Bentley is the little dog who inspired our mission and the creation of Top Dog Foundation itself. 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 instead, telling her a “little old dog” was scheduled to be killed in two days. She gathered him in, and he clung to the support. He was diagnosed with dry eye, progressive blindness, hypothyroidism and severe dental disease. He also showed clear evidence of broken ribs and a great fear of stairs.

Jean took Bentley into her home, and he shortly demonstrated a capacity to love and trust again. He wagged his tail constantly, and was the most grateful dog … just happy to be alive and happy to be loved. The dry eye that had gone undiagnosed and untreated was causing progressive and irreversible blindness. He had eye medicines of one sort or another, seven times each day, in an effort to slow the progression and salvage what little vision he had left. She had no idea how old he really was or the specific details of his life, only that with her, he was a happy kid and a constant reminder about unconditional love, trust, and that his life was worth saving.

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

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