She was my first “official” rescue in April of 2000 – Miss Belle. She came to me almost identical to Maleah, only with a little more hair on her head. 47lbs, 10 months old…emaciated. Animal control had taken her away because her college girl owner had locked her in an apartment bathroom…her and her boyfriend physically abused Belle. Who knows how often they fed her. Staph infection all over her body, every worm…terrible case.
I won her over with McDonald’s french fries. She sat in the front seat of my Explorer, terrified, trembling, and thinking God only knows what. She jerked and jumped when I pet her, and tried to get away, afraid of what the hand brought to her. I’ve never seen a dog so frightened…still haven’t to this day. I wanted a bat and to know where this couple lived, God forgive me.
It took a lot of work and a long time for her to trust me, but we grew together and formed an unbreakable bond. I decided that adoption was not an option in this case, and I kept her for myself. She loved me, she did finally trust me completely, and I adored her. She’d found her home…she was MY Belle.
There’s really no way to describe the connection between an abused and terrified dog and the human they finally love. It’s gentle, comforting, and uplifting. Smiles were a given around Belle, as she was simply what Webster’s define as “sweet” in terms of the heart. She was horribly terrifed of everyone that came near her except her mommy and her grandmommy, but she never had a harsh tone toward others if they were too near. To us she radiated love, and we enjoyed watching her hop around the house when she chose to play or knew it was time to “go ride,” and shake her head like a horse and smile when she knew it was dinner time…those silly little things that you only share with the ones you love.
She had osteosarcoma (bone cancer). The general rule of thumb is 3 months after the day of diagnosis, 6 if you’re able to do the surgery to remove the limb. Belle had a bad knee on the opposite rear leg, so surgery could have ruined that knee from the stress applied, especially with her size (100lbs), limiting her time with me even more. The only other option was pain meds, so we went that route with great results. She felt great, was happy, playful and enjoying life…until Memorial Day weekend. Her limp on the bad leg increased, and then yesterday she blew her other knee, on the same side as her cancer leg. In a nutshell, she could barely walk, was struggling, exhausted, and in pain…I had no choice.
We were 8 months into her cancer…something pretty much unheard of with this type. She was an amazing, unbelievable soul. Had her knee not given out on her, Lord knows how much longer she’d of gone on. Her strength is something I envy.
I was not ready for today, although I knew she ready, despite my wishes. I’m depressed. I’m mad that she’s gone and in a terribly grouchy mood. I feel an emptiness…and I’m thankful that she was a part of my life.
She was beautiful, and I will see her smile always. I thank God for sending creatures like her into our lives to teach us so many things, and to open our hearts to something so rare…even if it means it will break in the end.
I love you, my pretty little Belle girl. There will never be another you.