Little monkey, fierce protector, Mommy's shadow

November 1999 - April 21, 2012

Belle was my companion, friend, teacher and sweet baby girl for over 12 years. She came to us when she was only a couple of months old, and she and I bonded immediately. She had many names – boo-boo girl, monkey, scooter, princess, punkin girl. She was a digger, a hunter, a jumper, an escape artist, and a licker. She would rip the stuffing out of any toy in no time flat. She was high strung and just wanted something she could tear up!

She was a digger and a hunter – she could find a mole or vole anywhere in the yard. She could sniff them out and then dig to find them! She was always moving – why walk when you could run? Especially from the back door to the kitchen for that last cookie of the night. And she was so smart with a Kong – she could have the liver snap out of it before Abby even got started with hers. And when she wanted out, especially to chase something in the yard, she could stand flat-footed and jump as high as my chest. She was all muscle.

She loved car rides and was ready to “go” at any time. I can still see her standing on her hind legs in the cargo area of the CRV, paws on the back seat, propped up and looking at me, paws crossed, bright-eyed, tongue hanging out. She loved to walk, too – not stroll and sniff around – she wanted to GO! I had to learn to be an alpha dog – calm assertive. She was so dominant that I had to find the alpha within myself.

She was an escape artist, starting the day she came to live with us. She managed to get out through the slats in the wooden fence, and Steve had to build a pen for her until she grew. But she never really wanted to go anywhere, and she would just stroll around to the front of the house and then back into the carport. Even the day that someone called Animal Control, she was sitting on the front walk when the officer arrived. And she calmly walked around to the gate in the carport, ready to go back inside the fence. Instead, Steve had to go and bail her out of the pound!

She loved her blankets and her beds. We finally got her a couch bed when she was 10 years old, and she loved it immediately. I think she wondered where it had been all her life! She loved to prop her head on it, and she could snuggle into the sides so she felt really safe. She also loved her little bed at the end of the hall, where she could snuggle into the corner and be near us at night.

And the licking!! She would lick you for everything she was worth – hands, arms, feet, face – with that purple tongue. And she’d lick the floor, too, looking for any leftover morsels from cooking, always alert for anything that was dropped or spilled. She loved to lick the dishes in the dishwasher. And she was such a verbal dog, talking when she was excited – always making noise of some kind, especially when a walk was imminent, and even when she yawned. So much personality for one dog.

We went through so much together – her numerous injuries, the dog fight, her aggression toward Abby and Buddy, the hospitalizations at the end. Nothing ever stopped her – she was a real fighter. Through it all, she taught me so much, made me stretch, pushed me to work through old pain and trauma of my own. She just kept gifting me.

It’s hard to believe she was with us for more than 12 years. She blessed us in so many ways – not just the teaching and the lessons, but the joy, the laughter, the beauty, and the love. She was such a cutie – she never lost her puppy face. I loved to cuddle with her, especially in the mornings, or when she was sleepy or cold. She would stretch and yawn and rub her paw over her eyes.

She loved to have her ears rubbed. I started that when she was a puppy, to calm her down when she had to go to the vet. When she was little, I’d sit cross-legged on the floor, and she’d curl up in my lap and go to sleep. She always wanted to be near me. At night when she was younger, I’d lie on the couch watching TV, and she’d lie on the floor beside me so I could rub her tummy. What I miss the most is kissing her goodnight on the top of her head.

She brought me love, joy, laughter and learning along with moments of frustration and anxiety. She was always there, always by my side, always ready to lick my pain away, always ready to walk or ride somewhere, and fierce in her protection of me and of our family. She taught me more than I could ever have imagined. Her sweet face is always in my memory. She loved me well, and her pawprints are forever on my heart.