Each week I’m going to be featuring a special, inspiring story about a fabulous, fearless woman and her best buddy. To kick off my series I decided to pay tribute to one of the most remarkable, beautiful and courageous women I know my Grandma and her beloved Bella. Grandma was the kind of woman we could all only aspire to be: loving, intelligent, witty, hard-working, and fiercely loyal to her family and friends.  My Grandma had a remarkable zest for life that lasted through her final days a large part due to her special bond with Bella. When my Grandfather passed away, after 50 plus years together, my Grandma was completely lost without him; then she met her Bella.  We shared custody, but in all honestly, she was always Grandma’s Bella. 

Bella was a precocious Bernese Mountain Dog with an independent streak to match my Grandma’s. They bonded immediately and became the best of friends. When I was teaching high school I would drop Bella off promptly at my Grandma’s every morning and a warm toasted bagel would be waiting for Bella. After work a “doggie bag” of freshly roasted chicken or turkey burgers was waiting to take home for dinner, not for me mind you, but for her Bella. My grandmother always cooked it up to standards of perfection, butter, seasoning, and all.  She once told me, “Would you want to eat it any other way?!”

Bella not only brought joy to my Grandma’s later life, but was her constant companion, kept her mentally sharp and in amazing shape. They “chatted” all day, went for daily walks, played catch, baked, watched romantic comedies and all the trashy talk shows to stay up to date. Bella even kept my Grandma safe when she stayed home alone in the evenings and “defended her honor” against a grouchy neighbor on several occasions.  Bella literally brought my Grandma back to life and provided unconditional love in her final years.

Even today I know that Grandma and Bella are still in my life as guardian angels watching over me and my loved ones. Grandma is up in heaven right now cooking with Bella at her feet (or the more likely scenario is Bella is stealing something off the counter that Gram “accidentally” left out), while toasting with my Grandpa over some of “Bob’s good wine!!”  What an amazing lady and Rockstar Doggie Mama!!!

Friends: I know many of you too are Rockstar Doggie Mamas with inspiring stories. Please private message me through Facebook or at erin@erincliffordwellness.com if you’d be interested in sharing your story. Or if you have a friend you’d like to nominate. ;).