grand river hoji ben {january 25, 2000 – july 7, 2014}

We bought our first house with him in mind.

He was born less than one week after we were engaged.

We drove 6 hours, one way, to pick him up…I had to drive the last hour so Ryan would not speed.

His biological mom’s name was Jo-Jo.

His biological dad’s name was Fast Eddy.

He was a grumpy old man as a puppy.

We got married when he was 10 months old.

We used to run across creeks and hide behind trees to make him learn to swim.

More times than not, when he would throw a fit about getting into the car (usually in the middle of nowhere Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas or Nebraska) we had to get in the car without him and drive down the dirt road, with him in hot pursuit, just to get him to decide to get into the car with us.

He taught us about tough love.

He introduced us to people and places we never would have met or seen without him.

He took us on adventures I will never forget.

We ran through high mountain parks in snow-thunderstorms together.

We “got turned around” (you are only lost if you are never found) after dark on logging roads in Idaho together.

We woke up with a snow covered wall tent at 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains more than once together.

He traveled from coast to coast with us.

He stayed at Hotel Monaco in Chicago (even took a bath in the tub) and Super 8’s all over the country.

He swam in rivers and lakes from New York to Colorado to Oregon.

He chased birds where most will never get a chance, or be good enough, to chase birds.

He stopped me from walking in on a burglary in progress in our home.

He taught me patience.

He taught me unconditional love.

He taught me to be a mom before I was a mom.


flat tops 9:2005

hunting in the colorado flat tops {9/2005}

bella beach 7:2011

bella beach {7/2011}

walk around the block 2:2012

walk around the block {2/2012}

thought we would lose him then 3:2012

almost lost him {3/2012}

st louis ponds 4:2006

the three amigos – Oak, Ben & Odyssey {4/2006}

snuggles 3:2012

snuggles {3/2012}

sleepy face 3:2012

sleepy face…he was so sick in march 2012 {3/2012}

sharing his bed 12:2013

such a gentle boy – sharing with baby teal {12/2013}

reece's first hunt 11:2010

reece’s first hunt {11/2010}

mt hood 8:2010

mt. hood {8/2010}

mike gould and ben 10:2005

grand river seminar with mike gould {10/2005}

lab at play


just hanging 10:2011

just hanging on the deck {10/2011}

instagram dog 8:2011

dog of instagram {8/2011}

idaho 10:2006

loved to dig a hole to rest in – idaho {10.2006}

grandchild is a dog

pillow we bought for ryan’s parents

grand river seminar 10:2011

grand river seminar – idaho {10/2011}

getting a bath 2:2014

getting a bath {2/2014}

family dog 8:2011

family dog {8/2011}

family dog 3:2011

dog pile {3/2011}

chukar 1:2009

chukar hunting {1/2009}


He couldn’t hear.

He couldn’t see.

He was in pain.

For the last week he barked each time he had to go out to go potty because he needed help standing up to go outside.

Last night, after he barked for help I slept on the floor with him.

His last night with us.

This morning, I carried him outside so he could go potty.

He was stubborn. Always.

He didn’t want to have to be carried outside to go potty, but his body was failing him.

It was time to let go.

Fourteen and a half years.

Our family won’t be the same without him.

grand river hoji ben

Rest in Peace, Grand River Hoji Ben.

home is…knowing all dogs go to heaven.

17 thoughts on “grand river hoji ben {january 25, 2000 – july 7, 2014}

  1. crosstitchery says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss .. I can hear the love in your words and see it in your photos, and know he was a part of your family. I can relate having a dog like this in our family, and have experienced one going to heaven before .. Hope you are all okay, and take comfort in your amazing memories with him.

  2. Kelly says:

    Sad tears. I’m sending love and prayers to you and your family. All dogs do go to heaven. RIP beautiful puppy.

  3. Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful farewell to Beloved Ben, and the happy memories of his life in your family…. his puppy stories were so Ben, I had to laugh through my tears!

  4. Julie Catlin says:

    What a grand tribute to a GrandRiver lab! Once you have a dog they change your capacity for love for ever. You will never be afraid to love like that again because the reward is so great,even with the pain after they are gone. llove, Mom

    Sent from Julie’s iPad …

  5. Stephanie says:

    Steph, I am so sorry for your loss. You gave him an amazing tribute (your words are beautiful) and he is definitely in doggie heaven!

  6. Don Schell says:

    Steph what an incredibly beautiful tribute to Grand River Hoji Ben.I laughed (pillow) and cried in the Ben’s life story in pictures and words,but mostly just felt the love your family shared with him.I’m glad I got to meet and hunt with Hoji Ben and Ryan.Team Taddeo was a Blue Grouse’s worst nightmare.What a great life Ben had with your family and your tribute Steph is proof of what he gave in return. RIP Hoji Ben.


  7. Cyndie says:

    Just a beautiful tribute… hugs and love coming your way… I know we are not far from this scenario, and I thank you for reminding me to treasure and appreciate each day with my fur baby… my first baby. XOXO

  8. annainternational says:

    This moved me to laughter and tears. What a beautiful tribute. He sounds like a wonderful friend. I’ve only had my 8 year old rescue three years, but already I cannot imagine life without him. 14 and a half years must seem like forever. I am so sorry for your loss. x

  9. gypsyartistfairy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your beautiful eulogy has got me crying now.
    This post reminds me of the first dog I loved, he was never really mine but I loved him as though he was and I still miss him greatly. I hope you don’t mind a stranger leaving you an internet :hug: ♥

  10. Ash says:

    That’s such a sweet tribute to ‘a man’s best friend’, beautifully written. When we lost Maggie, I penned a tribute to her, ‘Born a dog, died a Dempsey’ (Dempsey being our family name). She wasn’t just a dog, she was family. x

  11. The Art of Being Human says:

    Now I’m sat at my desk at work crying after reading this.

    Very sad for your loss. Dogs – and pets in general – are an amazing part of life. It’s never fair when we have to say goodbye.

    Your post was a beautiful tribute to him.

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