If you know my husband and me, you know Bella – our beloved puppy. This weekend, she turns one (at least we think so). Her story, and our journey to dog-parenthood, definitely wasn’t all roses – but we’re so thankful to have her here.
I looooooooove dogs. My childhood dog, Jessi, (a golden retriever) lived to be 14 years old and was my pride and joy. I cried in to her fur many teenage angst-y nights, taught her to do “math,” watched her sprint around the backyard so hard she blew out both her knees (pretty much unbeknownst to her). Her only real “friend” was Scott’s golden retriever.
After she passed away while I was in college I dreamed of getting my own dog. Everyone around me knew how much I wanted one. We would dog sit for friends just to pretend we had one (free dog sitting!). Finally, in June of last year – after two years of searching for the perfect place – we finally found it. A two bedroom house with a HUGE backyard…perfect for a dog!
We told ourselves we’d wait a couple of months before adopting a dog – we lasted three weeks. In our quest to meet as many dogs as we could to decide what we were looking for – we stumbled upon Reese. She was a 12-week-old Australian Shepherd mix. Sweet, mellow and cute as could be. We brought her home and as expected, it was the happiest day of our lives!
Unfortunately, our happiness didn’t last long. About a week after we brought Reese home we noticed she had a full-body twitch that wouldn’t go away. It turned out to be distemper, a deadly disease for most dogs. One that can be prevented with routine vaccinations – but hers came too late. We had to put our first puppy to sleep at only four months of age. It was one of the darkest times of our entire relationship.
As strange as it sounded, we knew the only way to heal the hole in our hearts was to rescue another dog. They say, “for every dog you rescue, two dogs are saved. The one you bring home and the one who takes its spot at the shelter.” So we started looking.
I always wanted a mutt. We came across Bella’s picture and she was about as “mutt” as they come. No one seemed to know how big she would get, or what breed she was…all they knew was that she and her nine siblings were found in downtown LA amongst a pile of trash. A homeless man was trying to sell them for $10 each. Luckily, a wonderful volunteer from Bullies and Buddies bought him out.
Bella and her brother were originally adopted together, we found out. Their original owners then promptly returned them – completely underestimating the amount of work it takes to raise a puppy – much less two puppies. Then, they had the nerve to call and ask for her brother back, but not Bella. They didn’t bond with her, they said.
Truth be told, we came to meet her brother at first. We fell in love with both of them – and couldn’t decide who we wanted more. We asked the rescue to choose for us. “It’d help us out if you took her…she’ll be harder to find a home for.” Turns out, black (or dark) dogs are statistically harder to adopt out. Decision made. Bella Reese was our dog!
We’ve had her for seven months now and it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without her. She makes us laugh, fills our heart with so much love, and makes our family complete. Raising a puppy (especially one with separation and stranger anxiety…more on that later) is hard work, but it’s all worth it for her. Since her start wasn’t exactly well-documented, May 25th was deemed as her birthday. So, this weekend we celebrate Bella’s first trip around the sun…and what a trip it’s been!
Happy Birthday, Bella Reese! Thank you for making our family complete again.
Left: Bella Reese, August 2014 Right: Bella Reese May 2015