Musings & Threads. Promises of Love and Loyalty.
Promises of Love and Loyalty
The Story of Bella Louise.
From the minute I locked eyes with this beautiful, golden-eyed, ridiculously skinny Pit Bull girl in the local town shelter, I knew she was meant to be with me. It seemed that someone had her before we did, but perhaps couldn’t deal with this high-energy-high-anxiety girl so they fed her to the streets. From the looks of her, the streets had been her home for quite some time. I made a promise to her in the car on the way home that I would never let her down and I believed she made the same promise to me and conveyed as much to me through her captivating, golden eyes. I named her Bella Louise. I believe in my heart that she always remembered what those first few months with us were like and how hard we all had to work to show her that there was a perfect, loyal, intelligent, and loving dog inside the anxiety ridden shell we brought home. Bella was ultimately the best dog anyone could ask for and I was grateful and happy to be able to keep my promise to her. She certainly lived up to her end of the deal.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2014, 2 years after Bella had her own cancer diagnosis – a malignant Mast Cell Tumor deep in her clavicle. Bella took it upon herself to care for me and comfort me when I was stumbling my way through my new normal and particularly during some grueling chemotherapy treatments. I would typically feel pretty good for a day or two after my treatments, but after the steroids they pumped into me during treatment wore off, I would crash harder than I could have imagined. When I crashed, Bella would never leave my side. I wondered if she remembered how I cooked chicken and rice for her and fed it to her while sitting next to her in her dog bed on the floor because it was too painful for her to walk to the kitchen to eat. I wondered if she remembered me lying next to her in her dog bed to comfort her while she recovered. Either way, I would curl up in my bed for hours and sometimes even days when I “chemo crashed.” Bella would curl up next to me and refused to leave my side, having to be coaxed to leave to eat her dinner or to go outside to relieve herself. Feeling her next to me brought me comfort and peace in a way that I cannot begin to explain. Just the way her breath felt synchronized with my own, the way she held up my arm with her body when I had no strength left inside me to do it myself, just knowing through my heavy sleep and treatment-fogged brain that even if she was made to leave me that she would be right back by my side to keep me warm and to remind me how deeply she loved me. She reminded me with each passing second that even though I might feel sorry for myself and even though I thought I might lose my mind from the pain I felt, that she was there for me. I felt deep inside my soul that she was willing me to feel better because she needed me as much as I needed her. Bella was there for me the same way I was there for her when she first came to us a difficult shelter dog and when she had cancer herself. She stood (or laid) beside me during the darkest, most challenging time of my life in a quiet way, but in a way that allowed me to breathe easier and feel comforted and loved. This was the ultimate display of unconditional love and kept promises we made the first time we met – one soul to another.