Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tender Heart in My Box

The golden retriever bounded from the car one warm afternoon. She ran around the large front yard, barking wildly. "Welcome Home, Bella!" the kids yelled. Bella barked and checked out her new yard and home.

Bella made a fast home with the Brown family: Katie, Mark, Kody, and Mason. But in large part, she was Katie's dog; he slept beside her bed and greeted her each afternoon after work. She laid at Katie's feet watching TV--in short, she loved Katie. Mason was little when Bella joined the family. She treated him with care and patience when, as a toddler, he pulled on her hair and tail. She slowly turned her head as if to say, "It's okay, baby. I know you're just playing."

Bella recently developed hip problems and walking became difficult and painful. Katie and Mark were faced with a hard decision: spend thousands on multiple surgeries or hope the Humane Society could find a golden retriever shelter that would take her in. The end result could be what they didn't want: having Bella put down.

Sweet Bella could not voice her love for her family, but she was always a tail wag away from loving them home. She greeted them enthusiastically until her last days when her back side didn't wag well. She continued to sleep beside Katie's bed...her protector...even though she probably couldn't have done much protecting. It was the thought that mattered.

I applaud my daughter for the gut-wrenching decision. She weighed the family's resources and made the decision that ripped her heart out. Katie sobbed on the drive to the vet and then to the Humane Society, knowing the inevitable would happen sooner or later.

I'm proud of the love she lavished on Sweet Bella. Owning a dog provided life lessons for Kody and Mason: commitment, loyalty, responsibility, and love. Katie exemplified each of those characteristics for her sons while caring for Bella.

You are a wonderful daughter, mother, and wife, sweet Katie. You love deep and, often, hurt deep. That's the cost of a tender heart.

I love you, Katie Bird.


  1. Great post Sharron! I am facing the same thing with our boxer, Max. He does not seem to be in any pain, but his hips just don't want to work anymore. I'm helping him walk, carrying him up steps, anything I can do to keep from facing the inevitable. Just like Bella, Max has always been the big protector and stays right with me at home, even though he knows he couldn't protect anyone! Amazing how attached you can get to a dog, especially a big dog. Enjoyed seeing you at the reunion and always enjoy your blog! Love ~Kelly~

  2. Thanks, Kelly. I don't blog as consistently as I need to or want to! I seems to have too many irons in too many fires. We're going to Casey, SC, near Columbia, in two weeks for my daughter's two baby showers. She's due on September 22, but I think it will be before then. She's having a GIRL. Her name is Caitlyn Noel. We will then have: Cory, Caron, Caleb, Caitlyn, Katie, Kody, and Cayden. I do a lot of stuttering.

    Take care.

  3. Mom. I never saw this.. And it still brought tears to my eyes all these months later. I remember standing there having to hand her over, it truly was a heart wrenching moment. Thank you for this tribute to our girl, and to our family. I love you.