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Updated on June 5, 2011

Ironically, I just received an email entitled 'God spelled backward is Dog'

This is a difficult writing for me. Although my Bella Firenza was my Lhasa Apso, she was also my family and my purpose. It was me and her. So please understand if I put her in the category of Family and Parenting opposed to Pet/Animal, because Bella, like family, was always there for me.

A car accident shortly after I relocated to NJ caused the painful reality that my little diva doggie needed to go with another family. This was one of the hardest consequences faced while me and Bella were guests in a family home......although grateful, I was never ready to have my Bella rehomed yet have faith that she made a happy transition.....and is given all the love she gave me. Faith I have! This is not being shared for empathy or sympathy, this is simply a story of faith and love.

My Bella Firenza - Eight Months Old and the Beginning of Our Journey - Born February 20 2006

Bella was so much more than a Lhasa. My Bella was my little dog with a big heart.

Being given Bella from my brother was my gift from above. Bella was a small dog needing nurturing and love. Bella needed to play and have a routine. Bella needed a home. Bella needed me and I did not know how much I needed her. My life was never the same!

In 2006 I drove Bella from NJ in the back of my Explorer crated and drove her to her new home 250 miles away. The first night home, Bella spent on top of my queen bed. There she was, lying on her back, all four's raised. What a scare.....could it be my new Bella wasn't breathing anymore? To my elation, Bella was sleeping (as she shortly thereafter started snoring) and in that form is how Bella slept every night thereafter.

Let me share so much joy Bella gave me and others!!

It was October 2006 and Bella was eight months old. Our first formal picture was at Pet Smart and she had no reluctance in front of a camera. As time went on, Bella formed a strong connection to me. This is the time I slowly started unleashing her on her walks making certain she stayed close and knowing she had confident comfort with me.

I considered enrolling Bella in Therapy Dogs International where she could visit schools to help children 'come alive' and aid them in their quest to read. This formality changed on multiple occasions. One is during our walk in a local park. A caretaker of a person with a disability asked if they could pet Bella. Before the words of 'sure' came from my lips, Bella was already rolled over with her paws in the air, ready for a belly rub. The people lit up!! Keep in mind Bella was a 20 pound beauty. I'll post a picture someday. I was able to bring Bella to an assisted living facility to spend time with a friend of the family. The family friend could not get enough of Bella. My Bella was a joy and gave so much.

Yes, I felt a true sense of purpose and companionship with Bella. A squeak toy was never the same after Bella put her mouth around it and tossed it. Once the squeaker frolic ended, the toy was no longer of interest. That didn't stop Bella. She would befriend another toy of interest and the cycle repeated.

Bella was my protector on more than one occasion. The most vivid was a baffling experience for me. I moved to a first floor apartment. Day after day I would come home to find Bella had chewed something. She would chew a wooden chair leg, a wooden basket, but the most devastating chew was that of cable cords. I tried hot sauce to deter Bella...but instead of stopping her from this behavior she loved the sauce. In my heart I knew Bella was trying to warn me of something, but what? I could tell by the daily look on her face that something was wrong. I trusted my Bella in every sense of this complex word. The guy who rented me the apartment was entering while I was working and Bella was home. Once I confronted him, Bella was less stressed and returned to her loving self. Needless to say, we left that apartment shortly thereafter.

Bella loved the snow and would cool her belly by bouncing from snow pile to snow pile. She had her winter vests although she didn't love having them put on.....after a while she could care less. Bella was a swimmer too. She was fearless and, like her canine friends, enjoyed all the elements.

Bella was blessed at a pet blessing and I still hold her Canticle of the Creatures prayer and picture from that day.

Bella loved her pup corn and simple treats. Her friends were Kramer and Kahlua, the dogs of my best friends. Bella did have a pet blessing medallion on her leash.

Bella was my purpose. She gave me a reason to come to an empty home after a long day at work. I could count on Bella to be sitting at the window, waiting for me. She knew my schedule. I knew Bella was the best thing that happened for me in a long time. So she was never deprived. I would take her to doggie daycare. Like a child, she needed to play with other dogs and interact. I had a peace of mind knowing she was occupied.

The happy times are endless. The happiness Bella brought me will never be taken from my heart.

September 17 2010 was the day. Bella knew something was up. I tried distancing myself, but how could I? So I washed her toys. I washed her clothes. I packed her bows and everything that meant something. We took a walk to get new treats at the local pet store. I ran her around the soccer fields and she always came back to me. That was my Bella. Back home we went....where I took her crate, her food, her bowls and the Welcome New Family letter I wrote and arranged everything in her Sherpa bag. Everything went outside. Bella looked at me and I cried looking at her. I needed to be brave. So outside we went. 4:00 came and off Bella went to her new family. I thought for sure she wouldn't leave me. But her beautiful cascading tail lifted and went to and fro. She was so excited to go 'bye bye' she never looked back at me.

My last day with Bella will never be a true last day. It is 8 months later and I will never have a last day with Bella. We gave each other so much and that will never be taken away.

The next morning the new owner called and thanked me so much for the beautiful dog and the beautiful letter I wrote, including the handwritten Canticle of Creature prayer. I hadn't slept at all the night before and was not at all in a spirited mood but was prompted to say 'I can tell my Bella belongs with you'.

God Bless and thank you for letting me share my story of Bella and our journey.


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    • heidimariahelena profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South Jersey

      Thank you!! Thank you too for sharing your time to convey this kind message. Good night!

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      I am happy to know that your Bella went with a good family. I have never had a dog for any length of time, and I am told that they are like family. It is understandable.

      Thanks for sharing your story of Bella!


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