Banjo’s Heart


My husband Lars had never had a dog of his own. When he decided that he was ready, we went to the Humane Society to pick out his first dog. Lars picked Banjo, a wild, completely uncontrollable boy who had been at the Humane Society on and off since the age of 5 weeks. He was now a 1 1/2 year old and had been returned 4 times in that year and a half. His time was running out. Banjo was SO strong. He hated being restrained. Petting was too much sensory input for him. He was WILD. I was dubious, but I had promised Lars that he could make the decision, so off we went.

We soon discovered that if we exercised Banjo to the point of near exhaustion, we could actually communicate with him and touch him. He loved to swim, so we took him swimming at the park as often as possible. We knew that he had a good heart. We decided that the reason Banjo had had such a rough time in life was that he was very misunderstood. He didn’t MEAN to break a Humane Society Volunteer’s thumb. He didn’t MEAN to almost break my nose when I hugged him. He was just really excited about life and living and had no control over his boundless frenetic energy. We knew that one day he would show us what a good heart he really had.

About six months after we got Banjo, we were at King County’s Marymoor Park off lead dog area. We were walking along the water and it was pretty crowded. All of a sudden Banjo RAN up to a woman, prostrated himself at her feet screaming and carrying on. She looked down at the writhing black and tan fool at her feet and said, “BANJO?! Is that BANJO?!”


It turned out that this woman was a Humane Society volunteer. She had come, on a number of occasions, to the Humane Society to take Banjo for a walk during his long stay there. It was apparently kindness that meant a great deal to him. He never forgot her. He picked her out out of a huge crowd of people and remembered her, a full half of a year later.

Banjo reminded me of something that day. We may not always know it, but we touch the lives around us with every action that we take. You may not think that you are having a big impact on the world around you. Share your kindness anyway. One day, when you least expect it, someone will remember… and he will find a way to say Thank You.

Banjo did.