I sit in front of a blank screen wondering where to begin to describe the story of my dear Bella and how much I loved her. “Oh, come on” some people who don’t understand would say, “she was just a dog.” But that’s not true. She was my faithful companion, comical sidekick, a full-of-love bunny who spent most of her 12 years keeping me company and moving me forward during a time of transitioning from a full, happy family household to a divorced empty nester living on a shoestring budget of nothing. She gave me purpose, kept me well-exercised and chased the crushing blows of loneliness away with her steadfast companionship and funny antics. To know she was there and needed me, too, made all the difference in the world to me because with her I never felt alone.
Bella came to me as a rambunctious, border-line wild, 14-week-old Labrador retriever puppy. I adopted her from a family who claimed they became “allergic” to her and had to get rid of her. When I went to pick her up, she was literally bouncing off the walls from one end of the room to the other. Her name at the time, “Lightening,” was telling. She chewed the furniture, ripped up kitchen linoleum, broke baby gates, and generally drove me to the point of exhaustion. She wasn’t a cuddly dog, but I was never out of her sight, and when I was upset, she would sit by my side and look up at me as she leaned on my legs.
A definite water dog, if I said, “bath” she ran and jumped in the tub. She loved presents at Christmas and her birthday. She loved kids and dogs and cats and snow and swimming. She didn’t mind getting dressed up on Halloween. And she LOVED to eat. A refrigerator door couldn’t open or a wrapper crinkle without her coming running. She moved with me twice and transitioned from a great big fenced in yard to having to walk down the street to do her business. I had always hoped to own another home with a yard for Bella, but that wasn’t to be the case after all.
In her later years, as she developed diabetes along with diminishing eyesight and then arthritis, she never lost her spirit. She was always willing to go wherever I wanted, and of course, was always by my side. Quick with a kiss. A foodie extraordinaire.
The house is eerily quiet now, and Lucy, my cat, looks for her constantly. They were an odd couple. Sometimes I awake in the middle of the night and listen for her breathing, which was heavy towards the end. I wake up in the morning and for a split second think I must get up and walk Bella. Then I remember. No, life is not the same without her. No sharing my lunch and dinner. No daily walks to the park. No sweet company to chase away the blues. Twelve years is a good, long life for a dog, but it wasn’t long enough for me.
I know in time I’ll get stronger, and sorry this is so sad. But paying homage to the pets I have loved is closure for me. She is missed like crazy, not only by me but all my family and friends who knew her well since she traveled everywhere with me. Everybody loved sweet Bella.
So, see you in heaven, Belly Jelly (kiss a felly). Have fun with all of our puppies and kitties up there. I love you with all of my heart. Thank you for loving me.
BELLA September 26, 2007 – November 5, 2019