How Bentley Got Her Rocky Mountain High On
by david edelstein

Bio – I am a dog trainer of 32 years specializing in “at-risk” canines (i.e. former fighting dogs, bait dogs, dogs with human attack history, abused, neglected, etc.) in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. We already have an established group of resident dogs, all from such backgrounds.

The Prequel – In early 2014, we took in a Harlequin Great Dane after she had been beaten by an animal control officer and then attacked several people in Galveston, TX. “Nina” (formerly “Fine Wine”) thrived with us as a family member, a training dog (training other dogs confidence, obedience, trust, etc.), shouldering our group through Covid, and generally rising to her own great potential. Late April of 2022, we let Nina go (over the rainbow bridge) at the ripe old age of 10-1/2.

Above photo: Nina 

Modern Day – The night of Nina’s passing, we received an email of condolence from the rescue organization down in Texas. The second half of the email was about, “there’s another one!” At the time, “Bentley” (who we’ve declared Nina’s little sister) a Deaf, Fawnequin Great Dane, was 6 months old, had already been through several homes, treated horribly, and was ready to attack someone. Sold. Airfare, car rental, and hotel reservations later, I went down to Houston
to go meet Bentley and chauffer her back to Denver.



Note – As a dog trainer, I instinctually grabbed certain items for the trip, but also set up our home for a new member arriving. Our quarantine area, a new bowl, a new collar, and… I found sound activated light bars/ color coded sound scales I set up in opposing corners of our living room. The theory; Bentely will be able to See everything we can Hear. We found out later, the theory was correct.

In Houston, I met a very fearful dog. In Houston, I also met a dog DESPERATELY wanting to reach out. In dealing with such dogs under such circumstances, I used a text-book Jedi mind trick: I ignored her. Instead, I went directly to her VERY HANDSOME and social step brother:
Dax. We shared treats, we wrestled in the backyard, we walked around. The entire time, Bentley is just out of reach, but very much in tow. We finally make contact, and it was like we had known each other for years. We jumped in the car, got burgers, and headed for Denver. Beyond a handful of American Sign terms, using vibration in the floor to draw her attention across a room, and Over-pressing her training to mimic her hearing brothers and sisters behaviors… Bentley’s rehabilitation has been just like every other dog we have worked with. From order and civility in the home/ rough-housing outside, to our zero-competition during meal time clause. Bentley has not only met every new challenge, but comprehended and learned the
proper behavior/ new task very quickly.


With Every New Scratch and Dent Comes Its Quirks! Bentley is no different. At about 14 months old now, Bentley still deals with fits or “tantrums” (the canine equivalent of ptsd episodes) at very random moments and circumstances. Walking down the street very moderately and with no stimuli (that we know of, yet), Bentley may go into a full anxiety attack aimed at… nothing.

We have an escape-proof harness set up on her and we’ve learned the “talk her off the ledge”
procedure. At about 14 months old now, Bentley has ALSO: integrated finely into our group, has learned to trust and bond with me… and let me be her hearing, and has already assisted me in training AND Graduating a few of our paying trainees.

In finale’… Bentley is the text book “One mans’ trash is another mans’ treasure” and Cinderella Story. She is Gorgeous. She is Brilliant. She is Loyal courageous hilarious and loving. We look forward to a very long healthy and robust life together. I personally look forward to what new chapters I will learn from Bentley and that life together.


Check out Bentley’s Facebook page – How Bentley Got Her Rocky Mountain High On