I finally got the scruffy little dog of my childhood dreams

When I was a child, I longed to have a dog just like Benji for my very own.

We never had dogs growing up – only cats. It’s funny because my parents loved dogs and had them as kids, but for whatever reason, they decided we were cat people.

I loved our cats, but the Benji movies and their accompanying books in the ’70s and ’80s cemented in my mind the dream of someday having a small, scruffy-looking dog who would be mine and only mine.

When I grew up, moved out and had pets of my own, I started with cats because that’s what I knew best – and because I worked long hours with a long commute. I also had developed a pretty bad fear of dogs by that time.

Eventually, when I was married to someone who had more time at home, we got a puppy. My ex got me a tiny beagle puppy in an effort to cure me of my fear of dogs. It worked, and I have no regrets about it at all; Beamer was my first canine true love.

Years went by and I’ve lived with and loved many dogs, big and small. But I had still never gotten that scruffy little Benji-dog of my dreams – and honestly, as happens with many childhood wishes, I completely forgot about it.

Then in 2016, our daughter got her heart set on the idea of a little dog she could hold and carry like a baby. Our neighbors had a tiny dog and she absolutely loved Wrigley – she even got to petsit him once. That was her first job, in fact!

When E and Z decided to add a small dog to our family, I was against it. We had the perfect big dog in our Goldendoodle, Autumn – plus I knew I’d end up taking care of the little dog even if it wasn’t officially mine. Nonetheless, I eventually gave in and we added little rescue dog Dani to our family.

I didn’t realize it at the time – in fact, not until several years later – but Dani is EXACTLY the little scruffy dog I had longed for as a child! It took me until midlife but I truly manifested that childhood wish without even realizing it.

Dani gets into wild scrapes and dangerous adventures just like Benji.

She is clever, brave and fearless just like Benji.

She is small, scruffy and undeniably lovable just like Benji.

Honestly, I couldn’t dream up a more perfect little scruffy, Benji-like companion if I tried. Dani was Z’s dog at first but, over the years, she has become very much my baby.

It was Dani who got me through our terrible and tragic loss of our beloved Autumn at the end of 2020.

Dani is the small, loving, scruffy constant in all our lives, bridging our wonderful years with Autumn and our current lovely life with Lamborghini.

E and Z often say, “What would you do without that little dog?” when they see Dani and I in our usual state of mutual adoration and snuggles. It’s a well-known fact in our house that wherever mom goes, Dani is right there. She’s my little shadow and my constant companion. If I’m sitting down, she’s right beside me.

The truth is, I don’t know how I went so long without her – this scruffy little Benji dog of my dreams. I am just so, so thankful and happy that Dani came into our lives and I treasure every day that we have together.

Did you have any childhood wishes or dreams that you later manifested and made real in your life? I’d love to hear about your lifelong wishes fulfilled in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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