Dog Venterinary Check Up

A couple of days ago, our family was given some grim news about our beloved Bella (the smarty pants, advice-giving, fetch-loving, sweet, blogging Poodle).

She has bone cancer in one of her front legs. Even though the cancer has not spread to her stomach, lungs or major organs, the prognosis is not good.

It was suggested that the leg containing the cancer be amputated to relieve Bella from massive pain and give her the best shot at living.

We decided to proceed with the amputation.

This all transpired so fast, leaving my family and I feeling shocked and depressed. Bella is a member of our family. Yes, she is a dog but there is no discounting what she has meant to all of us.

Bella Smiling June

Sweet Bella

For me, Bella has been my true source of comfort and joy since the week she joined our home.

At the time, I was shaken by 9/11 which had occurred 3 months earlier, was feeling suicidal and had just received a depression diagnosis.

It was the halfway point in my sophomore year in college and time to head home for holiday break. After driving 4 hours from school to home, I walked in the door and say this black fur ball bounding around the kitchen.

Later that night, as my parents dozed off on the couch exhausted from puppy duty, I held Bella in my arms like a newborn as she chewed on her bone. We remained like this for an hour. That was the happiest and most peaceful hour I had in a long time.

Bella circa 2003

Bella as a young dog at her favorite lookout post

Bella has continued to be an integral part of my life. She is a main reason I began blogging which has led me to build an online business to help dog lovers. Her feisty yet sweet spirit has impacted my life in so many ways.

So this morning when I heard that Bella was recovering well from her surgery. I felt like I could breathe again.

From my experience over the past few days, I have highlighted these three things to help you work through similar uncertain times…

1. Put On A Reporter’s Hat

Pretend like you have been tasked with writing a balanced news article for a major newspaper or magazine and need ALL of the facts before you are able to write a thing. Ask as many questions as you need. Talk to different sources. Fact check what you have been told. Be curious.

Then get to work on coming to the main point so that you can make a swift decision (AKA meet your deadline).

2. Get Out Of Your Head

Last night, I forced myself to go to a yoga class despite my urge to remain on the couch.

It was the best thing I have done for myself since Bella’s health was called into jeopardy.

I felt good to work my body.

Admittedly, I broke into tears during the end of the class as I was meditating but I needed to release that emotion. Plus, no one in the class cared.

Try yoga, go for a walk or run.

Sit down with your feet on the floor for 5 minutes and just pay attention to your breathing.

All of these things are helpful to remove you from overanalyzing the situation.

3. Have Hope

I felt like even though Bella’s surgery was successful, it was false hope to be happy about that given the overall prognosis.

A friend reminded me that we don’t know what is going to happen. She could beat out the prognosis and now is the time to enjoy every moment with her.

My mind got this concept but my heart felt a different way until I heard about Bella’s determination to walk about 12 hours after her amputation.

With that news, my cloudy outlook lifted. That is a trademark Bella move to outdo what is predicted for her. She is an overachiever.

Today, with an unknown outlook I am moving through my day without depression but knowing that my family and I have given Bella our all. We will play the cards dealt to us and aren’t leaving the table until the dealer forces us to.

-Margot