One of the things I am most grateful for with respect to my relationship with Valerie was that I got to keep Bella. Bella belonged to Valerie and her ex, rescued from a death row shelter in California. She came to them when she was still a puppy. When they split up, Valerie kept Lucy and Bella went to her ex. When her ex and her partner split last year, she needed to find a home for Bella, temporarily. We took her in the weekend Valerie moved to Seattle and it was pretty clear right away that she and Lucy hated one another. She was wary of me at the start, but after the move and as we settled in, Bella and I became fast friends. I threw her ball for her, I played with her toys and snuggled up with her. She was food aggressive, likely from being starved at some point in her life, and attacked Gus a couple times when he went too near her dish while she was eating. She would growl if he or anyone came up to her while she had a treat of any kind. But slowly I fell in love with the little bundle of energy.
We tried to find her a home, but the one real possibility fell through when she didn’t get along with the couple’s other dog. By that time I was happy she was staying longer. I worried about her aggressiveness, but it had lessened over several months. Valerie started to really dislike Bella and vowed that we could not keep her. She made Valerie too anxious with how much she barked and ran and wanted to play and how Lucy growled at her every time she would come near. They had a few fights because Bella does not back down. She’s a scrapper.
When Valerie left, one of the first things that I said was that I was keeping Bella. She was clearly my dog by then and we had bonded. I couldn’t let her be dumped at a shelter and have her life disrupted anymore. She’d seen enough chaos and stress in her short five years that I knew she was where she needed to be. My parents had fallen in love with her, Gus was warming up and she clearly had connected with me. She’s my tiny stalker, going wherever I go, following behind.
Bella has made so many improvements in the last three months. Her anxiety is so far below what it was, it almost feels like a miracle. She has been less cautious at the dog park – even engaging with dogs she doesn’t know which she didn’t do in the first months. The day Valerie left, she crawled up on my chest and licked my face ferociously. She had never done that before, but she has done it nearly every day since.
Bella is always joyful, always playful and I don’t think she ever feels really tired. I think she only sleeps because and when everyone else is. This is also the only time i’m able to get a decent photo of her because when she is awake she is always on the go.
There is a sweetness in Bella that I can’t really find a way to explain…it almost feels like gratitude. My parents adore her and my mom often comments that it seems that she just feels so grateful to be loved unconditionally. And I do love her in all her craziness. Everyone who met her when she got here and then sees her now comments on how different she is. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with her, and I would question the sanity of anyone who doesn’t. She loves to chase a ball and shred her toys (but not her mustache because that one is special. It’s the one toy she very carefully splays with every day). Every week we go to my parents house and about half-way there she knows where we are going and starts to cry in excitement. When we arrive, she follows Gus as he blows past whomever opens the door and tears into the kitchen where they know there will be two bowls of treats waiting for them. After they eat, Bella runs straight into the family room where they keep a shoe box full of toys and balls just for her. She cries until we pour them onto the floor so she can pick and choose her favorites for the night. She bounds from person to person, waiting for someone to throw her ball. She squeaks the shit out of anything that she can and it will sometimes go on for at least a half-hour before I can’t take it anymore and I tell her BELLA THAT’S ENOUGH. And, strangely, that’s about what it takes to get her to stop for a while . She has become a pretty good listener.
She loves to go anywhere. She loves trips in the car, though she runs around like batshit crazy the entire ride. Last week my dad drove about ten blocks with her in the car and when he got out, he laughed and I said…I TOLD YOU SHE WAS NUTS.
Bella not only loves to go places, but she also loves to come home. She bounds up the stair and leaps to the door handle. Her tail wags furiously and as soon as I open the door she tears down the hallway to find a toy. Gus usually hangs back and rolls his eyes like…THAT BITCH IS CRAY. But I love that she knows she has found her Forever Home with Gus and I, and how furiously protectve she is of it. She watches through the window on and off during the days and nights, barking at anyone who dares come too close. My little watch dog. I love her.
Bella loves her tiny tennis ball, running, squeaking, eating, squeaking, running, licking my face, the vacuum, squeaking and having her face kissed and tummy rubbed first thing in the morning.
Bella does not like dogs that sniff her booty, Lucy, being left at home, cold floors and zucchini.
When I asked her what she wanted to say to the Internet, she told me this: