For example, if a squirrel were to taunt him by running onto the street, Benny would take off chasing it and find himself in the middle of the road before you could even offer a warning "No!" In fact, your voice wouldn't even touch his ears while he's in pursuit. He tunes out everything except the object of the chase.
Many actions and activities evoke the same response - such as snow shoveling, weed pulling, car washing (see yesterday's photo) and fish swimming, as the video below will show you. It was taken in 2009 at this time of the year, when salmon are making their way upstream to Lake Ontario. I've posted it before, but it illustrates how Benny reacts to a perceived challenge.
If you receive this via email, you'll need to tune into my blog in order to see the video.
Need another example of his tenacity? One day last month, when we were up at the cottage, Frank decided to indulge in a rainy day of fishing. Sitting in a boat in the rain is not my idea of fun, so I stayed behind with Benny who didn't quite get the idea that he was not invited along for the ride.
Benny is impossible on a boat. He runs from end to end, jumping over legs and laps biting at rods as he hops from one end to the other. He leans far over the edge trying to lick the waves and has jumped out a couple of times trying to capture the boat's wake. He's not fun and not welcome on the boat but that doesn't stop him from trying. These photos were taken through the cottage window.
While Frank was busy preparing to leave for a few hours, Benny decided to make his way into the boat hoping he wouldn't notice.
Of course, Frank did notice and tossed him off onto the dock before departure.
Frank was a few seconds into his departure when he realized that Benny had snuck back into the vessel. I watched from the cottage, quite amused. Benny was certain that he'd get away with it. Frank had to circle around to return to the dock.
When he did, he was quite miffed at Benny, and he knew it. There was no mistaking the seriousness of Frank's voice when he yelled "Get out!" and Benny finally responded by obliging.
Something demanded Benny's attention one day during that same cottage visit which could have turned out deadly.
Frank and I were standing around on the dock with cameras in hand, enjoying the many stages of the sunset. Benny, who is a good swimmer, was in and out of the water, as he often is but he kept trying to approach something in the water, right between the rocky shore and the edge of the dock. It might have been a floating pine cone, a small fish or the tip of a plant growing upwards and teasing him by waving in the gentle current. Whatever it was, it was important to Benny and it kept him busy while we focused our attention on the sunset.
Please enjoy it with me, before I go on with the story.
The sky was turning to gold.
I liked the dramatic appearance of this lone tree against the colourful sky.
A fisherman heads home at the end of the day.
After a short while we heard a soft whimper coming from... somewhere.
We both made a quick scan of the lake and shoreline and came up empty. More whimpers. We quickly realized that he had somehow gotten himself under the dock, and that he would be almost completely submerged in water. We envisioned him treading water frantically, his nose finding a small pocket of air. We also knew that he plays so hard, he'd have already exhausted himself and could quickly lose the strength he needed to keep his nose above the surface. The space was too tight for either of us to fit.
We each leaned over an edge of the dock and put our arms into the water. At first it was to see if we could reach him and pull him out and when that proved impossible, we took to splashing in the water to try to entice him. In order for Benny to swim out from under the dock, he'd have to go underwater first and he just wasn't getting that idea. He was going to need to be rescued.
Finally, Frank caught sight of him by peering into the space at just the right angle. He wasn't treading water. He had found a small ledge which allowed him enough room to rest his front paws, and his head was more or less comfortably above water. Sure enough, when I looked down between the boards of the dock, I could see Benny's big eyes staring back at me, and the tips of his little paws resting on a board, keeping him afloat. He continued to whimper but I'll bet his little tail was wagging beneath the surface of the water.
By now, Frank was in the boathouse looking for a tool with which to rescue that crazy little pooch. He returned with a pick axe and before another minute went by, one of the boards was lifted from the dock and a bedraggled little Benny appeared. I lifted him out and after a few licks and tail wags, he was right back in the water in pursuit of whatever it was that got him into trouble in the first place.
THAT's when his life was actually in danger. It took great effort on both our parts not to strangle the tenacious, little beastie.
Very grateful that all turned out well, we watched the last of the sunset take shape.