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Dear Bella,

Tonight, we are spending our final sunset together.

It seems just like yesterday when we rescued you from a puppy mill with the sole hope you would bond with mom and become her loyal companion.

How you have succeeded!

You immediately won over her heart and were inseparable with her.


Bella, personal assistant to Doris Heath


Every time she went to the hospital this past year, you would stay at the door and cry when she didn’t come home, and you would be so excited and stay on her lap for an hour after she returned.

For her part, the only thing mom consistently repeated when she was in the hospital was, ‘I want to go home and see Bella.’

To say you did your job as a full-time personal assistant is an understatement.

Mom’s love for you is buried so deep in her heart, and memory, that you helped pull her through some difficult situations.

I fear what your absence will mean for the wonderful person you have loved most.


Bella’s position every morning waiting for Jim to wake up


As for you and I, my little buddy, when I took over feeding and walking you each day, I realized how little you have asked in return for unconditional love and support.

A best friend is someone who thinks you’re pretty smart and amazing – even when you’re not all that.

You have been nothing but a loving and caring dog.

Never angry, never growled, never bitten.

The only time you got really upset is when you became convinced the plumber was somehow stealing your food. But he understood, and you became friends with him too.

And I want to apologize to you.

Often, I would get irritated, and tell you so, when you would bark and make a commotion when I got home. I now realize how special that actually was, to have a little buddy that was that excited and concerned. I will miss that very much, and I’m sorry for all the times I scolded you for being too loud.


Bella waiting for everyone to return home


All summer, after the temperatures shot above 100 degrees, I promised you long walks in the fall.

A chance to be outside again, piddling every 100 feet to mark your spot, staring at the occasional roadrunner.

You’ve always been so curious about everything, and you deserved a lot more exploration time.

The fall was going to be our time to make up for lost hikes. Unfortunately, we have run out of time, and that is crushing my heart more than you can imagine.


Bella didn’t like the camera, but she sure was cute


My fondest hope for you is that at noon tomorrow, after you take your last breath, you will wake up surrounded by lots of food and an endless supply of bugs.

Lots and lots of bugs you can chase, and stare at in complete wonderment.

Especially the big grasshoppers that would stop you in your tracks. Remember the one you actually caught and chomped on? It made me laugh so hard, especially when it jumped right out of your mouth and into the pool.

Some dogs prefer rabbits and quail, but you were the ultimate bug chaser.

I also hope that someday in the future, when I take my last breath, the first sight I’ll see is my happy, beautiful, little buddy barking again with a full voice.

I am so honored to have been there when we first brought you home, and that I’ll be the last one to whisper ‘I love you’ as you leave this world.

The diabetes was cruel. It attacked your body swiftly and without mercy. It took your eyesight and left you frail.

But it never took your kind spirit, and never replaced all the amazing memories of the best little dog ever.

On what is approaching the 10th anniversary of my pop’s death, I’m hoping he’ll be there to greet you. He’ll love you very much. And he’ll soon spoil you with his scotch ice cubes, and all the nummies you can eat.

Thank you, my little buddy, for everything you’ve done to help and protect our mom.

May you have sweet dreams tonight, and recall all the million ways we love you.

Your human friend,



Jim and Bella



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