Mr. Bentley is Silky hair Yorkie Terrier, from L.A.. We got him one Christmas for the Family. He was costly for a dog. The other dogs that we have bonded with, were given to us. Over the years, laVera and I somehow became his chief custodian. In the move to the Desert, we inherited him by default. The Apartments the occupy in the city don’t welcome Pets. Our kids, now young adults, prefer to come visit “their” dog.
There wasn’t much hope of his survival in the Desert. Especially at Syncona, his options was few. Lavera’s routine of walking him around the tame Neighbourhood of Wilshire Center was interrupted. Now the Desert come right up to our door. You exit and you are in the wilds. Acres of uninterrupted desert landscape with all the wildlife at home.
Before the move we had arrangement to have him fixed. That was placed on hold, mostly because my sons, including myself, couldnt embraced the idea. The big question was, do we then have come up with a name change, drop the “Mister.”? were we ready for a personality change that comes with neutering.? The move proved to so overwhelming, we never kept the schedule.
It was a good thing. Mr. Bentley is one feisty little dog. He carried himself proud, head high with a distinctive strut. Petting him or holding him too long wasn’t interesting to him. He would ignore the yard dogs in the neighbourhood. After years of passing their gates, with the barking and flipping rabidly at the sight of him, no acknowledgement from Mr. Bentley, ever. Other dogs being walked, we had to cross the street, because he didn’t play. He gets to do all the sniffing, and if the other dogs try, no matter their size? they are not allowed to sniff him back. It would be a fight. he was great with kids, cats and birds. Still if they get out-of-order, he was ready to put them in line.
Consequently he was alway on a leash. He had a limit to play. when he was thru playing fetch, he would hide the ball or stick. when he was ready he would not take no, he had to be distracted.
Lavera was as scared as he was when they first settled into Syncona. Slowly, she learned to trust him to wander off, without a leash. I encouraged setting him free. If I was a Dog I would love that option. At first he didn’t go far, then the call of the wild dogs and the visiting Coyotes piqued his interest to go further.
At night we would put him on a leash for him to go out and do his business. During the days, while I am working on the grounds he would keep me company. He would chase the Roadrunners, the Jack Rabbits and the Quails. He developed a hatred for the Crows. He would sense them from inside and would not settle down until he gets to go out and chase them off.
Found out that LaVera’s fear was mostly for his sake. She campaigned for fencing and I would not have it. my horizon will not be fenced. Plus I could not afford it. Mr. Bentley will have to survive thru transformation. His dog sense will have to allow him to adapt and survive. More and more, I retired the leash. Commands and rewards was our gateway to freedom.
The breakthrough came one night when laVera was in Australia vacationing with my Sister, Eileen. At night I would let him out then walk behind him. He developed a survival tact, where, as he hit the outside, he transform himself into a savage beast, as he attacked the dark. We would set up boundaries as we explore the Dark. I would be armed of course. I always let him have the lead. He would go to the first level and wait, when I catch up, he would go off to the next.
During one of those Blue moon nights we were having, he attacked the dark. That was what I thought at first, until the scuffling and growls got loud. There was a Coyote, hiding in behind a creosote bush. As the Coyote recovered from Mr.Bentley”s attack and began to fight back, he tossed Mr. Bentley a few feet back. As Mr. Bentley fell to the ground, he realize he was in a serious fight, turned and ran back towards me. With the Coyote in chase, snipping at his heels. I stepped between them. Again, the Coyote surprised, stopped in his track, showed me some teeth, turned and ran into the night. There was Mr. Bentley carrying on like he was Mohammad Ali after he whupped Liston. About a half hour later he came whimpering to me. He had a bruised rib and in pain. Picked some Aloe Vera, rubbed his side with it, as much as he would let me. I minced it up in his water for the next couple of days or so and until he was back to himself.
After that incident he would stay away from the visiting coyotes. he would come and alert me if one was nearby. One morning on his rounds, where he would exercise doing sprints back and forth around the house. He didn’t make it around, as he encounter a Bobcat, about to devour his kill. Mr. Bentley decided, he wanted the kill and began to go crazy, charging the Bobcat. Good thing LaVera was close by with a rake. She was able to get on the other side of the Bobcat distracting him. Knowing he was outflanked, the Bobcat took off. Then the amazing thing, Mr.Bentley would not let go of the dead Jack Rabbit. He wanted it for himself and was willing to fight us, for it. Never knew, he had that many teeth in his head. I had to take the rake to him, to run him off. He was transformed into a dog I didn’t know. At the same time, I was relieved . His chances for survival on Sycona Mesa was more assured, for now