While driving down a road in the northern part of Israel, a woman spotted something flying out of the window of the car ahead of her: a tiny, brown puppy.
The puppy was hit multiple times by several cars by the ongoing flow of traffic before the woman could get to him and call for help. She called the emergency hotline of Let the Animals Live, a no-kill rescue based in Tel Aviv, who took the injured puppy in.
“When he came to us he was terrified and scared,” Shevach Appel, spokesperson for the shelter said. “He’d flinch whenever anyone held out their hand to pet him. He was very sore and sad.”
The rescuers named the injured puppy Ben-Ben and he was examined by veterinarians who determined his back legs were fully paralyzed from being hit by the cars. When he tried to walk, his back legs dragged behind him. He was fitted for a wheelchair to help him get around and allow him to finally run with the other dogs.
Ben-Ben faced another big challenge as a special needs dog in a shelter. While he was now fully mobile after getting the wheelchair, the lower half of his body was paralyzed, and Ben-Ben couldn’t control when or where he went to the bathroom, which made it hard to find someone to adopt him.
Ben-Ben spent two years living at the shelter while being passed up by potential families. Noya Nardimon, one of the rescue workers who had looked after Ben-Ben, decided to give him a home for good.
“I remember falling in love with Ben-Ben the minute I saw him and he looked at me with those clever eyes of his,” Nardimon said. “Deciding to adopt Ben-Ben was not easy, mainly because of the fact that I have a very close connection with many of the dogs that have been waiting far longer than him. But I knew no one else would be willing to take him home because of his incontinence.”
In 2013 Nardimon adopted Ben-Ben and brought him to a specialist to make sure he was living the most comfortable life. The doctor suggested amputating Ben-Ben’s back legs, in hopes it could allow him to move more freely without the extra weight. He went in for surgery and has been able to move about much more easily ever since, both in and out of the wheelchair.
Ben-Ben is now 6 years old and is the happiest when he’s making a new friend or exploring new places with his rescue mom. They go on walks around their city for hours, and he loves to greet everyone he sees. He also has a 10-year-old adopted dog sister, whom he’s formed an inseparable bond with and he loves the many special needs cats Nardimon has rescued over the years.
Despite the trauma Ben-Ben experienced as a baby, he doesn’t let anything slow him down. He has taught himself to climb stairs in his own special way.
“I’ve raised a lot of dogs in my life but he is really the smartest, happiest dog I’ve ever known,” Nardimon said. “He has an endless joy for life, and when you think of everything he’s been through, it’s truly admirable. No traces of the trauma, no self-pity — he’s simply living the moment, being himself and enjoying it all. It’s a real life lesson.”
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