‘My son arranged a date behind my back but it was love at first sight’

May 26, 2019
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Annie knew the minute she met Ben the dog, she would be taking him home for good. Source: Getty Images

I’d been on the ‘singles’ list for a few years when my son came to visit for a few days. We were sitting relaxing after dinner when he dropped the bombshell, “Mum, I think you need a new companion.”

Visions of some scruffy, chain-smoking, beer-guzzling specimen of the human race flashed before my eyes. I demurred.

A couple of days later my son brought the subject up again, saying he’d been talking to a lady who knew the perfect companion for me, his name was Ben. He was ‘between jobs’ and had been staying with her while he looked for somewhere more permanent to live. My son had even gone so far as to arrange a date for us.

The next day we set off in my car, heading for the meeting place that he’d arranged. We were to meet in a local park, “neutral territory” he said. Remembering the unemployment and the living arrangements, I’ll admit Ben didn’t sound all that stable to me.

We pulled up at the entrance to the park and made our way along the path, admiring the tidy garden beds as we walked. In the distance I noticed a lady sitting on her own on a park bench. We were heading her way.

My son introduced me to Mary, the lady he had met only the day before. She smiled and shook my hand.

“Did Ben not come?” my son enquired, but she replied that he had, and they’d been sitting waiting for us when the neighbour’s children had come by, so he’d gone for a quick walk with them, while he waited for us to arrive.

I thought it was a bit off-hand for someone to arrange a date, then go off for a walk at the appointed time.

We sat and waited, and waited some more. Mary told us a bit about Ben, that he was quiet and tidy in the house. She commented that he was clean, too. My mind flashed back to a boarder I’d had many years ago, he didn’t like showering and he had rather smelly feet that put me off my dinner when he sat down and shoved them forward into my territory under the table.

Then Mary said, “Oh here they come.”

Ben was very good looking, dark slightly wavy hair, he gave me a toothy grin. I offered my hand and he reciprocated. He was certainly the strong silent type, he sat quietly, allowing Mary to lead the conversation. It occurred to me that he wouldn’t be too noisy to have around.

Would he always be so quiet, or would he come out of his shell when he got to know me better, I wondered. I hoped the latter would be the case. I was already quite smitten, he was so handsome and a good age too.

He appeared to be perfect, if it was what I really wanted. That was the problem, did I want a stranger in my house?

My son suggested that we take him home and show him where he’d be sleeping. I thought that was a good idea. I offered Mary a ride too, we could always drop them off again afterwards.

We all rose, my son opened the door for Mary to travel with me in the front of my car, then he and Ben got in the back seat. I looked in the rear vision mirror just in time to see my son rub Ben on the top of his head and comment that he was a lucky boy, that I would look after him well, and he’d probably have a home for good.

I had to agree. Ben was one of the most beautiful dogs I’d met in a long time.

Have your children ever discussed companionship with you? Would you get a pet to prevent loneliness.

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