Bentley was a little dog who inspired the creation of Top Dog Foundation. Animal control officers tracked him running loose through a suburban neighborhood for six months until they finally captured him on a cold December day. At that point, he was too sick and weak to run away. With no tags or collar, this small tired dog was taken to a kennel that does impound work. After several weeks with not a call or claim, he was scheduled to be euthanized due to his age (guessed to be around 11) and health issues.

The kennel called Jean Beuning instead, telling her a “little old dog” was scheduled to be killed in two days. She took him into her home. Veterinarians diagnosed him with dry eye, progressive blindness, hypothyroidism and severe dental disease. He also showed clear evidence of broken ribs and a great fear of stairs.

In a safe home, Bentley demonstrated a capacity to love and trust again. He wagged his tail constantly, and was the most grateful dog. He had eye medicines of one sort or another seven times each day, in an effort to slow progressive blindness and salvage what little vision he had left. No one had an idea of how old he really was or the specific details of his life, yet he was happy and served as a constant reminder that his life was worth saving.

Bentley lived another 6 1⁄2 years. It is Bentley’s life and the lives of dozens of senior dogs helped over the years that inspire us each day.

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