LOVE and Life with my Dog Benny

Without a doubt, Benson was the most consistent relationship of my adult life. He was my world, and I was his.

Benny gave me purpose to get up in the morning and move my body, he gave me a reason to want to come home at night. He gave me the desire to snuggle up on the sofa watching movies, or to go for an early morning walk along the beach, whatever the weather.

I cared for him like I cared for a human child. I nurtured him, and made sure he was happy, healthy and safe. I bought him things and based my decisions of where to live, where to eat and where to holiday based on whether it was appropriate for a dog. I even made decisions about what men to date based on whether they liked him, and he liked them!

As I moved through my 30s and 40s, I felt the insurmountable pressure from society to find a man and settle down, and have kids. And if I wasn’t able to achieve those two goals in life, then I would be unlovable.

I spent time really asking myself that question ‘what’s wrong with me, am I unlovable?’, and I went looking for those answers. I read many books and attended personal development courses. Eventually I found the answer to be ‘nothing’.

We are all conditioned to believe we must want it all, the marriage, the children, the mortgage. But once I really looked deep inside, I realised they weren’t my desires, they were ones I was told I must have, they were society’s expectations.

I got my beautiful dog Benny when he was two months old, I was 30 years old. He was an English Pointer.

He was a bit of a goofball, with the longest, spindly legs, with a regal air about him, with wise, big brown eyes.

He was my child. It was Benny that I considered when I made the decision to move to the beautiful Sunshine Coast from Melbourne, based on being able to share beach walks and adventures together.

Benny loved me unconditionally, and accepted me even through hysterical, tear-soaked moments, when my heart was split in two and my spirit broken, he was there, with his head beside mine, and his big paw resting on my leg, letting me take the role of his child.

Benson taught me that I too was loveable. And he helped me to receive love in return. Recently, I lost my beautiful dog Benny. Now my dearest, oldest friend is a part of everything. He’s in the wind, in the soil, at the beach, and in me, wherever I go.

The death of a loved one is the raw truth of life, and the time we have together is sacred and to be cherished. I’ve realised since Benny passed how much we need to appreciate that time, even the everyday normal moments, which lie right beside us.

As a photographer, at the end of his life, I was so grateful that I was able to capture the precious times I spent with Benny through photography for the twelve years we were together.

He was the most beautiful, enriching experience of love that I have ever known.

Narelle x

Book a session with me if you’d love to capture the precious bond you have with your dog through visual storytelling.

Image of Benny and I by Photographer Bree Pettenuzzo xx