ability to understand everything going on around him.

The whole family is still embarrassed about the way we treated another dog ten years earlier.

My Aunt Anne and Uncle David had a Beagle named Farfel. Whenever we visited my Aunt and Uncle we requested that Farfel be put in a different room away from us. It was crazy and to this day I don’t know why we asked for Farfel to be removed from the scene. He was a really nice dog.

My Aunt, Uncle, and cousins would protest and explain that Farfel was a very gentle, loving dog. We would scoff at this and watch as he was locked out of the living room. He constantly tried to get back in.

When we saw Birthday cards sent to members of my Aunt’s family from Farfel we would comment on how nuts our cousins were.

I will never forget the sarcastic comments we made when my Aunt and Uncle took Farfel with them on an extended holiday to Florida.

Farfel died a few years ago from old age and when his human family mourned his loss and were deeply distressed and depressed we kept saying among ourselves ‘’What’s the big deal, better a dog than a person.’’ The truth of the matter is we didn’t know what the hell we were talking about until we received Benji.

The only comforting thought about Benji passing away is that he is now in dog heaven with Farfel. I am confident that the first thing Benji did (besides chasing moon shadows) when he got up to heaven was to sit down with Farfel and set the record straight about his family. I’m sure he explained to Farfel that he was needed in our family to show the importance of having a dog and the love a dog gives. He will explain that we never understood the dynamic between Farfel and his family, and how we later regretted interrupting it, even if it was for just a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. I’m sure he explained how much we loved him unconditionally and the way he loved us back. I know he did this because that’s what friends do for each other. Rest in Peace Benji, you will never be forgotten and you will always be missed. Farfel you now know, that we are sorry for not treating you better, but the good news is you have Benji to play with you for eternity, and that’s a very special gift. We all miss him more than words could ever describe.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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