PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A local boy battling cancer got a very special surprise today. He got a new best friend with the help of local firefighters and Justice Rescue.
For a 4-year-old boy battling brain cancer, days don't get much better than this. Ben Buber and his big brother Nathan have just met the best friend they may ever have: an impossibly cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy named Bentley.
This "tail" began back on December 5th when a man walked into the Engine 9, Ladder 21, Medic 10 firehouse on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy carrying a stray dog who'd been roaming the streets.
The firefighters quickly took a shine to the pooch, but knew they had to find a foster family while they looked for the dog’s rightful owners.
You guessed it. Ben and his family took the dog and fell in love. Sadly, they were devastated to learn the rightful owners had indeed come forward.
"That was a tough day because I had to go up to the Buber family and pick up the dog and take it away from them,” said Fire Captain John Linker.
The firefighters were not about to let this story of puppy love end with a broken heart. They reached out to Justice Rescue and Russ Harper found them a replacement in need of a good home and a little boy to cuddle with.
"Only 11 weeks old but he's already been rescued from abuse,” said Harper. “He was actually abandoned and dropped off. So we picked him for the temperament that they generally have and because of the similar story of need. That puppy is going to need love just like these boys are going to need love."
So the firefighters organized a special surprise for Ben, Nathan and their little brother Joseph: a visit with Santa Claus himself. And right there in the kitchen of the Philly firehouse with family and firefighters crowded around a very sick little boy got a brand new best friend.
Ben patted the little dog on the head and the pup returned the attention by licking everyone within reach. The firefighters presented Ben and his brothers with a mountain of toys as well.
But before long, Ben and Nathan were back lavishing attention on their new friend. As for mom and dad? They hope a brain tumor is no match for strangers with big hearts.
"I'm just overwhelmed,” said Jessica Gans, as she wiped away tears. “I'm overwhelmed. (This means) the world. It's everything."
Ben’s brain tumor had been robbing him of his sight. But mom and dad say that situation has actually gotten a bit better. Now their son has a brand new “nurse” to help him through the rough times ahead. A nurse with four legs, big, floppy ears and a cold, wet nose.