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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: Raising Bella
By Mary Alice Bowles



I was enjoying my first week of retirement, sitting in my flower garden, soaking up the sun and listening to the sounds of summer. I was brought back to reality as the garden gate opened and a shrill voice of desperation came floating through the air. My ears perked up and I knew something was in the air besides the smell of honeysuckles and jasmine.

Her voice was in a whining mode that I had been hearing now for 19 years. She said, “Mamaw, please don’t get mad at me, but I could not leave it out there on that country road. I had to stop twice mamaw as that little body darted in and out in front of my car”. She said, “look at it mamaw, just look at it”!

And look I did…..I was speechless for a second or two then I heard my voice say, “Is it a boy or a girl”? Then I thought, “Doesn’t make any difference.” Actually it was just some words to fill the silence as my mind took in the formation of that little hobo.

She held that puppy in her arms like a precious cargo from the middle of Fort Knox. My thoughts quickly evaluated that thing from the unknown planet. Our eyes locked and I was lost inside a world of mocha brown with yellow specks dancing in golden silvery tones. That little pink nose was way too long for that tiny face and she wore a widow’s peak like a werewolf from a sixties movie. The legs on that puppy caught my attention most of all. She looked like she was standing on stilts.

Suddenly she put that little mutt in my arms. Her skeleton like body touched my heart right in the very middle where it pounds with the rhythm of all Gods love. I hugged her flea bitten body next to mine and I heard this strange voice coming from another me, “How in the world are we going to get all these fleas off her? Oh, yes I know, I will grab that antique dish pan from the barn”.

I placed that little creature back inside her arms and ran to get the pan and all the other paraphernalia we would need.

We softly talked to her and told her we were sorry as the blood oozed from her body, approximately 200 fleas lay dead inside a blood filled bath.

She discovered my bird feeders with an air of thinking she’s a bird. She loves bird food better than her own dog food. I tried to explain to her that she did not have wings and was not a bird. The longer I talked to her, the more she moved that little head from side to side, just looking right at me, as if to say, “I understand”.

My question is this, “If she understands how come every time I go outside to feed the birds she wants her share”?

As I write this story, I am reminded of yesterday. A commotion under the bird feeders raised me from my lawn chair and I went running toward the sound screaming “Bella “ as I ran. She was in hot pursuit of a baby sparrow. I ran under the feeder and the top of my head caught the bottom of the feeder. "OUCH"!

After the chase I found her sitting under my lawn chair, with a look of innocence as if to say to me, “What is going on mamaw”?

Her mommy bought her a toy bone and she went on a digging spree. She buried that bone in every area of my flower gardens. She likes to dig in particular places especially where the stems enter the top of the ground.

“Oh no, Bella, please not my Purple Cones”!

I had a serious talk with her about the things in nature and while I was yet talking, a butterfly went floating by, those stilt like legs flung her through the air and once again, the chase was on.

I even caught her with a downed Bumble Bee, just in time to kick it from underneath her mouth. I am so sorry Mr. Bumble Bee.

Every day as the morning light escapes the night, I have to run outside to see her.
It is one adventure on top of another adventure all day long.

Come spring I am waiting for the new Bella who sits when I say “sit” and comes when I say “come”!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sunny Loomis 08/28/08
Ah, the patience required in raising a puppy. Brings back memories. Good descriptions. Nicely done.
Jan Ackerson 08/29/08
Very sweet--consider sending this to a dog magazine.
Joy Faire Stewart08/30/08
I enjoyed reading about Bella's antics. Adorable story.
Patricia Turner09/01/08
I love your little story. I'm a sucker for dogs anyway and you captured Bella's personality so well. I can just see that little head tilting from side to side. Nicely done.