Things Bella Taught Me

20130903_181810Bella thinks she owns us. And we enable her megalomania.

Proof of her self-consciousness is her voice. On the end of the couch, Bella gave her low-muffled “grrr” as if to say to Bev, “Get out-of-the-way, I want to lay between you and Dad.” Later, sitting upright on the floor, she gave her really shrill yippy bark as if to say, “You’re not paying attention to me; quit what you’re doing now.”

The thing that really slays me is her stare. Large brown eyes and long eyelashes saying, “Will you play with me?” I’m a sucker for that, and that is what caused a recent visit to the chiropractor.

She loves the chase. Crouching on the floor, she is like a coiled spring. Around the room she runs as if I am a huge monster about to consume her. Room-to-room I chase her. Bad idea!

It’s embarrassing to confess that I needlessly tweaked my back because I was chasing a 16-pound dog. What sensible person does that? Explaining to the chiropractor how it happened, I used a shortened version – something that made it sound less stupid on my part.

In spite of the back pain, Bella has taught me some good lessons for which I am grateful. The first is the utter trust and dependency of a little creature like her. She relies on us for food, water, and safety. We felt especially awful, on one occasion, when on a walk with Bella, a large dog attacked her. I think she helps us to be more compassionate, patient, and accountable.

Bella also reminds us that few things are more important than taking some time to play or walk. Tasks that seem more important to us humans take a backseat to making sure that Bella gets her twice-daily excursion. Of course, we benefit from these walks too. Calmness, exercise, and rest are some of the good things we get from her simple demands. In this case, she is smarter than her frantic, over-committed humans.

She is also a good reminder of the beauty of trust. For two-plus years we’ve watched trust grow. More responsive to our commands. Adoption of us as her people. She used to tremble and whine when we took her on car rides. Now she enjoys the ride as she realizes we are not taking her to her death. Trust must be earned in dogs and people.

Bella also reminds us of God’s love.  I’m amazed at his wisdom at creating creatures for our enjoyment and companionship.  Nor can I imagine why humans would torture or otherwise harm something so innocent, created by God for our pleasure.

When I laid down at home to nurse my sore back, Bella joined me as if to say, “I’m sorry you hurt your back; I’m happy to now give you my attention and comfort.”  I think that’s worth the sore back.



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