Sweet Bella over the years

I write this page with many tears, yet it is to celebrate Bella Agapanthus's life. On Tuesday morning, August 4, 2015, she was helped on to whatever is Next. Bella was 17 years and a few months old. Dog Bless Her Soul. 

A photo and video retrospective of this wonderful Life follows after these words. The last photo is the first photo I ever took of her, just after I found her wandering as a stray. What a sweet Beauty. 

The decision

Some people say “you’ll know when the time is right”. I have never, ever “known”, with any of the many dogs and cats I have been the guardian for. Yet, I have a guide. The first imperative of this most difficult decision is that it must be driven by Love. Another element is that one most not cut life short nor prolong it for selfish reasons. Another is that suffering or starving are neither romantic nor graceful. I also know that Assisted Death is something of a gift or blessing, and interestingly enough a gift that we can’t legally give to the humans we love. And albeit bittersweet, it is the one of the highest forms of Love that we can give to someone we Love.

Another guide I have to this decision of “When’ is rooted in a quote attributed to Mark Twain, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog". I added another sentence to his sentiment "And THAT dog still has fight!"

Bella was the epitome of "Fight". She was a tenacious and determined soul right to the end, even as her body gave way to age. For the last year Bella needed help to eat, to walk, to pee and to poop. Yet because Bella was still inside that body, and she wasn’t sick, or suffering or starving, I took care of her.

About two weeks ago she got a bladder infection. Not a big deal on its own, yet at 17, devastating. Even with antibiotics, things went downhill, rapidly. Even with assistance, she couldn’t stand. Then she totally stopped eating. On the last day, what had been a bright and glowing fire inside of her, was barely a flickering ember. 

Yes, the decision to put down a friend is the most difficult. One doesn't want to do it a day early, nor a day too late . . . when our friend is suffering. And in cases like this, it is not a question of If, it is a question of When. And When had arrived.

Bella's last morning was the same as the ones before. She was in the front yard, under her umbrella, her brother and sister barking at rabbits, the sky was blue, the sun shining down. Her veterinarian came to the house. I lay beside Bella, like we were two spoons, my arms were around her, like we had done so many many times before over the last 17 years, and I told her how much I loved her. It was over in a second.

As my Father said “As long as someone remembers you, you are alive”. So here is a remembrance of my Sweet Bella. Please keep on scrolling to see more. 

This is from Bella's Online Birthday card from just this last May. It tells some things about her

Happy Birthday Bella! Bella is 17 on May 22, 2015. That is 119 in human years! She is healthy, and mostly happy. Watch the video below to see her life now. 

Bees work.
Bella snoozes.
Life is good.

What more is there to life than Laying In The Garden, on a nice Spring Day, protected from The Sun, napping under a Cherry Tree, while the bees harvest pollen above you. Pass It On.

Bella's full name is Bella Agapanthus. She is sweet (THE Sweetest!!!) and cuddly. And she has seen and done a lot of things in her 17 years. She 'stays in shape' with an assisted spin around the property, walking almost .07 of a mile every day! She also gets a weekly tune up which includes an acupuncture/chiropractic session. She eats what ever she wants . . . which really means that she has become super picky, and that one never knows what she will eat from one day to the next. So her meals are a smorgasbord.

And YES, she does a lot of snoozing . . . while her brother and sister run around like nuts, barking at invisible squirrels. Some things are better left to the young ones. 

I met Bella when she was about 5 years old. She was a stray, wandering around a vacant air force base in California. I always wish I had known her as a pup, how cute she must have been. Even now I just want to squeeze her all the time!

This video is from when she turned 16, May 22, 2014. 

Bella never was a speed demon. When I would jog around a dog park with the other dogs, she would stay at the center, like The Sun that we were orbiting. She was built for Love!

She was also built to eat the very tips of grass as you can see in the video. She liked to graze but she was very particular - this blade of grass, not that one! And Yes, she was a big girl. When I met her she was 110 pounds,  I used to call her my Earth Hippo. And that climbed to 122 when she went on 'walking strike' because of Lyme's disease. We beat the Lyme's and then with diet and exercise we got her down to a nice lean 85/90 pounds. The irony is that in this last year we had to fight to keep her at that weight as she became less interested in food. 

Believe It Or Not, Bella used to walk at least 2-4 miles a day on our hikes. And even thought the pack has a pretty large yard to run around in, we do those hikes everyday, because that is what keep us all healthy, strong and and hopefully living long lives.  

The little black dog making a cameo is Rita, Bella's new sister, she was almost three at the time. Rita is a skinny speed demon!

This is from June 2013.

Yes, those are booties on Bella's feet. This is around the time when her body started to show its age. She had already had some difficulty in lifting her legs up - so she was scrapping the tops of her feet. So I got her dog sled booties to protect her during our hikes -  so she could still do her favorite thing - walking with her Dad and the rest of the pack. 

So what is with the bright orange and yellow cloaks, and the bell Bella is wearing? Well, Bella was always the most beautiful of the pack, yet also the slowest. So, we would walk ahead a 50-100 yards, and then go back and get Bella, and so on and so on, until the walk was over. The cloak and bell let us see or hear her, even if she was out of sight behind bushes or trees. This way she could walk at her own pace, and so could we. Thus we all got a walk, and some of us got twice the exercise! Which was a good deal for all of us. That is the essence of the pack- we play together, we stay together. We are as slow as our slowest, as Smart as our Smartest, and as Beautiful and Handsome as our most Beautiful and Handsomest. Oh, and as Furry as our Furriest!

October 22, 2011, Columbus Day

Oh she is cute! There can never be too many cute dogs! We were hiking and the trail suddenly disappeared. But there was a stream there, and while Bella was NOT into swimming, she did like walking around in streams. Those are her brothers Broccoli and Teddy (the Blond).

Some Photo memories

Bella is the SpokesDog for our No Choke campaign and the prime model for our Sportso Doggo harnesses


Bella in 2003 with her brothers Broccoli and Pilot, in McClellan, CA, where she was found. And in 2004, in San Pedro, CA, at the dog park, resting after a romp.


Taking a nap in 2004. And totally BARKING at the gate with her crew in 2005!


This is the first photo I ever took of Bella. I found her as a stray, thus the choke chain with no ID. The collar is mine,because the first thing I do when i find a stray, is make sure they won't get lost again! The collar has my  my phone number, and an ID tag on it.

Bella LOVED to lay on her back and get belly rubs. And that was the first thing she did when I got her home! This photo was the first I took of her. I needed her photo for the her "Found Dog' sign.

300 signs later, and weeks of ads in the local papers, and working with the local shelters, and no one claimed her.

So I did!!! WOOF!


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