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Over the past three years I’ve written, ad nasuem some might suggest, about my incredible good fortune at having a wonderful 35 year marriage, then finding a phenomenal new woman who was willing to marry me, acquiring a new family replete with grandkids, relocating to what might be one of the most beautiful spots in the USA, and loving everything about my new life with Sheila.

It’s possible that you may have read that 107 times or more ….

With all of the blessings I’ve received, one of the true surprises was falling in love with Bella, our 75-ish pound GoldenDoodle. Sheila and her late husband Frank rescued Bella about 8 years ago when Bella was about 1 year old. Frank loved Bella – (“I think he loved that dog more than me”, Sheila has opined on more than one occasion) – and Bella loved him right back. She is really a mans dog, although her 1st love is always Sheila.

Bella is just the right size, big enough that you can tussle with her and not fear hurting her, definitely smart enough to be trained (Sheila and Frank did a great job with that), protective of the house and ALL of her humans (both here and at the grandkids house across the street), and generally no problem … well, I understand that 1st year there may have been some furniture customizing undertaken by Bella, and sometimes she does get a little chaotic when hunting lizards. And, occasionally the barking gets to be a bit too much when she sees someone, anyone, walking down the street.

These small irritants pale in comparison to the joy she brings us on a steady non-stop basis. I never had a dog as a child, but once I became an adult dogs were a consistent part of my life. I had a bunch of really great pets, but none of them even come close to Bella.

I think that anyone who has met Bella has fallen in love with her, she is one of those marvelous dogs that steals your heart! Yes, she is big and sometimes kinda clunky. Yes, she does constantly try to jump up on you when she first sees you (even though we’ve tried to break that habit, she just gets soooo excited to see you that she can’t help herself). And yes, her seemingly non-stop lizard hunting is an effort in futility, but she can’t help it … when she smells eau-du-lizard she is off on the search.

When I came to Georgia my ShihTzu, Madison, made the trip with me. Maddie was a rescue that Laura (my daughter, for those not up to speed) found when she worked at the NYC ASPCA. Maddie was only 4 weeks old when we got her, so she never had the proper Mommy/puppy upbringing and consequently didn’t really know how to do most normal “dog things”. Bella taught Madison how to play, how to groom herself, how do navigate this large house we live in (much bigger than what we had in NJ), how to get through the doggie door, and so much more.

mad bella 1

So, here’s to Bella!! Of all the fantastic things that have come my way in this new life, getting to know and love Bella has been a bonus I never expected!


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