My Beloved German Shepherd
Patria Baradi Pacis
It seems only yesterday that I spoke to the editor of the Montauk Pioneer, ,David Lion Rattiner, to
enquire how I could get my German Shephered “Benji” on the front cover. I knew Benji was special.
He loved to pose for the camer. He loved putting on the sweaters I knitted for him or hooded,
sweatshirts that I bought from the Montauk Community Church’s Rummage Sale.
After several failed attempts to get a picture of Benji on the cover, Dave was kind enough to give me
some pointers through phone calls and e-mails:
“Take Benjij to the Montauk Point Lighthouse and make sure your digital camera is set on high
resolution, otherwise the pictures will not come out clear.”
“Turn the camera vertically and give enough room for the Montauk Pioneer title at the top.”
The very next day, my husband Cam and I drove to the Montauk Point Lighthouse as instructed. Benji
and I had a “photo shoot.” I bought several outfits for Benji but since the Fourth of July was coming
soon, I put my red, white, and blue scarf on him and his yellow, rim sunglasses. He posed in front of
the Lighthouse, in back of the Lighthouse and at the parking lot across the street with the Lighthouse
as the background. He just posed and posed until I had more than fifty shots to choose from.
Several weeks went by, no “Benji” on the cover. Each Friday, my husband and I waited anxiously to
see if our baby made the cover page. Days later, Dave sent me an e-mail stating that Benji made the
cover of the July 7, 06’ issue. I was busy typing away when my husband walked in carrying a stack
of Pioneers. I looked at the cover and saw Benji’s huge face splattered on the whole page. I put out
a scream so loud that I am sure that everyone in town heard me. I was really happy that our Benji
finally made the cover. Needless to say, I thanked Dave and sent an e-mail worldwide to all the Benji
fans who knew him from my writings of Benji stories.
The next couple of days, on his daily walks, cars would pull up over and ask if Benji was the dog on the
Pioneer cover and Cam and I would proudly say: “YES!” Benji was an instant Star and the rest is
One of the many tricks Benji performed is “Patty Cake, Patty Cake.” Benji would sit and bring his
front paws up and we would play the game. “Patty cake, Patty cake, Benji’s pal, make me a cake
for me and my guy, hold it, roll it, put it in a pan, bake me a cake as soon as you can.” Then we would
“high five” or “high ten” each other.
Another trick of Benji’s was playing soccer with a small, yellow, beach ball with a happy face printed
on it. I would kick the ball, then Benji would do the same until it hit the hallway wall. Benji also
loved his tennis balls. One Christmas, I came home with a pail, full of balls and dropped them all
at one time. He was as happy as a child in a candy store. If Cam and I were not up to playing, Benji
would entertain himself. He would pick up his ball from his basket full of toys, then he would throw
it up in the air with his jaws and try to catch it in mid-air.
Benji also loved to play “hide and seek.” Cam would run and hide. I would yell: “Ollie, Ollie,
Oxen, ready or not, here he comes.” Then Benji would know to look for Cam.
Whenever a fire truck would pass by our home with its siren on full blast, Benji would start howling
as if he were singing.
So many precious moments with Benji. Each day was a blessing, ever since we found him as a