Some people will never understand the bond between a man and their dog. I never did. With our first few dogs, I saw them as work. More of a chore. Between potty teaching and walking. They were something more to take care of. The dogs were close to my husband. I was someone who fed them and occasionally petted them. Then along came Bella and she changed everything about me.
I wanted a small dog. One that might lay on my lap or be next to me. I remember the day I went to the breeder’s house. She said the pups were nothing but stupid mutts. She only believes and breeds purebreds. I asked, “Then what happened?” She said, my daughter brought over her Cocker spaniel that was in heat and my miniature male Aussie got her. Here we are with all these pups.
I went over to the ring of pups. Feeling bad for them that the breeder wasn’t so nice because they weren’t purebreds. That never mattered to me. I’ve had purebreds and mutts before. All are good dogs. I knelt down and this beautiful little pup ran up to me. I started petting her. Then she tried to jump up and get to me. She kept trying. I was petting them all but this one was persistent. I picked her up. She rolled up in my arms and looked me in the face. She gave me a small kiss on the arm and then dozed off to sleep in my arms. So content and happy to be with me. With those big floppy ears and sky-blue eyes, I felt my heart-melting. Her colors were simply stunning being a blue-merle, my favorite color. I could see the best of both dogs in her. The colors of the mini Aussie with the blue eyes, characteristic of them. Then the Cocker spaniel with her long floppy ears and snout as well as short tail. I picked her with no hesitation. I said, “You look like a little princess and you’re spunky. I will name you Bella.” I was thinking of Bella from Beauty and the Beast.
Bella was a present for my husband because our older dog would be passing soon. He was a full Australian shepherd purebred named Texas Cowboy (Tex for short). We had agreed on no more large dogs for health reasons. Tex had knocked me down a few times in his younger days which did not help with my knees. I saw this ad on mini Aussie/ cocker spaniel pups and the pictures of them. I thought one of them would be perfect. Maybe he or she could learn some from Texas before he was gone. Funny, Bella loved DJ (husband) but she was more tentative to me. She chose me. I don’t know if it was because I was home with her or why she chose me. She would constantly run to me. I would say, “Go see daddy.” She would but would quickly come running back to me.
At first, I kind of ignored her. Bella was persistent and stubborn. She kept trying and coming to me. When I ignore her, she would climb into my lap. She would paw me with her tiny paw. She would kiss me. Anything she could do to get attention. Once I petted her, I would try to stop. If she didn’t want me to stop, she would grab my hand ever so softly in her mouth and put my hand on her belly. She was small, fluffy, and cute. Her eyes would look into mine and I felt something I cannot explain. I tried putting her in a kennel at night. Bella would not have anything to do with it. She cried and cried. I figured after a few nights she would stop. She was bull-headed. After 4 nights, my husband said, “She just wants to be with us.” I said, “Will try one night.” That was all it took. She got up on the bed and got in-between my legs on the bed. She lay-ed her head on my leg and was fast to sleep. I felt uncomfortable and I could barely move. If she wasn’t curled up in my legs, she would be in my arms. She cuddled as close as she could to me. If not, she cried. Yes, she cried.
Then Bella started something new. Before laying down, she had to give me goodnight kisses before cuddling up on me. She started to win over my heart. There was nothing I could do without her. She chose me. She followed me everywhere I went inside and outside of the house. I decided she was small and needed a bath. In the shower, she went with me. She walked around the bottom of the tub. I picked her up in my arms to rinse her off. She kissed me and looked at me with those eyes. Curling up in my arms and completely satisfied. This became routine and was easy while she was small but Bella grew up. I had to teach her to not jump in the shower with me but to jump in for a bath instead. So, when I was in the shower she lay-ed on the bathroom rug and waited for me to get out.
When I cleaned animals, she was right by me and curiously watched me. When I cooked, she lay-ed on the kitchen floor near me. When I did laundry in the bedroom, she lay-ed on the bed and watched me. No matter what I did, Bella was there. I can’t go to the bathroom without her. She doesn’t care where we are as long as she is by me, period. Bella wants to be with me at all times. If I go into a room and don’t let her in, she runs from door to door to watch my every move. She cries and hollows a little. She jumps up and down at the gate of the door. Bella is my shadow! I have to be careful not to step on her because she is always right there or at my feet behind me following.
Not only does she follow me around, and watch my every move, she looks for chances to make me laugh or smile. If I look at her, she stares at me with intensity. Trying to see what I’m feeling and will begin to wiggle her butt since she has a nub with no tail. When she does, I can’t help but smile and giggle at her. Then she comes running-up, wiggling even harder, almost doing side steps and wiggles, until I laugh and pet her. I can’t help but laugh and giggle at her each time she does this. I think she knows it. This is what I believe she thinks, “You’re laughing now. So, you just want to pet me. I know you do. I made you smile. See!” Yup, I looked at her so I must want to pet her. Laugh out loud. Those sky-blue eyes as big as saucers, big ears swaying back and forth, and wiggly butt bouncing all around, make me smile and laugh every single time without fail. I can’t keep a straight face when I look at her.
I started to teach her all kinds of tricks and how to walk with me on a leash. Without a leash in the backyard. Bella is a shy little girl who is glued to my hip. She anticipates my every move. She follows on and off-leash. When I sit on the computer or write, she is on her little bed next to me. She gets up here and there to give me kisses and let me know she is here. I cannot work due to my numerous health conditions and Bella quickly became my best friend.
Our bond grew so close that she became my service dog for medical problems. Bella is extremely smart and picks up anything not normal about my body. She seems to have this extra sense about her where she picks up that something is not right with me. I started having issues with passing out and not knowing why. I was on lots of medications, at one point, over 40 medications! Some were causing me to have seizures. I had problems with my thyroid as well which was causing me to pass out and not be able to lose weight. I started going to all kinds of doctors and having many appointments. I was scared. Bella would not leave me. I noticed something strange. Bella began pawing me, grabbing me by my shirt or pants and would pull. She wanted me to lay down. She knew an attack was coming. I might pass out or have a seizure. Yes, Bella was protecting me!
My health and problems only increased my depression. My anxiety increased and I started having bad panic attacks. I was having increased night terrors from my past. I would wake up crying or screaming from terrible trauma I endured as a child. Being home, not being able to work, feeling like a failure increased these feelings. Bella would wake me up, lay on my chest until I calmed down, and kiss me. She didn’t get off until I woke up and calmed down. She could tell by my heartbeat and the way I was breathing. I worked on making her into my service dog. I was afraid of going out and driving by myself in fear of passing out behind the wheel. Or having a panic attack because something reminded me of my past. Yes, Bella was there. She helped me through so much. I can’t even tell you. She would lay on the seat next to me in the car. Give me countless kisses when needed. Grab my arm if something was going to happen. I would pull over. Then, she would kiss me until I woke up. I carried snacks on me which seemed to help.
I started going to counseling and seeing a psychiatrist. Bella went with me everywhere I went. My husband has to work. He works very long hours and I’m alone a lot. With Bella by my side, I felt confident and wasn’t afraid. I had someone with me. No, it wasn’t the same as a human but she is the next best thing. She knows what to do. Bella has become my child and my family. She is important to me beyond anything you could ever comprehend. I know I saved her from bad conditions but she has saved me over and over! Too many times to even count. She will not leave my side. Service with complete devotion.
I became very suicidal as my health was declining. I fell into despair. Due to my past, things that were happening, and my health, I began cutting myself. I wanted to die. Bella would step in many times and wouldn’t let me hurt myself. She would push my hand away from myself. She would use the weight of her body. She was persistent. Bella would kiss me as if to say, “I love you, mom. Don’t do this.” She wouldn’t stop until I put things down and began petting her. She kissed my tears from my face ever so gently. She shows me unconditional love that I couldn’t ask for. I don’t know how many times she has saved me. How many times she kept me from taking my own life. Bella was a gift from God. I can tell you that for sure. God has used her in my life. At times, she saved my heart.
Bella helps me to smile every day. She is there for me in my darkest moments with her unconditional love and attention. I couldn’t ask for a better friend or companion to spend my day with. She only wants to help me. There is no judgment with her only love. I need Bella more than you can comprehend or understand. The strange part is Bella seems to need me just as much. Her full attention is on me. It doesn’t matter where we are or who is around. Bella is the type of dog who would never give up waiting for me if I were gone. She would never stop looking for me. Completely loyal and devoted without a doubt. She needs me. She completely obeys and listens to me. So smart, she learns so fast. Bella goes shopping with me. Where ever I go, Bella goes. She wants to please me.
One look and my heart is melted. I could never push her away for she has won every part of my heart. I think this must be how God loves me. The way I love her, agape love. She could never do anything that would upset me. Nothing I could never forgive her for. I love her no matter what. I could never be angry with her. The only time a dog breaks your heart is when they cross the rainbow bridge.
Bella is everything to me. My daughter, my family, my best friend, companion, service dog, and beloved. I love her to death. She brings me great pride and joy each day. Without her, my life would be so boring, alone, and dreadful. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. She makes my day. My heart is wrapped around her paw. She has taught me a pure love that is above herself. My faithful sidekick. Her love and devotion are simply beautiful. Something I’ve never known before. Maybe that is why the name of a dog is God spelled out backward. One day I was fishing with her. A strange man tried to sneak upon us. I don’t know what he wanted or his intentions. Bella, although small (25lbs), got in-between me and this guy. I trust her. On this occasion, she was growling and showing her teeth. The hair on her back was standing up. The guy said, “I think I should back away.” I have never saw her do this. I said, “I would recommend it because I don’t know what she will do.” I trusted her judgment that he had bad intentions and she lay-ed her life down to save mine.
Two years ago, Bella became very sick. We went through hell together. I finally gave up cutting myself with the help of God. I repented of my sins, was baptized, and filled with the Spirit. I overcame this part of my life. Now I was faced with a greater challenge. I wasn’t ready to give up her life. She was only 4 years old. She had kidney and bowel problems. We went back and forth to the vet and a specialist. Did all kinds of tests. I spent over $9,000 to save her. I prayed and cried. Yes, many would not go this far. I put it on my charge card. Her life was well worth it to me. My love for her. How she rescued me. Now was my time to rescue her. I was scared to death. I felt I needed her in my life. My husband was behind me and said, “Do what it takes.” I prayed more. I took her to church and had others pray over her. One day, I was on the floor crying. She was in my arms kissing me. She didn’t understand why I was crying. While she was in my arms, I cried out to the Lord. I said, “Lord, you know how much I love her. You understand. Please help me keep her. I know she was a present from you. I don’t take your love for granted. I need your help. I am your child. I beg you, please help me with Bella. She brings me joy.” I couldn’t stop the tears. I heard a small still voice saying, “I will help her get better. I love you. I know how much she means to you. I am here.”
I found out that Bella had to be on special diets. She cannot have a lot of salt in her diet. I had to watch her food and treats. She has to be on a kidney diet. I make her homemade treats that won’t hurt her. This is no problem; I love her without limit. She needs to stay on this diet. It has become a staple now and Bella is still with me. She turned 6 years old this year. I couldn’t be happier. Bella helped me see the love of God. I imagine the kind of love that God only knows. They are both here for me at every moment. I am never alone. Both are by me day and night. Both God and Bella have seen my worst days and are still here with me.
Bella has helped bring me closer to God in many ways. She has gone to church with me and Bible study. I get a small vision of how much God loves me through her. How much God loves seeing me. How happy he is to hear from me. God accepts me into his loving arms. He loves me more than Bella loves me, more than I can comprehend. I can’t thank God or Bella enough for all they have done for me. Our bond is un-explained and cannot be broken on either basis.
Last year, I had to do bankruptcy due to financial hardship but it doesn’t matter to me. I am starting over. I still have God, my husband, a home, and my Bella. I will recover. My health is more under control although not great yet I have support. I am not alone.
I continue to work on my mental health and overall health. I am much better than I used to be. She has been here every step of the way. She goes with me to counseling. I haven’t cut myself in over a year and a half. I am not as suicidal anymore. I can control it with God’s help. I know Bella needs me and so does my husband, family, and friends. God wants me here. He still has plans for me. He saved me.
The unconditional love I give Bella, she gives it back three times as much. It’s so worth it. Yes, I love my Bella more than I do some people. My hope is you have a better understanding of why some people love their dogs so much. Be more compassionate to people and love them unconditionally. More understanding of their feelings. At times, I felt like Bella was all I had. No one will ever know just how much I love her. No one but God. We continue to rescue one another.