Monday our sweet Boxer, Bella Rose went to Heaven and is waiting at the gates for all of us to join her someday. The whole experience was really hard for all of us but at the same time one of the most beautiful things we’ve had to go through. All of us, Lover Boy, Little Finch (3), Laughing Coyote (2), Harley, Lovie and I made sure that Bella was honored until the very last minute here on earth with us. It truly was amazing to see the kids and dogs natural instincts kick in and take such a huge part in this.
As painful as the last 6 months have been I really wanted to capture and remember every moment of it. I have said for months that I plan on writing a post on everything that Bella fought through ~ I’m working on being able to write it. It will probably just take me some time.
However, I really wanted to remember burying her. I know that sounds so odd but it’s such a huge part of her life story – knowing how much her family truly loved her. I plan on having a photo album book made of Bella from birth to death as a way of being able to remember one of our greatest joys.
Sunday the kids and I went to the fabric store and Little Finch picked out a very special fabric just perfect for Bella We made her a blanket, a heart pillow, and a little heart toy. We actually made 2 of the little heart “toys”, one for Bella and one for a doll that Little Finch has that has a pocket in the chest for a heart.
Sunday afternoon Lover Boy headed back to NC and I was supposed to come up with everyone later that evening because I had to finish several pillow orders…well as the day progressed Bella started having black tarry poop. Her breathing was becoming more labored than it had been for the past 2 weeks and she stopped eating. She wouldn’t even eat treats or lunch meat, however, she did drink a ton of water. Late that night she threw up so I decided that I wasn’t going to bring her up to NC and make her last night be in a hotel room (we had kind of known earlier in the day sunday that we may have to put her down on Monday since she was getting pretty bad). I stayed up until 5am and she stayed right by my side, like always. Around 8:30 she came and got me and I figured she needed to go out. So her, Harley, Lovie and I went downstairs to go out. The others went outside but Bella didn’t. After the others came back in I said “well OK Bell, come on, lets just go back up and lay down”. she looked at me like ohh mom, I just can’t and then immediately started throwing up. I got a little “crazy” and said “ahhh come on Bell, get outside, come on girl, lets go come on”. I opened the back deck door and encouraged her to go out. She started “running” as best as she could and I don’t know if she tripped or just was so weak or what, but she stepped out the door and collapsed face first into the deck. Her face started bleeding a little and I just started screaming and crying. I was a frantic mess. I called Lover Boy and was so scared that I was going to have to take her to a Vet in SC all by myself and do this whole thing by myself. It was definitely just a moment of panic and fear. After a few minutes, I recomposed myself and decided to pack everyone up and head to NC (2 hours away). (The kids by the way during this whole time were standing at the top of the stairs screaming and crying now because 1. I couldn’t come get them and 2 probably because I was hysterical and they were just scared-not my finest mommy moment! ) I loaded the kids, Harley and Lovie. I then got a blanket and went to Bella who was laying, but head elevated on the deck and wrapped her up and pleaded with her that she make it to daddy. I picked her up and she was pretty weak feeling…compared to how she normally was when carried – a solid brick! I carried her all of the way through the house and to the car. I had the back open already and Harley was inside (Lovie was being held by Little Finch in her carseat). I had to set Bella down to reposition her because she was slipping. When I did she was able to stand but I kept a hand under her the whole time to be safe. I loaded her in and she stood and then laid down a few seconds later.
At first Harley was like “oh no mom. Please don’t do this to me. You know I’m the world’s biggest baby, I can’t be back here with her, I’m going to cry!!” (he totally knew what was going on). Literally 2 minutes later he stood up and just started licking her head like crazy. In all honesty, it was like he was performing doggy CPR and begging her to hang in there and not go. He was amazing and did this the whole way to NC.
I got to Clayton’s work and then followed him all of the way to our new town (about 35 minutes away) to the Vet’s office where we were going to take her. (I had picked out this Vet before, and had all of the dog’s records sent there the week before). They knew we were coming because I had called along the way. When we got there, Harley and Lovie stayed in the car. The kids, Lover Boy and I all went in with Bella (Lover Boy carried her in). When the Vet came in he introduced himself and told us that he had received all 800 pages of Bella’s records and had reviewed them. He said that he was just blown away by everything we had done for her and that we had gone way above and beyond anyone else. He said that this was a once in a lifetime case and that we would never go through something like this again. And that all 5 vet practices (with over 10 vets looking/helping with her case) none of them had ever encountered this before either. He assured us that this was the right thing to do and that we could know without a doubt that we had done everything possible to save our girl.
On the table she was still breathing and cognitive just really weak. She even readjusted herself and seemed to try to get up. …way to make us cry even harder.
The kids and I said our goodbyes and then left. Which was so hard, but I didn’t want the kids in the room and I knew that I’d still be sitting in the room today crying if I hadn’t left. Lover Boy stayed with her, he knelt down to be with her eye level and they stared at each other, him telling her how much he loved her and how great of a blessing she had been, until she took her last breath. He said it was very peaceful for her, but for him he was hysterically crying.
We ended going back to the house in NC and buried her in the backyard. The kids helped with everything, digging, covering, praying, etc. They did so great! I took pictures of it all because although it was the saddest day of my life, I wanted to remember how our family works so well together and how strong of a unit we are…even the dogs. And…although we were all devastated to not “have” Bella anymore we are so happy that she is at peace and in a much better place (although I’d argue anyone that being one of our dogs is pretty much just a tier down from Heaven…haha!) and to have memories of the best chapter of our lives coming to an end and to new beginnings.
The special blanket, heart pillow and heart toy for Bella that the kids made
Lover Boy dug all of the way down to his waist (the Vet told us that there is a den of foxes in the neighborhood and he had one of his pets dug up before…definitely not something we wanted to happen to our Bella)
Lover Boy actually carried Bella out of the Vet wrapped up – he didn’t want her in a box because it seemed so cruel and cold. He wanted her to know she was loved to the very end
Little Finch throwing in the heart toy for Bella
Lover Boy wrapping her up
We plan to plant a tree and rose bushes all around her grave so we can be reminded daily of our wonderful blessing.
Although the morning was really rough, we knew in our hearts that we hadn’t waited a second too long to keep her with us. Bella was the dog that just wanted to be right.there. with you at.all.times. (well all 3 of them actually are that way! haha) But throughout all of these last 6 months and each new hurdle she stayed right by my side ever second I was home. She was still a happy dog and got excited, barked and shook her tail until early on Sunday morning. We feel at peace knowing that we let Bella decide when it was time and not us calling the shots and having to feel like murderers or that we cut her short.
We headed inside the house afterwards and that’s when it really hit Little Finch. She became hysterical and cried for over an hour (even after we loaded her up and were in the car driving to head to GA, for LB’s work). She kept telling me so many of her favorite moments and memories with Bella and that she was her best dog and she loved her so so much and that she wished she didn’t have to go to Heaven and so on. Totally broke my heart.
We’ve been in GA now since Tuesday and it has been really good for our healing. This is where Lover Boy and I moved right out of College for his job, bought our first house (which was totally geared to for the dogs because it had 2 acres) and our two children were born. Although I was anxious to get out of our small little deep south town, I really enjoy coming back here and remembering of our great memories we had here.
Our movers start coming on Monday to move us out of our SC house and then will unload at our NC house on Thursday. Excited for that day because we’ll be back with Bella!