July 4, 2010


Two years ago on Fourth of July weekend, Trea and I decided to get a puppy. We first discussed the idea on Sunday morning after church. By that evening, we were on our way to Tulsa to get one. We did not think through what a huge change this would be in our quiet little lives. All the little lab puppies in the litter were running wild, jumping up, biting my shoes and going crazy - except one. A sweet little chocolate lab was sitting by herself, quietly watching the chaos. Trea picked her up and the decision was made. She was calm and timid and beautiful. And then we took her home.

After just a few minutes of peace, Bella came alive. She tackled our old, grumpy chihuahua. She chewed - and swallowed - everything that crossed her path. I once bought a new $10 toy and watched her destroy it in under two minutes. She had separation anxiety issues and would bark shrilly and fling herself at the back door when we put her outside. This went on for months. And months. I started working late just to avoid going home and facing that awful animal. I wanted to take her back to Tulsa. I wanted to take her to a shelter. I started imagining the flyers I could post on the bulletin board at work to try to get some other poor sucker to take this psycho dog off my hands. 

But Trea, who has immeasurable patience, never gave up on her. We took her to puppy obedience school and learned some training tips. Trea worked tirelessly, day after day, to keep Bella from destroying the house and to keep me from losing my mind. At some point during the madness when I wasn't paying attention, Bella became a dog. She can still have the energy of a puppy, but she finally knows her limits, and we love her. We still can't have a cover on the grill because that seems to be her favorite snack, and we have to be careful not to fall into the Bella-sized holes in the back yard, but other than that, she's a good girl.  

Just recently, we talked about getting another lab puppy for Bella to play with. But after looking back on the last two years and all we've been through, I've realized one lab is all we can handle. Plus, we can't afford to replace the back door again.

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