So this isn’t about cowboys, but it is about the cowboy spirit. I like to think about it as the will to survive and thrive under the harshest of circumstances – to have compassion and love for the creatures we watch after.
So I thought I would share the story of my Bella.
I’ve always had dogs. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have one. We had two as kids, both long lived and then my sweet Chihuahua lived for a little over the first fourteen years of our marriage. But Lola, my pug, died suddenly at five years. It was August and ridiculously hot. She hadn’t been outside for long, but she was running and she collapsed and died right there in our yard. I was devastated. My husband and I talked to two different vets because we couldn’t understand it. She was healthy. She was young. She hadn’t been outside for long. Both of them patted our shoulders and said she wasn’t the first to die from heat and she wouldn’t be the last.
It took me six months to think about another dog and it was really only my daughter who got me moving. She told me one day in December that she missed having a dog. So I made the decision that this time I wouldn’t get a puppy. This time I would rescue a dog in honor of Lola.
So I searched the net. I found the picture of a smiling, happy, ridiculously fat girl named Bella. She was a German Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog mix. In the picture, she was a fat dog running across a field. The caption claimed that she was a smart sweet dog who needed to drop a few pounds.
Yeah, I totally connected with Bella.
So we called a few days after Christmas and were surprised to find out that she was still available. The hubby and I put all three kids in the minivan and we went off with high hopes of meeting our new dog.
The love was instant. The prognosis sucked. Bella captured our hearts and then we found out the real story behind her journey to Fort Worth Humane Society.
Bella was one of sixty dogs rescued from a hoarder. When she was found, she had several masses on her body. She couldn’t walk well. She was horribly overweight. I believe she had been abused. She can get terribly frightened by certain motions. She had been at the shelter for eight months and soon there would be no more reprieves. Bella would be put down because she more than likely had cancer.
And I loved her. And I love my husband because he immediately said – yeah, we should save her.
So we sat the kids down and talked to them. I explained that if we took this dog, the likelihood of her not being with us in a year was very high. My three year old just nodded and then tried to ride the poor dog, but my older kids got quiet.
Mom, my son said, wouldn’t it be better to try than to leave her here?
Mom, my daughter said, any time we would have would be good for her and us.
We went home with Bella that day.
Six weeks later, she’s been through her first round of surgery and the vet was shocked. Bella doesn’t have cancer. Bella has a dermatological issue that won’t affect her quality of life as long as we take care of it. She still has two masses to remove, but that was the big one. Bella’s prognosis is excellent and my heart is full again.
I won’t ever have another puppy. I will take care of my darling dogs until the time they are called from me and then I will find another who needs me. Rescue a dog if you can. Rescue a cat. I found when I did, what I really rescued was me.