Bella in Italy

Our hearts are breaking with the news that our wonderful little Bella has passed away suddenly this week, and we share our grief, and our joy, that we found in this beautiful creation of God.

We have hundreds of wonderful memories of Bella, a feisty terrier mix that was also calm and gentle, a rare mix in a terrier. From Diane’s first memory of how they chose each other at the shelter to the way Bella would greet us when we came home with a toy. And if we went outside to the garage and came back in, that was another chance to greet us happily. Her constant companionship in the evenings while watching a movie. And her compulsive vice to shred Kleenex if given the opportunity. And the way we would hide our suitcases from her when going on a trip, for Bella understood that we were going on a trip without her.

This trip was going to be different, though. We discovered that bringing a small dog to Italy was easier than we expected, so we changed our flights and made all the arrangements. Her trip to Italy had so many firsts – her first airplane, her first escalator, her first elevator, her first taxi. She handled all them bravely, quietly, though anxiously we could tell when she trembled.

This last week she went to her first Italian restaurants and sat quietly and patiently. After a week in our apartment, she had learned to navigate the stairs to the front door as we took her for her daily walks to the parks where she chased pigeons from her new territory. And she went to church for the first time in Florence this past Sunday. If you would ask Bella if she knew Jesus, she’d happily agree with you.

On Thursday, the staff informed us that during the cleaning of the apartment, Bella left the apartment through the open door, navigated the stairs, and was seen exiting the front doors. For hours we searched the city streets with the help of some good friends, then posted missing posters, then searched some more. And we cried. And we prayed, for ultimately the source of all things is the Lord our God.

Friday evening I received a call from the apartment staff that she had been found, but she had not survived being alone in the city. Later this morning, I am to accompany then to identify our precious little girl and complete some sort of paperwork. Bella gave us 11 years of affection and love, and we grieve deeply that she is no longer with us. For those of you whose lives she also touched, we know you also share our grief. We began last night by picking up her food and water dish, little dresses, and leash, because they are stark reminders that she will not ever be needing them again.

From all of our friends and family, we ask for your prayers for comfort for us as we begin grieving for our loss, and we give thanks to our Lord for giving us many wonderful years from His beautiful creation. He is truly amazing that He created such joy and beauty in such a tiny package.

Goodbye, Bella. We miss you, and we are so thankful you gave us warmth, affection, and love to our lives.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Bad Start. Reset, Begin Again.

So, the dog steps on a bee during the mandatory walk.

Last night, the mighty dog hunter slayed a cockroach. Knowing the propensity of the wife to scream upon spying cockroaches, dead or alive, it behooves me to remove the carcas from the middle of the dining room.

A water, swirling grave is called for. But as the water recedes, taking the evil and suddenly very much alive cockroach with it, my auditory sensory receptors detect an anomoly. The toilet is not refilling. The toilet contraption, which I call “the contraption,” is stuck in the off position and must be replaced.

I leave a most un-romantic note for the wife, detailing dead bugs and broken toilets.

I also have a voicemail from General Electric who says they’re coming today to repair the oven. Since I didn’t schedule this appointment, I wonder why it now becomes my responsibility to cancel it. Attempts to do so, however, are met with further automated voices telling me to call back later.

Not as bad as last week when a machine called me and asked if I wanted to speak to the DSL phone technician, and when I pressed “1” for yes, proceeded to place me on hold and tell me in a patient but automated and uncompromising way that my wait time would be 12 minutes. But still.

I have to wait till 8 to cancel the oven repair. I have to use my lunch our to buy a toilet contraption. Pulling into the work parking garage, I nearly hit a large turtle. I put on the emergency blinkers, moved the turtle to the lake to the side. Parked the car and walked into a giant spider web manned by a maneating spider that’s probably still in my hair as we speak, who is understandably upset that his web was not strong enough to catch this morning’s meal of the humanoid biped.

That’s the first hour today. How’s your day going?