So.... let's hear what SueAnn has to say about her adorable little Ben Wade.
Ben Wade is a Miniature Poodle/Bichon Frise mix. I am pretty allergic to animal fur/dander, and neither of those breeds shed.
Ben Wade was at a chain pet store in a mall in Virginia Beach. We would occasionally stop in there to see puppies just because they are cute, and some were in little bins where you could reach over and pet them. He had a bunch of feces stuck to the hair on his backside and I brought it to the attention of one of the sales persons. She assured me that he was getting a bath later that day, so it would be taken care of. I went back a day or two later, and it was the same thing - all that dried poop in his raggedy looking hair. Bring it up again to the sales personnel and was told the same thing. Went back again, same condition, so I bought him. I would not support a chain pet store because the chances of the puppies coming from some sort of "mill" condition are high. And as it turns out, when I got the paperwork on him and I Googled his breeder/owner, it's a notoriously alleged puppy mill.
One of my favorite movies is the Russell Crowe and Christian Bale movie "3:10 to Yuma." In it, Russell Crowe plays an outlaw named "Ben Wade". He always wore black. Ben Wade is black with a white chest and a white soul patch. I also liked the outlaw character, for though he was ruthless in his dealings with men he viewed as rotten as he was, he had a soft spot for women and creatures. One of my favorite discussions with someone about his name was with a guy who knew the movie "3:10 to Yuma," and when I reminded him of Russell Crowe's character being named "Ben Wade," he replied, "Oh yeah. So is your dog a real bad-a** too?" (not realizing we were talking about a Poodle/Bichon mix). Haha!
Ben Wade likes to play fetch with any stuffed toy, he likes to tear around the yard with any good dog friends, he loves to go for good long walks (but could care less about the dog park), and his all-time favorite thing to do is sit in the lap of someone who doesn't mind having him there.
Hmmmm...quirks, he has a few...when we get up in the morning and go downstairs, if Big Daddy (my husband) or Joshua (son) are already awake OR if we come home from even a five minute trip, he must bring us a gift. By that I mean, he looks around for a stuffed toy to carry to you, and he doesn't want to play fetch, he just wants to present you with a gift. He HATES car rides. They make his nose run and he will often vomit afterward. I think it has something to do with the ride from the puppy mill... probably a dirty or too cold vehicle from the Midwest to the pet store in Virginia Beach. I have tried short (five minutes) trips just to drop off the kid at school or go pick him up, take him to a friend's house that he likes, etc., but Ben Wade is almost 4 years old now and he reacts the same. Actually, I take that back. The first year and half or so, he would also shake uncontrollably. Poor guy just can't get over it.
If he is hungry, he goes to his bowl and knocks it around (it's stainless steel, so it can be a bit loud) and around and around until I get the message. Or he will put both front paws in it, and push it over to me as if to say "Um, can you please put something in this?". And if I have picked his bowl up off of the floor, he goes over to the big dog's giant bin of kibble and scratches at it until I walk into the kitchen and give him some food. See, we have a puppy who eats large breed puppy food and Ben Wade eats adult small kibble. I have to feed the puppy outside so that they don't eat each other's food. Also, Ben is a VERY slow eater, while the puppy inhales his. And sometimes Ben is not wanting any breakfast, so if he won't eat his food within ten minutes or so, I have to remove his bowl from the floor and put it up on the counter so the puppy can come back inside.
He is very special to me because he has the best heart of any dog I have ever known. He has been picked up uncomfortably by small children, and he has never growled or lifted a lip at them. He just goes limp and waits for them to hurry up and put him down. He LOVES people. More than one person has commented that he's not a yippy, snappy small dog. (I don't know, I have met a lot of nice dogs, but maybe they haven't?) Also, a former neighbor had a male Rottweiler and a male Doberman who were nice, but were often dominant over other dogs. Ben Wade approached them with his calm energy and they just kind of accepted him right away, and sometimes we would all walk together, dogs nose to nose sniffing something interesting together. Other dogs in the neighborhood who do not get along with any other dogs are friends with Ben Wade. He naturally sends calming signals and he's so well balanced, that other dogs don't get any negative energy from him. I like that he has made friends with dogs that the owners didn't think their dogs were capable of being friendly. He just has that "something" - a heart of gold that other dogs recognize. He's also very loyal to me and is always right there by my side. He's also a great snuggler when it's time to go to sleep - he nestles into my neck/shoulder with that soft warm little body of his and everything seems right in my world. I can't imagine my life without him.
A big thanks to SueAnn for sharing her sweet little guy with us! If any of you guys have a sweet pet you'd like to share (not just dogs), please e-mail me at TailsToTell [at] Live [dot] com, and we will set up an "interview." :) I'd love to feature your sweet pal!