Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rural community mourns the loss of its town dog; county newspapers give tributes to beloved animal

In an example of the type of story that usually only happens in small towns and only gets covered by community newspapers, about 200 of the 1,300 residents of Benton, Ky., showed up Monday for a memorial service to honor Benton Dog, the town dog, who was killed on Thursday when he was struck by a vehicle. (Marshall County Tribune-Courier photo by Rachel Keller: Children mourn Benton Dog on Monday)

Marshall County Animal Shelter assistant director Kip Hutchinson said in a speech honoring Benton Dog that he "belonged to all of us" and "offered a glimpse of what it's like to live here in our community," Rachel Keller reports for the Marshall County Tribune-Courier in Benton. Hutchinson said, "Every creature on earth is born with a purpose. Perhaps Benton Dog's was to show us how united we are, how unique and special. He is gone from our streets but never from our hearts." (Best Places map)

Gloria Hollifield, of The Lake News in Calvert City, Ky.—located in Marshall County—wrote a touching tribute to Benton Dog in a story entitled, "Goodbye Old Friend." Here is an excerpt from her story:
"Mystery. He had no proper name, no proper home that provided warmth from the cold, no family that he eagerly spent time with playing catch and watching out the window for them to get home from work.

"Purpose. In his life he traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles, each one with confidence and with a purpose in his sure footed steps and soft dark eyes.

"The mystery and the purpose of the gray muzzled dog known as Benton Dog can only be imagined by residents in the community. Benton dog died last Thursday after being hit by a car. No sooner had the news spread then messages began to pour in on The Lake News Facebook page about the town legend.

"By all accounts Benton dog was a stray; he had no name; he was ‘his own dog,’ and his home for at least the past 14 years was the streets of Benton. He didn’t desire human interaction, he preferred to ‘people watch’ from the grass at the corner of Fifth and Main streets. He walked down the sidewalks, taking each step with purpose to his destination. But he was without a doubt loved by the people who could not tame his wanderlust spirit.

The dog that was loved by so many was memorialized Monday. The turnout was so large for him that the service was moved to the steps of the Courthouse, his ashes overlooking the town square, just as he did every day. The community members that came together to remember Benton Dog included business people, city and county workers, dignitaries, school children and more.

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