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For the Little One

Chessa
June or July of 2000 - July 2, 2014
Nicknames: Bella, Little One, Old Scruffy, Sexy Pants, Little Love, Ma Shakey, My Stinky Friend, My Love
Age: 14
Pet Type: Dog; Jack Russel x Terrier
Lived: Adelaide, South Australia
Author: Third
Favourite Things

Being around her friends, sleeping, cuddling, playing around, snarfing, eating chicken

Best Qualities

Gentle, loving, playful, empathic, loyal, genuine, protective, affectionate

I remember the day (though not so much the exact date) that Bella came into my life. On that day in August I had arrived to an empty house after school band practice, so I put on my brother's play station game and made the most of it. When my brother, Mum and step dad came home I was surprised to find that they had not come alone and that they had in fact brought a puppy home with them.

I was a cat person at that time; and I had my cat of 5 years who I loved dearly and who ruled our home. Then here, without warning, our lives had changed forever with the introduction of our family's newest member.

Naturally I was unimpressed. My brother Michael and I didn't get along very well and I didn't like his dog (not only because it wasn't a cat, but because it was his). Regardless of how small and delicate this tiny being was I felt very little for it; maintaining my allegiance to my cat and reinforcing the (naturally seeming at the time) barrier between my brother and I.

Then in December of 2001 our lives changed forever.

My brother Michael committed suicide at age 15.

We were devastated and numb.

I came home from the hospital, held Bella in my arms and told her that from now on I will be looking after her. And with all my power I kept that promise until her last breath.

As a family we slowly moved forward; one foot after another, trying to find the words, the breath, the answers, the questions, anything. All we found was the main thing: each other.

I started and quit uni, various jobs, travel, partners, then finally my life partner Jessie, and we moved out together and brought Bella with us. At first Jessie insisted that Bella could only stay in our bedroom on the floor in her bed. Then I convinced Jessie to let Bella stay on our bed while in her bed. Then finally (and not too soon after) Bella was running our bed completely. She had access to every place possible and was treated like a queen wherever she went.

For a few years I had to go to tafe and my Nan was able to baby sit her during the day, so I would drop her off in the mornings before class and pick her up afterwards. Bella would have a full stomach thanks to Nan feeding her snacks and two lots of her dinner. They had a lot of fun together and I was so grateful because Nan was otherwise by herself and Bella wasn't any bother at all, but the perfect companion.

Bella developed cataracts later in life, which scared and upset me because I thought her quality of life would diminish. I was proven very wrong (thank goodness) and Bella continued to live happily and peacefully with all of us; running after balls, jumping onto and off of the bed, dining chairs and the couch and skilfully manoeuvring her way around chairs, walkers and tables at Nan's nursing home.

Together, Jessie, Bella and I shared our lives for 8 beautiful years. I can't explain how much joy I felt coming home and seeing both Jessie and Bella on the couch together and telling them, "hello family". Or going to bed and waking up in the middle of the night because of incredibly loud wind, rain and thunder only to look under the sheets and find Bella curled up and cuddling with Jessie all safe, sound and without a care in the world. Or the beautiful noises Bella made when she licked at her feet or sneezed, yawned, and drink water.

I loved everything about Bella; her thick, wiry white coat which shed over everything and never came off; the way her coat smelled; her bad breath; and the way she would comfort me whenever I was emotional.

She was the most special and beautiful friend I could have ever asked for.

A week before she passed Bella was diagnosed with canine cognitive dysfunction (dementia). She had all but forgotten her name, who Jessie and I were and the layout of the house. She wasn't showing any interest or joy in anything that she usually did and started walking around compulsively (and continuously) in circles. Jessie even made a safe pen for her to walk around in using cardboard boxes that she had cut out and shaped, just so that Bella wouldn't hurt herself as she walked around.

It killed us to see her like this. She wasn't herself anymore, and as much as her body was fine, her mind wasn't and we couldn't let her live like this.

It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but on the 2nd of July at 2:30pm I held her at the vet while she was injected. And surrounded by my Mum, Jessie and Jessie's Sister Petra, she peacefully passed away to meet Michael again at the Rainbow Bridge.

Bella, I will always love you and be grateful for all the beautiful memories you have given me. Thank you for helping me through all the hard times, and for putting up with my nonsense. I love you with all my heart and always will.

Thank you for your love.

Always and forever,

Lauren xxx

 

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