He was a mixed breed, most part German Shepard and Labrador retriever. I got him when he was eight weeks old and it was love at first sight! You know how they tell you not to choose the puppy who walks away and wants to be left alone? The one who doesn't run up to you and through themselves in your face! Well, I chose that puppy, because after our eyes met I knew he was the one! He lived faithfully by my side 11 years, one of few things constant during those years, and I loved him more than I could ever begin to describe!
Today when going through some old boxes I found pictures of him, and the terrible loss I felt when he died struck me hard again. My heart has been aching all day and I think of him constantly. He was my best friend, always super aware of my state of mind, comforting me when being sad or lonely, loving me when I needed it the most, always goofy and funny and putting a smile on my face. And always, always protecting me! He turned to me to get a sign if anyone approaching was a friend or foe! Sometimes he just new without confirming, and sometimes he decided against me telling him it was a friend, and growling or barking as a clear warning. So, we weren't always on the same page about other humans 😜, and until this day I still wonder if he'd been right or not, sensing something I couldn't. I guess I'll never know.
I can still remember the feel of his fur on my fingers. His soft ears and cheeks that he loved when I caressed. I can remember his scent and the feeling of him lying next to me in bed, back to back, keeping me warm and safe. His wet nose kissing me happily whenever I got home from being out (even if it had been only minutes). I remember his sounds, he was very talkative, and the way he put his head heavily in my lap to get my attention. But mostly I remember all the love that he gave me, just by looking at me with those beautiful eyes. There will never be another him, I know that. I've tried to find that kind of love again, with a new dog (now living with my ex husband), but it just isn't the same. My mother told me when Bellman died, that buying a new dog wouldn't bring him back, and somewhere deep down I think I knew that. But the loss of him was so hard, I felt I wouldn't even live through it if I'm going to be honest. And I also felt back then that there couldn't be a greater way to honour his memory than by buying a new dog. It was like saying "you were the greatest dog in the world and I can't live without that kind of love that you gave me, so therefore I'm going to buy a new dog that can carry on that torch of love". But, that's not how it works. I get that now. We had a special bond, and I'm not sure I will ever have that again. And in some ways I'm afraid to be disappointed if I were to ever buy a dog again. I want to feel the same kind of love, but with a new dog that could give me new memories and adventures. I'm just afraid that there will be no new bond, just an ordinary "love connection", and I'm not sure it would be enough. Not after 11 years with my boy, Bellman.
Saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I will never forget it. Feeling him slipping and surcome to the lethal injection that the vet gave him. Hearing his heart stop beating and see the light in his eyes vanish. As he left I kissed him and whispered in his ears how much I loved him and how important he was to me. And I lay crying beside him long after he had passed. He had not been sick a day in his life but the last week in his life I noticed something was wrong. He never left my side and he didn't have the energy to be happy about a visit from my sister whom he loved, but most importantly he didn't want to eat and go on our usual walks. So I took him to the vet, and he never came back home with me again. They found cancer in his tummy and there were nothing to be done. It was to late. I hope he didn't feel pain from the tumour, he never showed me if he did. I lay in bed a whole week crying, holding his collar in my hands. I think of him every day and I hope that he's happy in heaven, chasing balls and chewing on sticks, knowing what an impact he still has in my life. How important he was back then and how greatful I am for having had him in my life. ❤️
Over and out