Sometime in 2014, our son Erik found Bellsy at Pug Nation Rescue in Los Angeles. She had spent time at LA County Animal Control and had been returned “Due to incompatibility” at least once or twice. Her accruing record stated her name as Bella, Belle, and Bells…likely typos every time she was written up. By the time she was sprung from the shelter system, she could have been two years old (an age claimed by nearly every shelter for every animal hoping for adoption.)
At that time, my Mom had been alone in her La Jolla home of 47 years. Her huge, rangy Shepherd had been gone for a couple of years and she would wistfully say, “I wish I had a dog…” Erik was thrilled when he presented his Grandma with the newly rescued Bellsy -my Mom not so much. Bellsy ran at top speed through every room of the house barking at top volume. My Mom said, “Oh Honey, I wished I had my old dog back, not a new (crazy!) dog.” It was agreed that my husband and I would “babysit” Bellsy until Erik could move into a place that accepted dogs (…this has been a 9-year babysitting stint.)
Several years later at age 93, the La Jolla house got to be too much and my Mom, somewhat reluctantly, left her neighborhood and moved into a little casita [ADU] in our backyard. She immediately took over the twice a day dog walking job to continue doing useful chores. Now, there is something about Bellsy that made this an ideal situation -Bellsy is an enthusiastic, endlessly cheerful creature who has never met a stranger! In our neighborhood Bellsy knows everyone and everyone knows Bellsy. Soon my Mom was having enjoyable chats regularly…with neighbors, delivery guys, gardeners, … She would come home and say, “Have you heard [the local news of the day]?” I started to hear frequently, “Your Mom is so great!” “Your Mom is so sweet!”
We celebrated my Mom’s 99th birthday earlier this year. The party was terrific. My Mom was surrounded by neighborhood friends that Bellsy had introduced to her -all wishing her many more happy years to come!
More recently, I think Bellsy might have realized my Mom was slowing down and spending a greater amount of time relaxing in her casita. Bellsy now goes to the back door and asks to be let out. She makes her way over to my Mom’s door and barks to be let in. I see those two sometime later in the day when it is time for their walk. My Mom has started to say, “Bellsy is my best girlfriend! Is that a strange thing to feel about a dog?” No, it is not strange at all… it is entirely as it should be.