"I miss the Bella."
"I do, too."
"When will I stop missing her?"
Yesterday, I came across an SD card that I hadn't cleaned out yet, and looked at the pictures on it. They're from the month before Bella died. We were taking her to the vet for fluids regularly, and the pictures were of her in my car on the way to the vet. Everyone at the vet's knew her, they knew me. She never had to wait for her appointment: she'd show up and be ushered into the back room with no delay. I'm pretty sure that didn't thrill her.
I can honestly say, as a cat person, I never expected to miss a dog. Bella had very cat-like qualities, and reminded me in many, many ways of Dirty Mitten, Jenny's cat when we were growing up. That cat would always console anyone crying, and be around people when all the time. She was a good cat.
Bella was a good dog.
Odd to say, but Bella is the first pet I've had die. All my other pets either ran away or were given away earlier. Bella was the first who died still with me.
I miss her howling. I miss her stinkiness. I miss her snuggling. I miss her single lick of the nose to say hello. I miss her curling up into a ball at my feet. I miss her warm puppy breath. I miss her tricking Annie into leaving the spot Annie was sitting in, because Bella wanted to sit there. I miss her burrowing. I miss a lot about that dog. I still miss her every day.
An aunt of mine told me that you never stop missing your pets after they pass. You have other pets that you hope will fill the holes created when the earlier ones die; but, the new ones don't really fill those holes. Instead, you love each of your pets, and gather more holes as they pass, and celebrate their lives and the time you had with them.
I wonder how many more of these Bella picture surprises I'll have.
I hope I remember to celebrate them and not be sad because of the pictures.
Good girl, Bella.