War Horse competition entry by Sonia Leung Yan-yu

By Sonia Leung Yan-yu, 14, Marymount Secondary School

We asked our readers to write a review of a film or book about a meaningful relationship between a pet and its owner. Here is one of the entries. It has not been edited

By Sonia Leung Yan-yu, 14, Marymount Secondary School |

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In the film Benji, both the main characters, Carter and Frankie Hughes, and their pet, Benji, have a very similar life experience and this is what has made their relationship so meaningful. The film starts with Benji feeling lonely and distressed after his family is taken away from him. Meanwhile, Carter has been bullied at school. The two protagonists cross path and get entangled shiftly when Carter offers some strawberries to Benji one day after school. Benji is pleased and decides to follow him. Carter and his sister, Frankie, want to keep Benji as a pet but they know that their mother won’t let them keep him so they hide Benji in their bedroom.

Unfortunately, their mother finds that out eventually and makes them abandon the dog. Despite being abandoned, Benji doesn’t hesitate to help and runs after the children when they are kidnapped. Being a very smart dog, after a few failed attempts to rescue the children, he brings Mrs. Hughes and the police to the house where the children are. However, the kidnappers have changed their hiding place already. Benji then asks his friend who has a sensitive nose to help him track the children down. At last, Benji tries his very best to save the children from the boat even though he doesn’t know how to swim. And of course, their mother, who witnesses how Benji has saved her children’s lives is touched and finally agrees to let them keep Benji.

The relationship between Carter and Benji is really meaningful because they both love each other very much. When Carter has to part with Benji, he hates it but he must not disobey his mother. Benji is very sad but instead of getting mad at Carter, he has demonstrated great understanding and commitment in their friendship. The friendship between them is so strong that Benji doesn’t mind risking his life to rescue Carter and Frankie. Benji has decided to help them because he had lost his family and he doesn’t want the children to experience the same thing. Benji has stepped into the children’s shoes and understood that losing a family is the worst thing that could ever happen. Even the children’s mother has asked Benji to leave twice, he never gives up on the children  and finds another way to help them.

Dogs are counted as one of the most loyal animals to humans. According to an experiment done by Psychological Services of Pendleton, LLC, dogs would rather protect their owners rather than enjoying a delicious meal, they treat us whole­heartedly, but how do humans treat them? Of course, many pet owners treat their beloved pets as their best friends or even count them as part of the family and would spend a lot of time with them, however, there are some irresponsible pet owners who wanted to take up the responsibility of taking care of pets but eventually abandons them because of certain “misbehaviors” that they have done. Human beings are not as committed as pets, especially dogs, from a research done by PETA Prime the most common reasons why people gave up on taking care of their pets iare because of their destructiveness and not being able to get along with other animals at home, many owners were not able to solve these problems because of the lack of knowledge and commitment that is required.

From the film Benji, we can clearly see that once you’ve started a relationship with dogs, they would do anything for you even if you have done something bad to them. However, a small act, like Carter offering strawberries to Benji, can already win the dog’s heart. From then on, they would devote themselves to protect you and be right by your side when you feel down. When dogs bark, they are actually talking to their owners and most likely, it is easier for their owners to understand what they are to trying to say. Dogs are as smart as an average two­year­old kid and they could also understand up to 250 words and gestures, it’s a pity that dogs and human beings don’t speak the same language. Despite that, the more we observe, the more we can understand them through their tones and moods. Although I myself don’t have any pets at home, but what I do know is that each relationship between pets and their owners are very special, unique and meaningful and that nothing else ever could replace this special connection.