Ben was fairly easy to train, although it was made harder as Dad had just taken early retirement and I was working. Dad was a bit soft on him, but I knew male Labs needed a firm hand, so I spent all my free time out with him. It soon paid dividends and by one year old he was off the lead all the time with me.
At 18 months a friend of mine said he would like Ben to mate with his bitch, also a black Lab. Fast-track a few months and Ben became the father to ELEVEN pups! I was offered £200 plus the pick of the litter. We settled on £500 and he could sell them all.
Ben was fiercely loyal to me. Any male dog would not be tolerated. (I think this was due to him being attacked as a pup.) There was one dog however that Ben worshipped. I used to walk them both as my friends Dad was getting a bit frail. It used to be quite amusing walking down the disused railway line with Bill and Ben!! Sadly Bill was put down a few years later, but Ben would always rush up to his gate and wait for him not to arrive.
As you may know I suffered a bad accident in 2000, breaking lots of important things and spending 6 months in hospital. Mum and Dad used to visit every other day, as I was up in Sheffield. After 4 months I was finally allowed out of bed, albeit in a body brace. Mum and Dad arrived to find me in my new wheelchair. They took me outside into the car park to inspect the new car, a Ford Focus estate. Dad opened the back, and there was Ben! We hadn't seen each other for 4 months. He went ballistic, I cried my eyes out!
In 2005 Ben was diagnosed with cancer and put to sleep.I cried my eyes out.
He was the best friend I ever had!