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Ben's Tale: From Death's Door to Champion

Ben and his sister Katie were born in November 2021 to our gorgeous Kitaco's Vegas Show Girl (AKA Just Hold Me Jade), and our stunning Japanese import, Bramver's Twilight (Flinty McGinty).

We had another litter born around the same time and planned to keep Katie and a girl from the other litter, and find a home for the boys, because although we wanted to continue the imported Japanese lines, we already had Flint and while the pups were lovely, keeping too many studs is problematic, so they have to be pretty special to consider it.

We had a lovely home lined up for Ben and all things being equal, he was off to his pet home at 12 weeks to live a wonderful life in Auckland.

But at 5 weeks, both Ben and his sister developed a touch of a tummy bug. Katie was over it in 24 hours, but Ben went downhill fast and was litterally at death's door within a day.

Even now, despite extenstive blood testing and samples, we have not been able to identify what it was that he caught, but it flattened him completely. He got the best medical care availble from not only Tracey and her vet colleagues at work, but the specialist pathologists at Gribbles who were racing to identify whatever it was that had knocked this little pup for six. We had 5 other pups who were all perfectly fine, so we knew it wasn't contaigious. Treatment included everything we could throw at it - antibiotics, plasma transfusions, fluids and Tracey famous "worry slurry" which is her secret receipe food supplement for puppies who need a diet high in nuturion and calories but can't - or won't - eat. (We call it the Worry Slurry because it only gets used if we are worried about a puppy.)

This went on for three weeks. He would recover for a day or two and then go downhill again. We had to tell the family in Auckland waiting on their puppy, that we couldn't send him, particularly as we still didn't know what was causing his illness and it is inconceivable that we would send someone a sick puppy. He would gain weight and then lose it all again a few days later. But he was stoic and tolerated the force feeding and just looked miserable. His coat was a mess and he had bald patches around his mouth from the constant syringe feeding.

During this time he didn't leave Tracey's side and spent the nights tucked up beside her in case he went downhill overnight.

And then, just as inexplicably as it had come, he started to recover. He was now significantly smaller than Katie, but as he bounced back, we started to see the real Ben emerge.

The first thing we realised that after all that one-on-one attention, Ben pretty much decided that's how life ought to be, and he was spoiled rotten. He got very annoyed with his sister, Katie, getting any attention at all to the point we had te separate them completely. We also realised we could never sell him, because we had no idea if he would get sick again and so resigned ourselves to keeping another boy. We thought we might just neuter him and he could stay as a pet and be one of the "Forever Five" (which is currently sitting at about seven, but... oh well).

We figured we might as well let him have a turn in the ring, because he wasn't going anywhere and we were still too afraid to leave him behind when we went away in case he had a relapse. so he'd be coming to the shows with us anyway. By now his coat had started to grow back and we realised this dog was not only a really lovely example of his breed type like his father, Flint, he is just a born showman. He gets that, we figure, from his grandfather, Westminster BOB winner Bramver's Royal Tuxedo.

Turns out Ben adores people. When he sees a judge, he thinks we've just arranged for someone else to give him cuddles. He struts around the ring like he owns the universe. Mind you, his other nickname is "the Italian Soccer Player" because he's brilliant at faking injuries and will squeal like his foot has been amputated with a rusty spoon if he sees the nail clippers from across the room. He also loves water and blows bubble in his water bowl to amuse himself and thinks the force dryer is a hoot.

Happily, we were able to send another puppy up to Auckland who is just perfect for the family we originally had lined up for Ben. We decided to pet home Katie locally, and she is now in training for her show career.

Meanwhile, Ben is fully recovered and as healthy as an ox, with no hint of whatever it was that took him down so dramatically. He's a year old now and (Dogs NZ approval pending) an NZ Champion. Along the way he's picked up 12 Championship Certificates, 2 Best Puppy in Show awards (one All-breeds and one Specialty) and 5 Age of Group awards. He's also qualified to compete in the Supreme Dog Show next year, the first Kitaco dog to achieve that, which we are very proud of.

Ben does need the ocassional time out when he thinks he's missing out on anything, and we have a special Ben Pod for that too. He has become such a part of our lives and such a character that everyone seems to know him. He is so confident and full of his own importance that he is just a joy to have around.

More than one judge has predicted that "one day, he'll beat them all", and maybe he will. More likely he'll conquer them all because this tiny but mighty little guy seems far more interested in ruling the universe than simply winning a dog show. LOL.

1 commentaire

Love Bens story. Thankyou for sharing.

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