Right after the holidays, we noticed Bella was losing some weight. Running lean was normal for her so any weight loss showed ribs and hip bones. Vet thought it could be a reaction to Rimadyl, the doggie drug that makes old dog joints work like new. But that wasn’t it .. the weight stayed off and now The Bird Dog wasn’t eating the things she loved. Another visit to the vet yesterday found a mass near her spleen and at nearly 12 and failing health there’s only one thing to do.
It’s always hard to make “the decision.” I’ve done it 3 other times but this one is really, really hard. Bella and I have been through some pretty heady stuff. She nursed me through a divorce. Then a cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery. I nursed her after she was hit by a car.
She blew out a knee pheasant hunting and had to go through months of rehab. It was worth it, though – she got a good full year of hunting in this last season. Bella’s last great nursing job was with my Mom last Summer. My Mom and Bella adored each other. When Mom was failing last summer, Bella would join me on visits and lay as close to Mom as she could until time to leave. I’ll never forget my first visit to Mom’s condo after she passed. It was fixed up for sale and only a few of Mom’s things remained. I opened the door and Bella ran in – stopped – and then turned around and slowly walked out. I never could get her to go into that condo again. She’d stand at the door and look at me saying, “I’m here for you … but I can’t go in there. I’ll wait for you here on the welcome mat.”
And, of course, there’s the hunting. And, the fishing. Bella loves being in the boat almost as much as in the field. She was relentless on birds and when she locked up, the eyes got big and the tail bushed out like a brush.
There’s way too many stories, way too many memories.
I’m taking off a couple days and Bella and I are going to do some of her favorite things. Friday morning, Pam and I will hold her in our arms and say goodbye.