Saturday, March 30, 2013

The World Outside

I had the world tied to the bench in front of the office for two days before I couldn't resist the the call for a short adventure.
The girls watched Nice (the dog) while I took the world for a walk up the sidewalk to the grocery store and bought a few supplies. Yes, I could have driven the van. It was less than four miles there and back. Rolling with the world, sailing the sidewalks, the wind dictating the pace keeps my mind away from my little aches and sprains. Though it takes much more effort I always feel better with the world in tow than a simple solo stroll.
The short journey had more to offer than a walk to the store. During the walk there, a man walked across the five lane to ask my story and get a photograph. After shopping I came out from the grocery and was putting the items in my backpack when a small old man ( older than me ) walked up to shake my hand and tell me he knew about my cause. He appreciated the importance of being active to prevent , control or reverse the disease. He told me his two daughters were nurses in Tennessee, that diabetes and obesity was rampant there. We were talking about how so many children don't exercise, seem to sit around playing video games and don't know what a sidewalk is for. (exaggeration ) Then another man came up. He hadn't heard the story but had been diagnosed with diabetes just two weeks earlier. The old man and I gave him some encouragement to get active and change his diet. The old man shared that he had struggled in his life with obesity but at eighty years of age he was now trim and healthy. On my return trip to the office I met a few others who wanted to hear the story. One man called out as he stopped at an intersection asking how the dog was doing. He had read about Nice in the news and seen the television coverage. He said his dog had the same surgery on one knee, then the other knee went bad while the first was healing. Something the doctor had told me almost always happens eventually; where one knee goes, the other will sooner or later follow. I felt assured having the double knee operation for Nice was a good decision.
I felt much better upon my return. I had not used any gas, got to enjoy some good conversation and may have helped to motivate a man who seemed resigned to take his medication without altering his habits to possibly turn the tide.
The whole world is outside your door, enjoy it. Take the first steps, love yourself, start a personal movement, walk.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A force of nature

Nine days ago Nice had the surgery. The first two days he was at the UF Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville. The staff all said he was walking great compared to what they had seen. The day of his release there were a few press and UF photographers. Photo-ops were had by all while awaiting the surgeon, Dr.Hudson, who was performing an emergency surgery. We walked out in front of the hospital. Then back to the consult room with all the representatives of UF, the the reporters, their photographers. With all these people Nice was up and down more than I had ever dreamed he would. On the drive home he must have stood up and sat back down thirty times. When I had driven the nearly ninety miles back to the office he then had to say hello to the girls, lean on them too. For a dog who had his knees sawed in half and screwed back together forty hours earlier he was truly doing great. I was a wreck.
The next few days I got used to the schedule of giving him his pills and walking him for very short walks on flat pavement. I could easily keep him from pulling too hard with only two fingers on the leash.
That ended yesterday when suddenly , he began walking me.
Nice the dog is bouncing back amazingly well. His strength is coming back. When I walk him now I have to hold him back. Even with the medications he is growing more powerful each day.
I have to keep him quiet.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Follow up article, follow up costs...

Nice's three new mothers have urged to get the address for assistance at the top of the post. They are right. The Samaritan Fund, the follow ups, and continued care for Nice during these three months of recovery, then rehab is not to be forgotten.

To continue helping with UF hospital costs :
UF Small Animal Hospital, Amanda McCarthy (352)294-4633. She can assist with credit/debit transactions.

Checks for" Nice Bendl" by mail:
FVMFA (Florida Veterinary Medical Faculty Association)
Attn. :Amanda McCarthy
P.O.Box 100101,Gainesville FL, 32610

To help with supplies for Nice here at the office where we are caring for him while he heals:
World Guy Foundation
132 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, FL

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Parking lot zen

The wind has blown all day across this parking lot. The inside corner where the office sits helps create sand, oak leaf and cigarette butt tornadoes . Early this morning I swept the area outside the door and one parking space. When I had swept the last dustpan from the parking spot into the box I turned around to find a plastic straw had blown by my feet and leaves were tumbling toward my freshly clean area. After sweeping clear both these spots it was easier to wait by the side of the swirling air edie for the cigarette ends to come to me instead of chasing them around. I gathered twenty pounds of sand and debris and put it in the dumpster. When I returned from the rear of the building a man had parked his car in the space I had just lovingly swept and a three foot high whirl wind had a thousand leaves dancing and clacking between me and the office door. I could go out now, as it grows dark, and collect another few pounds from the areas I swept clean this morning.
Futility, exercise or meditation?

Learning to be Still

There comes a time one everyone's life when they need to be still. Nice (the dog) may not understand but this is his time. The bones, held together with plates and screws, must have time to bond and grow back together. The medication keeps him sleepy and deadens the pain. He has been walking so much better than he was before the surgery that I also need to remember he is fragile and must rest. Because I am here to care for him this is a great time for me to practice being still. Easier said than done.

Don't be alarmed.

Today is Diabetes Alert Day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Too much information.

Nice has had a bowel movement for the first time since his surgery.
It's a wonderful thing.

Nice wants to walk

The rule for the next month is strict bed rest except for walks to ... Do I have to say it? The problem is Nice feels better. He keeps looking to the far side of the highway, nose into the wind. When I turn to head back his disappointment is as loud as the traffic. His bones need to heal. Back to the bed my friend.

Grains of Sand

Whisps on the wind
Sliding 'gainst billions
Then back 'round
Enough grains pile
Move , build mountains.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Like none other

Nice is doing great. Dr Hudson said he is walking better than dogs who have this surgery performed on just one knee. He is walking better than before the surgery. He has been unable to flip over on his back for the last few weeks. Yesterday I had walked him to the grass, he rolled over on his back (freaked me out!) and looked as happy as he could be while he basked in the sun. (while I held his legs from touching the grass). He will be fine if I can keep him from hurting himself.
Now if he would poop...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Helping Shands

I am grateful to the dozens who have helped Nice to get his surgery and especially the administration at UF for going above and beyond in lending a hand...

"For canine crusader, knee surgery makes a world of difference
Published: Mar 22, 2013By: Sarah Carey

The “World Guy,” Erik Bendl, reunites with his dog, Nice, the day after Nice underwent knee surgery.
For Erik Bendl, known as “World Guy” for his countrywide treks pushing a canvas globe to promote diabetes awareness, the world’s weight got a little lighter after his dog, Nice, underwent knee surgery at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital on March 19. Nice, a 6-year-old blackmouth cur mix, was discharged yesterday.

“We think there’s a good chance Nice will make a full recovery over the next few months and be off to his long walks again,” said Caleb Hudson, D.V.M., a veterinary surgeon at UF who performed Nice’s 2 1/2-hour operation.

Bendl began walking with a mission — to promote diabetes awareness — after his mother, a former Kentucky alderman and state representative, died at 54 of complications from the disease. He has walked more than 6,000 miles in 41 states, in all kinds of weather, sharing his story and his motivational message — that diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence. In many cases, it can be prevented through weight loss and exercise and that people should “love themselves and take a walk.” For the past six years, Nice has walked with him, a part of his life and his mission.

Nice began limping in Florida during Bendl’s latest journey, which began in Pensacola and was to end in Tampa. After getting caught in a storm, he hunkered down in Spring Hill, where a local business owner offered shelter. Nice’s limping became worse. He saw a veterinarian in the area, who suspected a problem involving either Nice’s hip or knee joints. Bendl sought a second opinion from veterinary specialists at the University of Florida.

When Bendl arrived at UF on March 4, he wasn’t pushing the huge blue-and-green painted globe he’s usually seen with in photos. That was out in the parking lot in his weathered purple van, although he did offer to inflate the world for the staff’s amusement. With his wide smile, colorful stories and self-deprecating humor, Bendl did his best to remain positive while an orthopedic surgeon examined Nice and performed tests. But by day’s end, Bendl’s heart was heavy.

“I didn’t expect that Nice’s problems would be this severe or this expensive to deal with,” he said.

Nice was diagnosed as having torn cranial cruciate ligaments in both knees, requiring surgery to correct the problems. Two tibial plateau leveling osteotomy surgeries performed simultaneously are more economical than operating on one leg at a time, surgeons said, but the cost still was estimated at approximately $5,000. UF was able to subsidize part of the cost through its Pet Samaritan Fund, but Erik still had to come up with around $3,400 to cover the procedures and postoperative X-rays. The doctor recommended that the UF surgery team operate as soon as possible to have the best chance of a good outcome.

For a man with no credit and no regular income — Bendl supports himself and Nice through the support of friends, family members and strangers — the figure and the time frame were daunting.

Overwhelmed, Bendl headed back to Spring Hill to mull his options. The next morning, the 50-year-old Kentucky native was resolute — he’d do whatever he could to help his dog, relying on the resources at hand: his World Guy blog, his friends and his personal and public Facebook pages.

Bendl said he’s better at telling stories and encouraging people to stay healthy than he is at asking for help. But Nice’s story, as they say, had legs. Thanks to media stories and social media, within 10 days enough funds had been collected to cover Nice’s surgery and most of his postoperative tests. Bendl said he was humbled and grateful for every donation, no matter how small, but two couples in particular stood out in their generosity.

An elderly Spring Hill couple had been in the process of closing four booths they operated at the local flea market. Instead of storing their inventory, they decided to donate it all to Bendl after reading about Nice in the local paper. The proceeds gave Bendl $560 more to put toward Nice’s care.

Another couple, owners of a tattoo store in Arkansas, had met Erik and Nice on the road and read about their plight on Bendl’s World Guy blog. They gave $500, which put him over what was needed to schedule the surgery. But more than that, Bendl said, they told him that his encouragement to “get healthy” had prompted both of them to take better care of themselves. To him, that meant the most.

Bendl and Nice will be back at UF in a few weeks for follow-up X-rays to ensure the dog’s legs are healing properly. During the three-month recuperation period, the two will lay low and take things as they come, Bendl said.

One step at a time.

About the Author

Sarah Carey
Public Relations Director, College of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Carey, M.A., A.P.R., is director of public relations at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, a job she has held since 1990. Formerly, she was editor of... Read More


Thursday, March 21, 2013


Outside waiting...

Two hours until Nice is released. A call from the hospital last night and this morning helped eased my mind. He "peed" and has begun to eat. This morning he was walking well.

I have been keeping busy, "boning" chicken for him to eat during the drive back to Spring Hill. The world will ride "shotgun" and I have fashioned a lattice fence in the van so he will not try to jump up on the bed or his seat behind me. The van has gas and I even stopped to have the oil changed. There is little more to do now than wait...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Puppy dog tears

I visited Nice today at the hospital. The doctors told me he is doing well and will be releasing him tomorrow. The pain medication is helping, but his face is wet from the tears. I know it is a good thing in the long term, this surgery. That doesn't help me when I see him laying there shaved up to his ribcage and bandages over both knees. I sat with him for awhile in his glass enclosure, rubbing him until he stopped moaning because I was there. They said he will be much improved by morning. When we walk out and I see his tail wagging I will feel better, I hope.
I am digging deep to keep my spirits high. Didn't sleep well again last night. I've seen road kill from one end of this country to the other. I am surprised PTSD didn't set in from the frog carnage I rolled over in Minnesota's Land of a Thousand Lakes.
None moved me like the wet towel and soaked cheeks from my puppy dog's tears.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nice surgery

The doctor called and Nice is doing well.
I will write more about it all at a later time. Last night I don't think I had more than twenty minutes sleep at a time because of my concern about the operation. I need to shut it down for the evening. Shhh! Be very quiet...

Nice goes in for surgery.

Before the sun rose we were in the parking lot at the hospital to check Nice in for his knee surgery. When we approached the door he cowered but once in the door he was happy to see the friends he had made during his first visit. After the final consult with doctors and staff I led Nice into the back room. Everyone has assured me he will be alright and will call both when he goes into surgery and when he comes out. It may be tomorrow evening at the earliest, likely it could be Thursday before he is released .
I have inflated the world in the parking lot, glued a few edges back down, put on my essential walking gear and big boy hat and plan on walking away my anxiety around the campus area of Gainesville . It has just now rained, I am in the lobby waiting for the Sun to arrive, The Gainesville Sun, that is. Something to keep my mind off the looming cloud.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"I Love my cat."

Next to the office is an Internet Sweepstakes Cafe where many retired folks come to while-away their time. Outside the door are a few plastic chairs. I was walking Nice (the dog) when a man who was sitting there asked if I was from Australia because of my brown dog and wide brimmed hat. I responded with a "no" and told him I got the hat in Lufkin Texas and Nice (the dog) was a dog, not a "dingo". This sent the jolly, round old man into telling me his life story. He was originally from Cambridge Mass. had lived in Texas for four years while stationed in the Air Force. He reviewed his thirty year career, his years coordinating events along Route-66 for Loretta Lynn, his three night R&R from Vietnam in Australia and his cat. I stood listening for twenty minutes silent as he looked back in time.
He told me his one regret in life.
A lesson he learned from his cat. He wished he could call his deceased brother and sisters, especially his mother, and tell them everyday, "I love you", as many times as he says it to his cat.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thank you, thank you. I love you...

I am truly grateful for the support of so many who sent in money direct to the Small Animal Hospital at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Nice will be admitted Tuesday morning for his knees surgery. The doctor had stressed we should have the operation as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the knee structure. With help from UL, media coverage and people literally around the world the initial expense was raised in ten days. I have been at a loss for words to express my appreciation for everyone who got the word out and rallied to Nice's aid. With the gift over weekend and the funds sent thru this website I was feeling pretty humble. When the news came to me from UL that donations by mail and by phone on Monday and Tuesday had gotten us close enough to schedule Nice for next week I was happy, and worried I would not have the balance by next week. Wednesday night I received word from friends we had met from Louisiana to California saying they were sending help. Thursday afternoon I was told the surgery cost had almost been met, Then a generous gift from a couple who have us a ride on our last day in Hot Springs, Arkansas helped surpass the threshold for Nice's surgery and well toward the post-op check ups needed in the following months. Humble gratitude and affection doesn't come close to describe my feelings for the love, assistance and caring prayers everyone is sending.
Thank you all, I love you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nice Booked!

Due to forces beyond my ability to thank fully Nice (the dog) is scheduled for knee Surgery next Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A "My Boy" update

Nice (the dog) has been resting comfortably, mildly sedated for pain and to prevent him from further damaging his knee before surgery. He is a strong dog. There has been no word from UL Small Animal Hospital. We have collected $1620. Some have sent checks by mail, we are waiting for them to arrive. I am hopeful we can schedule soon.

To help with Nice's surgery cost contact:
UF Small Animal Hospital, Amanda McCarthy (352)294-4633. She can assist with credit/debit transactions.

Checks for" Nice Bendl" by mail:
FVMFA (Florida Veterinary Medical Faculty Association)
Attn. :Amanda McCarthy
P.O.Box 100101,Gainesville FL, 32610

One year ago I was on my way to Tennessee to help find my son who was lost in the woods. Now a year later he has completed his first semester at school. I'm a proud dad.

Monday, March 11, 2013

One in three hundred million

Saturday afternoon I was sitting outside the office when a man walked up to offer a gift for Nice. His gift, the contents of four booth spaces at the local flea market, had many colorful facets. The man, who wants to remain anonymous, had been reading the local newspaper with and article describing Nice's knees need and noticed the invitation, with the address, to come and visit Nice here at the office. The man was about to vacate the spaces at the flea market where he and his wife had traded for years. Rather than clear the space , store it's contents, he and his wife decided while having their breakfast to give it all away to benefit Nice (the dog). He talked to the management of the market, who waived the rental fees, then came to make the offer to me. He said if I was willing to man the booth and sell all I could, we could then auction whatever was remaining as a "lot" to anyone who wrote their price on a piece of paper, a sort of sealed bid. I accepted the offer and we agreed to meet at the Flea market Sunday morning.
He stayed with me all day enjoying watching those who took advantage and people who gave a fair price. I taped a sign on the world asking to "name your price". I was amazed at how people couldn't believe it and would walk away rather than offer a dollar for a twenty dollar piece. No one bid on the remaining inventory at the end of the day. I had several boxes filled with glassware and trinkets to take with me when we cleared the space. Because of this generous gift Nice is five hundred dollars closer toward the cost of his surgery .

In this world of variety, one look in this giving mans eyes, of brown with a bright blue border, I could see he was one in three hundred million.

To help with Nice's surgery cost contact:
UF Small Animal Hospital, Amanda McCarthy (352)294-4633. She can assist with credit/debit transactions.

Checks for" Nice Bendl" by mail:
FVMFA (Florida Veterinary Medical Faculty Association)
Attn. :Amanda McCarthy
P.O.Box 100101,Gainesville FL, 32610

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hopeful and Helpless

The most important thing is to help Nice (the dog) now. $900 was raised by Friday at noon after just three days. Many people are beginning to post on social medias calling for assistance, contacting news organizations. talking to people they know for ideas and avenues to help. The doctor stressed to me that time is very important. Perform the surgery within weeks to ensure the joint doesn't become worse causing more complications. With help from the growing number of good people I am filled with confidence and hope Nice will have the operation in time and have the best recovery possible.

I feel helpless and hopeful. Helpless because I don't have the luxury of time to earn the money myself. As a carpenter I have the experience to build almost anything , of brick and mortar. Building a campaign to help my companion within a few weeks, reaching out for help, is not a tool, well polished, in my tool box. (That tool box is a thousand miles away in Kentucky.) Learning to ask for help I feel like a fish that has just been dropped in a new aquarium. It may be filled with water, warm, nurturing and safe but I have to get past the shock, the fear, and learn how to swim quickly. With all the help from other fish in this planet-sized bowl I am more than hopeful we can help Nice through his time of need.

To help with Nice's surgery cost contact:
UF Small Animal Hospital, Amanda McCarthy (352)294-4633. She can assist with credit/debit transactions.

Checks for" Nice Bendl" by mail:
FVMFA (Florida Veterinary Medical Faculty Association)
Attn. :Amanda McCarthy
P.O.Box 100101,Gainesville FL, 32610

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nice's Knees Need You

Donations can be made directly to UF Small Animal Hospital for Nice's expenses by contacting Amanda McCarthy, (352)294-4633. She can assist with credit cards. Checks can be sent to Amanda's attention at P.O. Box 100101, Gainesville FL 32610. With a note that it is for Nice Bendl, make checks to FVMFA (Florida Veterinary Medical Faculty Association). The address to send help for Nice where we are staying in Spring Hill now, and when he is recovering: World Guy Foundation Inc. 132 Commercial Way. Spring Hill, Florida. 34606. Also the donate button here on worldguy works. I have had many suggestions that may help, a Nice Facebook page, and several other websites where we may find help. Bringing all these together takes time. Sending direct to the hospital seems to me the best way to insure we get Nice in for surgery. Surgery for both Nice's knees costs less than doing one knee at at time. The administration at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital has helped with the total cost. The physician, for best results, said we should have the surgery as soon as possible. We first have to raise the cost of the operation, $2400. At one month, then again at two months, he will have to return for sedated imaging and check that the bones are healing properly. Those visits will total $1000. By having both knees done Nice will have one healing period, he will be less likely to damage one because it feels better than the other and he can sooner get back on his paws. My skills on the computer are not as good as my ability to tell stories. Any help is appreciated.

Calling "All hands" for Nice

The doctor explained to me that when dogs who have one knee go bad, the other will tear eventually. An active dog, or a "couch' dog are just as likely to have this disease of the knee. Because Nice has walked as much as he has may have kept the ligament from tearing but it would have eventually happened. I am not certain when the left knee was torn. It could have been when he jumped out of the back of the bed of a pickup truck, over my head, onto hard pavement. I do know when his right legs ligament tore, he was walking across the road. I am writing this to convince myself and to inform anyone who may read this, his knees were going to develop this condition whether I walked him all day or left him behind closed doors like most dogs. The doctor explained the operation, the risks, the care during recovery, the costs. With the helping hands of Nice's friends around the world this can happen. Without help...

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Diagnosis

Nice needs surgery on both his knees. We need help to raise the funds. Initially we need $2400. Follow up ex rays, etc, will be $1000 more. We have had a long day. I have to drive back to Spring Hill now. I should eat something. For now if anyone wants to help use the donate button here on this site.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

To Gainesville in the morning

Doctor Ron came by again this morning. His treatments have helped Nice's muscles loosen up. He said when we return from Gainesville he will keep stopping by to help him get better. I am taking Nice in the morning to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.

Walk with Me

If you can't walk beside me, go it alone. A daily walk-a-thon of one. Walk and see how proud of yourself you will be. A few minutes in the morning can enrich your day. Mid-day strolls may turn drudgery into play. An evening excursion brightens a sunset. Taking the first steps is the first step.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bright Lights

The circumstances which brought us to stop in this corner of Hernando County may seem dark and stormy,but have also brought many bright lights to this journey. Crossing the road yesterday morning with Nice (the dog) he began to limp badly on his other leg. Suddenly he could hardly walk. In the few feet to the curb his leg muscles tightened an swelled. It was painful to watch when he turned back, on his own, to hobble back to the office. During the rest of the day he moved around the office very little.
When I took him out he walked only to the fence behind the Plaza then returned directly back bouncing painfully from one sore leg to the other. The storm cloud.
I still think the wind and rain, i.e. the elements, drew us here to Spring Hill for more than a momentary shelter from a storm. Of any place to have the dog go lame and need help, we could not have found a better friend than Suzanne at her Central Energy office. After she and Nice met it was obvious he found a new "step" mother and unconditional love from her. She toweled him dry from the storm when we first walked in her door and he has been under her caring wing from that moment on. A Shining light.
We watched Nice lay hurting all morning until she, Nice's "Fairy Godmother", had an idea to call "Uncle Ron", an old friend with magic hands. Ron Mack is an animal loving chiropractor who makes house calls. This chiro-puppy-practor came by the office after his full day of people-practing to pay Nice a visit. With a snap he gave Nice some relief . A chiropractic adjustment loosened the tight muscles enough that Nice was able to walk better and finally do what we were crossing the road that morning to do. Do I have to say it? "Uncle Ron" came again, just now, Saturday morning giving him more therapy. Nice is still sore, but is visibly happier. A shining ray.
I have written before of an AP reporter I had met during our last travels in Florida. We have kept in contact over these last few weeks in anticipation of having a roadside picnic when we got close to the Tampa area. Through her, I have an appointment Monday morning in Gainesville at The College of Veterinary Medicine where we will get a clearer picture of the cause for Nice's discomfort. A break in the dark clouds and a glowing sunrise.

These and many other elements have aligned, have been as bright lights shining, to keep us warm, cared for and safe here in Florida.