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Benny Eller just can’t understand it.
Maybe, he figured, if he told somebody at the Post about him and his dog and his cats …
Well, maybe they’d find an explanation, and he’d understand his household a little better.
After all, he’s divorced, and he doesn’t have any children.
So one big dog and goodness knows how many tiny cats are born and grow up at his place on Sherrill’s Ford Road, and then one of the grown cats will have more tiny cats, “and they’re all my dog’s family,” he says.
Benny never turns any away because he puts out food for them, and they grow up and have more tiny cats, and they’re all not only his dog’s family but his own family, whether he wants them or not and some grown cat is always having more tiny cats, and his family is always growing.
Well, not his whole family.
“Yesterday morning,” he said, “we had 19 more cats.”
They were in the dog house, and the dog was stretched out at the door and wouldn’t let them out until they’d eaten something.
And he laughs.
And what a laugh it is!
Pure and simple pleasure.
Who would ever believe that dog of his just instinctively knew she had to take care of the kittens because she also seemed to know nobody else would.
“I’ve got that dog on a 300-foot long rope from the house to my shop so she’s got plenty of room to run in.”
But she’s so busy with the cats that she doesn’t have much time to run.
“All the cats seem to be born here.” The mama? He’s seen her when he’s coming down the stairs with a banana box with blankets and little tiny babies in it.
“They used to be born in my chicken house, but there were no chickens in there, and they could’ve frozen to death.
“So sometimes I brought them in the house. One mama was so mean I got her little kitties two at a time, and I brought her in the house, put a sandbox in the bathroom and let her stay there. I could have fed them with a medicine dropper.”
Then the next morning it was raining, and he was going somewhere when “I saw that mama carrying the kittens from upstairs and hiding them away from the other daddy’s kittens. He was just an old tramp cat.
“That mama had five kittens.
“Well, the black-and-white daddy comes down here and kills four of her kitties, but that little grey kitten put up such a fight, he’s still here.
“But now I’m getting to the story I thought was kind of unusual,” he says. “This girl came here and said she saw two little white kittens about four or five inches long, and she said she couldn’t leave here when they were outside, so she put the two little white kitties in the dog house.
“And when we got back, there were two more white kitties in the dog house, and my dog was taking care of them. I carried them a plate of milk, but every time, those cats would come back running towards the dog …
“My dog is a big, Lab husky type, one of the Heinz dogs with 10 varieties in her. I’ve had her for seven years, and she does what she’s supposed to do. She’s a guard. She knows the right thing to do.
“And there were two more baby kitties in the dog house, but my dog knew what to do.
“My dog lies down in front of the dog house, and they run back in the dog house.
“My dog is seven years old and weighs about 45 to 50 pounds.”
It’s almost funny, he says, laughing a big man’s hearty laugh that goes on for a while.
“A great big old dog taking care of four little kitties or when they get out of her food because they will, she’ll get them some more.”
And he laughs again.
“They know me, too. One of the females had six in the dry food bowl.”
And the dog told the mama what to do.
“C’mon now, April,” he tells her. “Get in the house.”
And so did her babies.
They don’t have to stay there, but they always stay in the house at night, and that big old dog stretches out on the ground at the door so they can’t get out, and they’re doing great.
“They’re just doing great!”
At this moment all the kittens are doing what they want to do. One is eating. Another has crawled up on that big husky guard dog and is holding on tight to her short hair while she snoozes.
“They’re all doing great,” Benny Eller says happily.
But if anyone wants one, he won’t cry. He knows more kitties will come from the same place these came from and his husky guard dog will take care of them just like he’s doing now with those who got here first.
Contact Rose Post at 704-797-4251 or rpost@salisburypost.com.

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