I can't possibly write what Bella was to us - I wish I were more eloquent with words.
She was our first grey. When we went to the adoption day (April 10, 2010), she leaned against us and made it clear we were her people.
Bella embraced living in the middle of Manhattan for more than 3 years. She walked through Times Square and traveled on trains (we never tried the Ikea bag on the subway, although it was tempting). She rode in taxis and didn't turn a hair from the noise of either fireworks 2 blocks away on the Hudson River or fire trucks screaming down 42nd Street. She happily stayed with friends and at kennels, at family houses with terriers and Goldens - nothing phased her. The only thing she didn't like was not having the run of the apartment - she trained us pretty quickly. Far from needing frequent walks as she adapted to home life, by the end of the first week with us she couldn't be bothered to interrupt her naps to go for a midday walk.
When we moved to the suburbs, she was happy here, too. She found many places where the sun came in the windows - she'd move around the house depending on the sunbeams. We placed beds on the back and front porches for her to enjoy, and she'd spend hours listening to the birds and enjoying being outside. To a point - she never, ever willingly lay down on just grass, she had to have a blanket, and the softer, the better. She adapted to car rides instead of train rides, of having completely different smells, and chasing squirrels instead of pigeons (one of which she caught in NYC, much to our surprise).
She was a great snuggler - on HER terms only, however. When she was done getting pats and affection, she would walk away - or donkey kick us to make space for herself. She loved pillows - if she was on the sofa, her head was on a pillow, and occasionally we'd find her not only on our bed, but on our pillows.
We knew she was slowing down and didn't want to be without a dog in the house, so we tried a wonderful big male. Turns out he hated being without people while we worked and he and Bella just never clicked. Our group was fantastic in rehoming him, and a while later we found Gracie. In April of 2017, we brought her home and although Bella made it seem as though she was tolerating Gracie only, we are convinced that she gave Bella a jolt of energy. Bella rarely allowed Gracie to share a bed or even the sofa, but where one went, the other followed.
Over the past year we have been watching Bella slow down more and more. She could no longer manage the stairs to our bedroom so the girls slept on the main level. Then she couldn't hold her waste overnight and into the kitchen they went, with plastic liners on their beds. We became used to managing our schedule around making sure she could go out every 4 hours or so, getting her meds into her at consistent times and shortening walks to what she could physically manage, although she ALWAYS wanted to go further than her body could stand.
Unfortunately, she developed a limp that didn't go away, and on Friday, February 7, we learned that she had osteosarcoma in her right shoulder. We opted to manage her pain for a few more days, to allow us to come to terms with her leaving us. Even on Tuesday, February 11 she was bounding around our back yard and leaping up our back stairs - by Thursday, I had to carry her up. It was time.
She will always be in our hearts, and I know in the hearts of many of you here. To those of you who met her in person over the years or just through Greytalk, thank you for the open arms and friendship you have given us - it makes this time less lonely.
One of these days I'll figure out how to insert photos without a link, but for now - just a few of the many thousands of photos over the years.
2012 - greyhound picnic
She loved watermelon
Running on the beach - we actually have this as a canvas print, it's hanging on my son's wall at his request.
Pretty girl, almost 15
Bounding up the stairs on February 11