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Adopted January 11, 2005
A few months ago, I was watching one of the weekend specials on MSNBC. This one featured a little girl and her family, all fighting for her life. At the time of the first report, Bella was about two, though she was the size of a nine-month-old toddler. Bella needed a new kidney and liver. Her father and her paternal grandmother tested as the closest match. Bella survived because of the sheer grit of her and her family. At the time I saw this program I knew that I wanted to name my next dog Bella. Little did I know that my Bella would have suffered from homelessness, starvation and several litters of puppies born in the wild before she joined our family. With the help of our vet we have guessed some of Bella's history, but she was pretty pitiful when I got her as a rescue.
Bella is teaching me that new relationships are not a continuum of old ones. Mookie was Mookie, and Bella is Bella. Somehow I thought just getting a dog as a two to three year old would make the relationship easier. This may be true in some cases, but Bella in many ways is just as much hard work as Mookie was as a small puppy. I was hoping my life would pick up happily, and I would be healed of the loss of the best friend I've ever had in my life.
I know. I know. This sounds pretty ridiculous now. Mookie had a relatively easy life with the exception of my impatience with the normal problems we all have with puppies. They chew things up. They make messes on the carpet.
Bella is a 2-year-old lab mix, so I thought I had dodged those bullets. No. She doesn't chew things up or make messes on the carpets. Her problems are much more serious. From the condition she was in when she was brought in to be put to sleep by a farmer who found her in a field, it is evident that 1) she had just had a litter of puppies 2) she was near starvation and 3) she had probably never bonded with any human being. This is all I know to this day.
I was unprepared for Bella's problems. She was and still is terrified to be out of my sight. Just driving her home for the first time, this 55 pound dog who should weigh 70 pounds jumped into my lap in fear and trembling. I had to pull over, get out of the car and put her back into the rear seat.
She is much better after four months. She no longer barks non-stop when I leave her even for ten minutes. Though she may have a brief temper-tantrum when I first leave, she settle into acceptance and plays with her toys. I know because my adult special needs son tells me.
The bonus that Bella brings to our lives is that she is bonding to my son. Mookie was my dog. Bella is our dog, and they have grown to love one another.
I am committed to Bella through her healing and adjustments just as I was to Mookie through her destructive puppy stage.