Meet Benji: Cute Little Dog From Hell

By Michael Kaufman

You can’t blame the pet adoption people for not telling you everything in their ads. I doubt there are many people searching for a dog that will hump their daughter any chance he gets. But that is what he does whenever Gahlia is home from college. They can’t very well write, “Looking for a dog that likes to eat his own feces….and then lick your face?” How about, “Foot Fetishist’s Delight: This little fellow loves to lick your bare feet and toes….and bite them too!” Or, “Want a cute little dog that chews everything in sight?

Before we adopted Benji I had never heard of a “wee wee pad.” Now I just wish someone would invent a “doo doo pad” to go with it. Benji thinks any rug or carpet in the house is the perfect place to deposit his bon bons. As my wife Eva-Lynne pointed out the other day, “We didn’t know how good we had it with Petey.”

Petey, alev ha sholem, was our last dog. When we adopted him from the Warwick Valley Humane Society he was already trained to relieve himself outdoors. When he wanted to go out he would get our attention by shaking his collar to make noise.  You’d take him outside and he would go right away. No muss no fuss. He did have an odd predilection for defecating on a slope, but if none was available, he’d go on flat ground.  His one disgusting habit was eating cat turds out of the litter box, but even that doesn’t seem so disgusting now.

I used to be amused by the way our neighbor Andrea would plead with her dog: “Come on Linus, make poo poo.” We often walked our dogs together and I always felt a little smug when this happened. I never had to plead with Petey.  Now I don’t feel so smug.

I have walked Benji at length in the bitter cold, on our treacherous icy driveway and nearby roads. When I heard myself imploring, “Come on Benji, make poo poo,” I was humbled. And since it seemed somehow unmanly to be saying those words, I changed them to, “Come on Benji, get the feeling” and later still, in frustration, to, “Come on Benji, will you please make a crap already!”

Eva-Lynne decided we should keep a log of the times we take him out for a walk and record the results. This has proved helpful. A typical entry by Eva-Lynne will read, “7:45 a.m.—Peed, no b.m.” Or “peed and b.m.” My first entry was, “8:30 a.m—Nada!” It took several days before I could joyfully write, “Peed and crapped!” I drew a smiley face at the end.

In fairness to Benji, he was trained to do his business indoors by his previous owners. They live in an apartment complex in Suffolk County that does not allow pets. So they kept him inside at all times until his recent rescue by the Save-a-Pet people. They told us Benji is a poodle/shih-tzu mix. Others have suggested he is a Jack Russel/shih-tzu mix, which would explain why he sometimes takes one of his toys between his teeth, and shakes it violently and growls as if he were killing a small animal. (If you go on line and look at the pictures of the two mixes, you see that he could be either.)

My daughter Sadie thinks Benji is bipolar, because when he isn’t acting crazy he will sit peacefully on your lap or at your feet. He likes it when you pet his head or under his chin. At those times he is a sweet, gentle soul.  But in the blink of an eye he can turn manic. One of his favorite activities at these times is to gallop at full speed around the kitchen island, repeatedly, in an oval pattern. We can shout “Benji! Benji! Stop!” all we want but he is oblivious. He is in the zone—like Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes. 

What can I say? He eats his own feces. He humps my daughter. He chews everything in sight. And I can’t help but love the little guy.

Michael can be react at


2 Responses to “Meet Benji: Cute Little Dog From Hell”

  1. Michael Kaufman Says:

    Thanks to all who sent emails in response to this post…but first a reminder that it is no longer a chore to leave a reply here at the site to be shared directly with other readers….
    STEPHANIE writes that Benji is so cute that she wants him, but she knows her cat would not adapt well: “He would be sooooooooo pissed if I brought another animal into the house!” Our cat Misha wasn’t too thrilled at first, either, Stephanie, but the two are getting along a lot better lately….After my brother GENE read my description of Benji’s annoying habits he wrote, “It is obvious that he is a perfect fit.” Gee, thanks bro….Gene’s wife SUE was much kinder: “Good for you and your family. You saved a life….Give it time and of course love.” Thanks, Sue. Benji is getting lots of love and is responding in kind, even though he is still a little wacko….JAYNIE writes, “Wow he is one lucky dog to have your family adopt him. He is so cute. I still have 7 dogs and a few getting old, so I hope to get more.” Thanks, Jaynie. One is plenty for me though. Could it be that I’m getting old? Nah.

  2. Jessica O'Malley Says:

    Wish I had read this before the trip. I could of put a picture with your story about him. For those of us who walk our dogs, I totally feel your pain.

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