On September 24th, 2004, a litter of mixed pups was born at the Little Waif Shelter in Woodinville. I was called up about 2 weeks after they were born and told a little bit about them. I had been in communication with the lady that ran the shelter for a few weeks now and had been eagerly waiting for this call to come in. The mother of the pups had been abandoned and appeared to be a German Shepard mix. After seeing the puppies they concluded that they would be declared Labrador and German Shepard mix. There were 6 in the litter and all were healthy. I was going to be the first potential parent to meet the pups and I would get to select which one I wanted first.
I met them all a few weeks later for the first time. They were all of course, completely adorable and I had never before been so close to so many baby pups. I sat in the pen with them all for a while but I knew before too long which one was mine. She was the most beautiful of the bunch (hence her name) and she was both playful and independent. She also was the only dog that didn’t whine when you put her down. Something that I loved at the time and also something that she would be notorious for later.
Just before Thanksgiving I was able to pick her up. I was over the moon excited and remember driving there to get her and forgetting to bring a leash with me. I was forced to carry her to and from the shelter and my apartment and we got a lot of attention. She was so cute! The first few months were rough living in an apartment. We lived over the water and didn’t have much of a yard, plus, to get out you had to walk all the way around the first floor and back around the building to get to any grass. With a puppy that’s potty training, I soon decided it wasn’t going to work. I found myself moving to accommodate my dog and it started a shift in my life. I was taking care of someone other than myself, something that depended on me. I was finally growing up. I was 24.
On Thursday of last week she left us. She died at home. We are unsure as to the cause but believe that she ate and chocked on something that was not edible.
She was a great dog. Aside from the shedding and the peeing (yes both very annoying), she was awesome. She cleaned up anything that was dropped on the floor. She was gentle and patient with the kids. She always allowed poking, pulling and hitting as forms of endearment from the kids. She greeted you with enthusiasm EVERY time you walked in the door. If you were in the bathroom a long time you sometimes got the same greeting. She really didn’t require much. She just loved to hang out and sleep near you. She was annoyingly hyper when meeting someone, but after 10 minutes or less she was fine. She loved to play games, and by play, I mean destroy. We called her the fun hater because she wanted so desperately to play games with you that she would jump all over like a mad dog, squeaking and acting a fool. She always barked to let you know someone was coming but she never went overboard unless something was actually wrong. I always felt safe when Michael was away knowing that Bella was such a great watch dog. She was a lover and all she really ever wanted was a bite of whatever you were eating and to be near you. As near to you as you would allow her to be.
I am stunned at how much I miss her and how empty the house feels without her soft round self asleep on the rug. With her passing goes a chunk of my life, 1/3 of it actually. She watched me grow up, helped me too. She was by my side through 8 moves, countless roommates, boyfriends and jobs. She literally witnessed me fall in love with my husband. She came over to Michael’s apartment with me nearly every time I was there. She loved to sit by his sliding glass door and look out onto the backside of Queen Anne and watch the comings and goings of the Puget Sound. She rarely moved from her spot once she got settled.
In this pain is a sort of waiting for her; to hear her scratch at the back door. Remind me that I need to let her back inside with us all. I know she isn’t coming home again, it hasn’t completely set in though. I hear the neighbors dog bark and I instinctively want to call out, “Quiet, Bella.” I woke up this morning and thought, I wonder if Michael has fed the dog yet.
No pets are not humans; but they give and take love, and they are loyal friends. R.I.P. Bella. You were my first girl and I will never forget you.
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”
– Vicki Harrison