My Dog, My Friend

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.

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18 Responses to My Dog, My Friend

  1. Sophie,
    Did you have to make me cry this morn, even if they were happy tears.

  2. J says:

    Your so bad, you made me cry – my spaniel is called Bella too. :o)

  3. StacieD says:

    Bella is gorgeous. That was a great story.

  4. Chills and tears over here. Love your story. You are a good woman. Lucky Bella – beautiful Bella!

    • Sophie Oak says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! I can’t tell you how happy I am with my Bella. She’s a momma’s dog. She follows me around and sleeps close to me when I’m writing.

  5. Diane Sallans says:

    having trouble seeing right now (tears are floating across my eyes). You, your husband and Bella have already taught your children an excellent lesson – compassion. This is why I believe in fate & that things happen the way they should. Tummy rubs to Bella!

  6. wow you least took one on and now it going to be some problem but they are going to good
    and you have her for long time she just need tlc i did the same thing but my dog is pom
    and he just turn 4 he was filthy and i did not now what was wrong with him but he is my service dog now and he by my side all the time i have to do his teeth every couple year but he stubborn

  7. Eileen says:

    I am so glad that I am reading this at home and not at work this morning because you made me cry. I love the fact that you made it a family discussion.

  8. Sophie Oak says:

    Thanks, Eileen! t started as a simple mission to get a dog and it became something that we all have learned from.

  9. Randi Alexander says:

    Oh, sweet Bella! You’re so lucky. We had to put our girl down a couple years ago. We got her at the shelter as a 9 month old and she’d been abused. We vowed to give her way too much love every day of her life. She lived 10 years, and was like one of our children. We still miss her like crazy. I’m glad your Bella is happy and healthy.

  10. Bridget says:

    My Lexilou is a rescue also! We love her to pieces.

    Thank you for Bella’s story.

  11. Yes, I had tears in my eyes. I love a HEA. Glad that you rescued the dog. We have done that several times, altho not from a pound. My husband and a friend went to have a snowmobile worked on. The guy had a miniture collie. She looked like Lassie. The man was mean to her and she looked at my hubby with sad eyes. He put her in the pickup and told the man he’d have to go through him to get the dog back, and we had a new dog. Her name was Brown and we had her when my son was little. Best dog to have around a baby. She protected him for several years, before we had to put her down. Thanks for the memories Sophie.


  12. Larissa Lyons says:

    What a beautiful post, Sophie! I hope Bella and your family have many wonderful years together. 🙂 Larissa

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