NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — It was a year and a half ago that Gary Keck found Ben on the side of Interstate 80 near Overton.
Ben, a 6-year-old Great Pyrenees, is now a therapy dog in Keck’s counseling offices in North Platte and Grand Island. The week before Christmas, Ben wore an elf costume to greet Keck’s clients.
“The kids love him,” Keck said.
The first time he took Ben into the office, Keck said, a client was crying after being diagnosed with cancer. Ben walked over to the woman, climbed onto the couch next to her and put his head in her lap.
“I just knew he was going to be a natural therapy dog,” Keck said.
When Keck first saw Ben along the roadway, he was headed back to his office in Grand Island. Ben was lost in the snow with his father and brother. A nearby farm family had reported the three dogs missing three days before.
Of the three, Ben was the only one who came over to Keck, sat down and put his paw on him.
“I picked him up,” Keck said, but the other two ran off into the snow.
He contacted the family. Ben’s father and brother had made it back to the farm.
The family had the three dogs to protect a herd of goats from predators, but had since gotten rid of the goats. The other two were picking on Ben, they said, and they were trying to find him a new home.