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.