Bella Regal on Trail

About Bella Craig

Passed on September 2, 2021

When you come from a family like mine that is riddled with addiction and dysfunction, the unconditional love of a dog is truly life changing. And losing such a dog is whole new level of heartbreaking. Bella has been by my side through so so much – leaving my marriage, financial distress, and more than a few family dysfunctional shit shows. Whenever I needed it, I could get down on my knees, tap my shoulders and say “Momma wants a hug,” and Bella would put her paws up on my shoulder, let me hug her and lick my face. And every night, she would lay her head on my pillow waiting for me to get in bed next to her.
This sweet girl passed at home September 2, 2021.
So, I would like to invite you to raise a glass and bid adieu to Spellbound’s First Bella Luna, aka Bella, Bella Boo, Bella Bean, Momma’s Sweet Bean, My Little Bean and Momma’s Best Girl.
I was not in the market for a show dog when I got her. After losing another dog at 3 years to a congenital heart defect, I was in the market for a dog whose breeder was very careful about the health of the dogs she was breeding. Like most Springers, Bella was a Velcro dog. She followed me everywhere and was ever alert to where I was. I never went to the bathroom alone unless I could be quick enough to get in there and shut the door before she could get in. When I opened the door, she would role over on her back, suggesting she rightfully deserved a belly rub (one of her favorite things in addition to butt scratches) for having been locked out of my presence for two minutes. Whenever I went swimming, I’d have to wear a life jacket because Bella would swim out to me and try to climb up on top of me. She was Momma’s girl through and through.
Although just a pet, Bella seemed to know that she came from a long line of prize-winning genes (her Sire won best of breed at Westminster two years in a row.) And she was fiercely proud. She had the genetic ability to smile, and whenever she did it, it would just light my heart on fire. In all her life, I was only able to get one picture of it because she would NEVER do it on command. When I would try to get her to do it again, she would give me this indignant look that seemed to say, “I come from royalty! I am not your freaking monkey!” I got her brother, Leitis, when Bella was five. And even though Leitis grew to be twice her size, Bella remained the alpha to the very end (although she sometimes had to be reminded that Momma was, in fact, the alpha.) On a camping trip, we needed to leave her in her little pop-up kennel inside the tent for a brief time (I can’t remember why and we hadn’t gone far.) When we got back, she had managed to get out of the pop-up kennel and was ripping holes in the tent window in her attempt to escape. We had to promptly repair the holes with duct tape or we’d be waking up with a slew of bug bites the next morning. We then took a picture of her in front of the newly repaired tent, and she had this look about her as if the tent window behind her was her finest work of art and we must be idiots not to recognize her genius.
Shredded tent windows not withstanding, she was uncharacteristically calm for a Springer. In puppy training classes, while the trainer was giving lectures and the other puppies were pulling on leashes trying to get to the other dogs, Bella would sleep. The trainer pulled me aside and asked me if I was sure she was really a Springer. That calmness meant that Bella was able to train as a certified therapy dog at a very young age. She had recently turned one year when she passed her certification. I was so excited to be able to do therapy work with her. She was such a beautiful dog and soooo many people loved her and complimented me on her. I thought, the world had just given me this amazing gift of a dog, so I should share her with others. We did a couple of years of therapy work at a chemo center and at a retirement community. But it became clear to me that Bella’s heart was not in it anywhere near to the degree mine was. She would always do what she was asked, and was always very sweet. But she also gave me these looks asking “Can we be done now?” So I retired her, and for the remainder of her life, she was just my beloved pet. Again, Momma’s girl. I realized that sometimes the gifts life gives you are just for you. Even if they’re really wonderful, you don’t have to share them.
And she WAS such a gift. She was Momma’s Best Girl and her love was indeed life-changing. I am blessed to have been the Momma of such a wonderful dog. But there’s a huge hole in my heart today. Her brother, Leitis, also is sorely missing her. When they would both greet me with their wiggle butts when I got home, I would put my arms around them and express how blessed I was by saying “Momma’s got TWO babies! Look at these babies Momma’s got!” So when you raise that glass in her honor, please send me and Leitis some virtual hugs too.