I am heartbroken to announce that today, we lost our beautiful Bella. Her death was sudden and unexpected and there aren't words to convey how devastated we are.
I do not wish to share the details of what happened. other than to say we were out most of the day and returned to find her already gone. And thankfully, the kids did not find her, nor did they see her. The details will be forever etched in our minds, and so there is no need to post here for us to read again and and again.
We adopted Bella in May 2005, exactly one week after Jonathan and I were married. She was at a pet adopt-a-thon. We were looking for a puppy ... and so were lots of other people. She was a puppy, but older (6 months) and very shy. But we somehow knew she was the dog for us ... and she was with us for over 11 years.
She was our "first baby," and every bit as much of our family as each of us. She has been our only pet as the Lucero family ... and so the only pet Christian and Scarlett have ever known.
Our kids and are pretty resilient. When Jonathan discovered Bella today, I knew by his intense reaction that she was gone. I tried to quickly usher the kids into their bedrooms so they couldn't hear or see our devastated reactions. After a few minutes passed, we explained to them that Bella was gone. It took some time for them to process the news ... but I saw Christian's face drop when he really understood. And when Scarlett saw Christian break down, she knew the situation was serious.
After 11 years, we have so many memories of Bella ... her personality, her youthfulness (despite being 11+ years old), her contentment in just sitting next to us. She was fiercely protective of us - didn't like people coming over. And when somebody would come to our front door, she would charge and attack the door. Best guard dog ever! And yet with us, she was sweet, loving and gentle. If somebody displeased her, she'd give quick growl, stand up and walk away. We loved her so!
As she got older, we were aware that she had fewer years ahead of her than behind her. But she was still so healthy and energetic. In fact, she had recently been to the vet and got a clean bill of health ... and for a dog her size and age, she had somehow escaped having hip and joint problems.
Looking around the house, there is evidence of Bella everywhere and it is almost too much to handle: bits of her food on the floor from today's breakfast, her bed, small, faint collections of her fur built up in some corners on the floor (whooo, did that pup shed!), her leash still hanging on the wall by the front door ... her nail marks on the sliding glass door when she was ready to come inside.
So far, her food and water bowls have been removed, as has her bed. But every time I walk into our room, I see her laying there ... gone. To think it happened while we were out having a fun family days: church, swimming lessons, a movie, a late lunch, ice cream. Completely unaware of the devastation that awaited us upon our return home.
Thanks to a very kind friend who called a local vet for us, Jonathan was able to take Bella there just before the office closed. They gave us her paw print in plaster to serve as a memory ... which I thought was very sweet.
That is all I can share ... because my heart is broken into 1,000 pieces and my eyes are so very puffy from crying for hours. The devastation is immeasurable.
Bella we love you. We miss you. Our hearts are completely broken.