TERRE HAUTE —
Ben would do anything for love.
In fact, the 41⁄2 year-old, 70-pound dog ran away from his new, adoptive home in Youngstown Meadows; traversed 10 miles across busy streets, railroad tracks and lonely fields; braved the cold and his own hunger; and somehow, some way, in about 24 hours, found his way back to the Terre Haute Humane Shelter.
And there, he rejoined the love of his life, his soul-mate and the mother of his children, Jade, a 1-year-old German Shepherd mix.
But this love story doesn’t end there.
When Courtney and Jason Lawler, the couple that had adopted Ben, realized the two former strays would not be happy without eachother, they adopted both.
The story of Ben’s trek to find his girl “is amazing,” Courtney Lawler said Friday. The Lawlers knew Ben and Jade were close, and even stayed in the same pen at the shelter.
But initially, the Lawlers decided one pet was enough, for many reasons.
They have a 3-year-old rambunctious son, and Jade seemed “a little more skittish than Ben,” Courtney Lawler said. THHS staff believe Jade was a stray her whole life, until she was taken to the shelter. Jade is not used to being around people.
For a long time, Ben and Jade were strays who lived near Fruitridge Avenue and Fort Harrison Road; different people on the north end, including staff at Benjamin’s Family Dining, made sure they were fed, said Debbie Floyd, president of the Humane Society board.
“Anyone who travels the north end would have seen them,” said Floyd, who works in that area and also fed them.
When Jade got pregnant last summer, “We trapped them and took them to the shelter,” she said.
Ben and Jade remained together at the shelter for several months. “They were a bonded pair,” said Charles Brown, shelter manager.
When Jade had six puppies, THHS adoption counselor Kali Skinner took the mother and puppies home to take care of them for eight weeks, and eventually found homes for all six puppies. Jade was timid, but a “very caring mother,” Skinner said.
Jade and Ben were then re-united at the shelter, until the Lawlers adopted Ben. While Ben had plenty of food, and a warm, loving home …
“When a man loves a woman, can’t keep his mind on nothing else. He’ll trade the world, for the good thing he’s found,” or so goes the Percy Sledge song.
The Lawlers had Ben for about three weeks. On Dec. 28, while Jason Lawler was taking out the trash and talking on his cell, Ben saw opportunity, shot out the door and ran. And ran. And he didn’t look back.
No one’s sure where exactly the path of love took Ben as he made his way to the shelter at 1811 S. Fruitridge, but he got there by last Saturday night.
While he wanted desperately to be with his mate, he did not want to get caught, either. Shelter workers tried four hours on Sunday to get him — even using Jade as bait. “He knew it was a trap,” Skinner said.
Jade was inside a fence, and Ben was out. She must have been warning him, because he would not go inside. He did, however, “kiss her through the fence,” said Skinner, one of several who worked feverishly to capture the street-savvy Ben.
The shelter workers renewed their efforts on Monday, New Year’s Eve, and finally used a dart gun to tranquilize and slow him down, although he put up a long, hard fight once again and it took another several hours before they captured him.
“The story, the emotion and the energy it took to track this fellow and get him back to the shelter was amazing to witness,” wrote Sue Berta, a shelter volunteer, who helped recapture Ben, a carmel-colored German Shepherd and husky mix.
Ben and Jade were “visibly happy to see eachother, barking and wagging their tales,” Brown said.
On Thursday, the Lawlers took the re-united couple home; they had adopted Jade. Ben likes to hide under a bed, while Jade lies on a mat beside him. Both are shy animals uncomfortable around strangers, and the Lawlers hope to receive assistance from a shelter volunteer trained to work with such animals. “It will take a lot of time and patience in working with them,” Courtney Lawler said.
She described Ben as “content and happy because he has Jade,” while Jade “still has a lot of puppy to her.”
Floyd is grateful to the Lawlers for taking both dogs.
Ben and Jade “want to be together. There hasn’t been a lot of human love in their lives,” Floyd said. “They found love with eachother and that what’s make them happy … Hopefully, they will live their lives happily ever after.”
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
Ben would do anything for love.
Co-Op to Feed group delivering to needy
Three Terre Haute organizations are teaming up to deliver food boxes to “the neediest of needy” with specific health concerns on a monthly basis.
Field trips to take big hit next year
The Vigo County School Corp. plans to inform school staff of “deep cuts” in student field trips for the next school year, Superintendent Dan Tanoos said Friday.
Donation drive in Valley aims to send help to Oklahoma tornado victims
Terre Haute Ministries, along with WTWO, WAWV, Q102.7 and 100.7 Mix-FM are joining forces to help those impacted by tornadoes in Moore, Okla.
Invention makes houses safer from tornadoes
A Terre Haute man has developed a building construction system that increases the strength of a home, especially from a tornado.
ISU to stage public hearing on proposed tuition increase
Indiana State University will conduct a public hearing at 2 p.m. June 4 to receive input on a proposed 1.95 percent increase in student tuition and mandatory fees for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.
Trial date set for man accused of attacking Vigo County deputy
A Terre Haute man accused of attacking a Vigo County Sheriff’s Deputy has an Aug. 12 trial date.
Technology speeds disaster alerts, response
Caitria O’Neill remembers her reaction to hearing tornado warnings on June 1, 2011. She went to the grocery store, she said, “because I live in Massachusetts, and we don’t get tornadoes.”
Health information to be provided for blood donors
People who give blood at Clinton Gardens’ blood drive Tuesday will leave knowing valuable information about their health. Donors will find out their cholesterol level, blood pressure, blood type and iron levels at no cost.
- ‘This is the best day of my life’
Sullivan man airlifted to Indy after crash
A Sullivan man was in critical condition at an Indianapolis hospital Friday after his pickup truck collided with a tanker truck in Sullivan County.
Veterans Memorial Park dedication set for Monday
Memorial Day ceremonies will include a special event this year.
Relic from another age: Massive find
A mastodon that lived in the Wabash Valley thousands of years ago is making big news today.
Game Over: Financial tightening causes VCSC to drop St. Patrick’s from athletic schedule
St. Patrick’s School athletic teams will not have an opportunity to compete against their Vigo County School Corp. middle school counterparts next year.
Katelyn Newell finally at home
After nearly five months, 8-year-old Katelyn Newell finally returned home Thursday evening — with a new heart.
Indiana State U. Police officer honored with Artz Award
Thursday was a special day for Indiana State University Police Officer Christopher Heleine in multiple ways.
City Council considering three for consultant
Three different tax professionals vied Thursday for a chance to become a “financial consultant” to the Terre Haute City Council.
Clay County sheriff warns of bank card scam
The Clay County Sheriff’s Department has received information regarding a scam targeting residents, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department.
State Police seek help with Sullivan County homicide
Indiana State Police detectives from the Putnamville Post are seeking help from the public with the nearly six-month investigation into the death of 85-year-old Lowell R. Badger, a rural Sullivan County farmer.
Man who attacked Vigo deputy arrested
A Terre Haute man accused of attacking a Vigo County sheriff’s deputy earlier this week is facing felony charges in the Vigo County jail.
INDOT to bid final 641 phase
The final construction phase of the 641 bypass is scheduled to let for bids on Dec. 11, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.
District office moves north
The Southwest District office of the Purdue Extension service has been moved north from Vincennes to Terre Haute.
Day is done…
The sun sets Thursday evening as seen from south of Terre Haute.
Banks of the Wabash Festival is more than just yearly entertainment
Pioneers think counterintuitively. Where others see widespread apathy, they focus on the possibility for progress. In a way, the 2013 Year of the River celebration began in the 1970s.
Planning session aims to better Terre Haute
It’s not yet clear what will come of it, but dozens of community leaders spent the whole day Wednesday trying to develop a plan – or collection of plans – to make Terre Haute “a better community.”
Education funding boost won’t benefit all schools
In the budget bill passed by the General Assembly last month, there is more money allocated for K-12 education over the next two years, but that doesn’t mean every school will get more dollars.
- Day of Action job options open
Park Board renames land around Memorial Stadium
Land surrounding Indiana State University’s Memorial Stadium on Terre Haute’s east side has been designated as Veterans Memorial Park, following a unanimous vote Wednesday from the Terre Haute Park Board.
Deputy suffers minor injury during incident
A Vigo County Sheriff’s deputy received a minor injury to his hand Tuesday night while subduing a drunken driving suspect who fled behind a North Terre Haute business.
Man accused of child neglect gets new trial date
An Oct. 15 trial date has been set for a Terre Haute man arrested in November for child neglect after he and his wife allegedly tied up and confined their adopted children in the family home.
Police find meth labs, arrest Pierson Township man
Police uncovered two active methamphetamine labs in southeastern Vigo County on Monday, leading to the arrest of a Pierson Township man.
- More News Headlines
- Co-Op to Feed group delivering to needy