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Posts Tagged ‘Ben the Dog’

Fortunate beginnings and Ben the dog

August 13th, 2009

Ben the dog, taken by John

Ten years ago, I was a fresh-faced Fine Art grad, and the world was my oyster. Reality set in when a friend helped me do an internet job search, and the single result from a search with the keyword “artist” was… “Wanted: Subway sandwich artist.” Uh oh.

Thus began some heavy duty pavement-pounding. I called every single ad firm in the yellow pages, and managed to finagle a whack of interviews. Every single one ended with “Nice work; go get some computer skills.” The last place I had an interview was a home-based business run by a dynamo named Cyndi; we hit it off and I was just about to tell her that I’d be back once I did a graphic design crash course… when she offered me a part-time position.

I worked there a few hours a week over the next couple of months, then eventually signed on full-time. Cyndi also happened to be a design instructor at the local college… so my first career-related position was basically hands-on schooling. It didn’t occur to me until years afterwards just how lucky I was that she took me on.

Going to work consisted of stuffing my brain with as much new information as possible (m-dashes, orphans and leading, oh my!), lots of laughing with co-workers, being entertained by Cyndi’s partner Mario (who does the best rendition of “Choppin’ Broccoli”)… and then there was Ben the dog.

Ben had been a neglected pup, so Cyndi and Mario took him in; they had to teach him what a ball was and how to play with it. They also taught him to ring a bell at the back door if he wanted to go out. He loved to lick people’s ears. He wagged his whole back half — not just his tail. Boy, could he drop a stink bomb! Honestly though, he was one of the absolute sweetest dogs I’ve ever met.

Last week, Ben got sick suddenly and had to be put down. I know his family are beside themselves with grief, and I’ve been surprised at how very sad I’ve been about this too. Since hearing the news, I’ve gotten nostalgic and done a lot of thinking back to this first job I had, how much it affected me, and how deeply thankful I am to have experienced it and met everyone there; what a bonus it is that we all still keep in touch.

I’ll miss you, Benny — I’m sending you big hugs, long walks and a limitless supply of ears to lick.

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