Bentley is the little dog who inspired our mission and his life was forever changed with Top Dog Foundation. He was found wandering the streets of Shorewood Minnesota on a cold December day in 2001.  He was captured by animal control after 6 months of tracking him as he was too sick and too weak to continue running. With no tags or collar, he was taken to a kennel that does impound work for the city. After several weeks with not a call or claim, he was scheduled to be euthanized due to his age (guessed to be around 11) and health issues, later diagnosed as dry eye, progressing blindness, hypo thyroid, and severe dental disease.

Saturday evening, January 5, 2002, I received a phone call from the owner of the kennel that had him. I have a reputation as “The Sheltie Lady.” She told me about this “little old dog” (we named him Bentley) and informed me that he was scheduled to be euthanized Monday morning. She asked whether I might know of a family that wanted an older Sheltie. Without a thought, I told her my husband would be there within the hour to get him. When Curt picked him up, this scared and tired little dog clung to him, as if he finally felt safe and warm. Over the next few days, I found evidence of broken ribs, fear of stairs, and progressive eye issues.

Bentley very quickly learned about love and trust in our home, and fit in with our family. He wagged his tail constantly, and was the most grateful dog I have ever known … just happy to be alive and happy to be loved. The dry eye that had gone undiagnosed and untreated was causing progressive and irreversible blindness. He had eye medicines of one sort or another, seven times each day, in an effort to slow the progression and salvage what little vision he had left. I have no idea how old he really was or the specific details of his life, only that with us, he was a happy kid and a constant reminder to us about unconditional love, about trust, and that his little life was worth saving.

Bentley lived another 6 1⁄2 years. It is Bentley’s story, and the lives of dozens of dogs we have helped over the years, that inspire us each day … because every dog deserves a great life!

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