Bella looking intently for her treats. In memoriam 6/15/20.

I was all set to write my usual journal entry when tragedy struck. My usual weekly blah-blah about what I’ve accomplished seems unimportant at the moment. I want to pay tribute to a lovable critter that changed both mine and my husband’s life. Her name was Bella. She was a cross between a dachshund and an Australian shepherd and as unique as her heritage was.

She was full of boundless energy, knew what she wanted and boldly, yet gently, asked for it, was very demure and painfully shy. Every day, when I went out to work in the garden, she was there waiting for her morning treats and tummy scritches. She would gladly perform several “tricks” I’d taught her in order to get as many treats as possible. After our little morning ritual, I would tell her, “I have to garden now,” and she would take off on her morning constitutional. Of course, she would show up every 20 minutes or so in order to get more pets, scritches, or treats. She always did it in the most gentle way, so you wanted to take a break and spend even a few more minutes with her.

Over the years we became her second home. She slept under our porch during the day, chased the squirrels, rabbits, and nighttime critters from our property. She slept under the car in the summer so that we couldn’t leave without giving her at least a few pets. She in essence became like our own dog.

Last week when I was gardening one morning she didn’t show up. I was rounding the corner of the house and saw her lying under the autumn olive, but she didn’t rush up to greet me like usual. I knelt down and she was barely able to walk over to me. I called my husband and we did energy work on her for around a half-hour, at which time she seemed considerably better. I felt wary but she eventually went off for her morning constitutional, not quite as lively as usual, but I was hopeful it was just a passing upset stomach.

For two days I didn’t see her at all, which is almost unheard of. I told my husband I was very worried, that deep knowing worry, so we contacted the owner who told us she had not seen her for three days. It was getting dark by the time we heard back so I told her I would go look for Bella if she didn’t show up for breakfast. Sadly, when I went out to find her I found she had gone over the rainbow bridge under our porch, her safe haven.

She will be missed more than I can express because she wasn’t an old dog, she was just 8. We have no idea what killed her and never will as she has already been laid to rest.

I will miss seeing her jauntily crossing our property on her little path (she used it so regularly the grass didn’t grow there) on her way to her daily adventures. I will miss her holding her paw up asking me for pit scritches (her favorite). I will miss giving her treats and having her interruptions when I’m working in the garden giving me momentary relief from the tedium of weeding. I will miss her sweet little face looking at me with smiles and her tail wagging happily. I will miss everything about this little critter who I didn’t even own, but she certainly owned me.

So, Bella, rest in peace, knowing that you have taught us invaluable lessons about loving life, living in the moment, demanding what you want in a gentle way, and bringing joy to those around you. I hope that your new home holds abundant treats, stitches, and tossed sticks to keep your eyes sparkling and your tail wagging.

I only wish I could have been holding her in my arms when she passed.

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