A Year of Love With Bella
Today I remember the first unlucky walk on noisy asphalt, her shock when she touched the grass for the very first time, a sad look, whining in sleep, twitching and listening to the unknown and painful sounds which were coming from her. In those moments, I would feel a horrible and unknown pain, then, I would hold her in my arms and stay with her still, well, I can't tell how long.
She was unlucky, because she came to the world two and half years ago, in an Italian beagle puppy-mill. Until one year ago she had spent her short life in a cage. She was nameless and condemned to cruel torture and a painful death. And then she came with 31 other "passengers" to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb. Inhumane so-called scientists, which had covered animal torture under the pretext of searching for a medicine, not talking about their own greed and money, did what they wanted to do. They fractured the healthy legs of those unlucky dogs with a saw. But, luckily, the story about the horrific terror on these dogs has leaked from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to public. After some excruciating strain, the poor dogs have been adopted. And so did that little, tortured and hungry one year old lady come to our home on Tresnjevka.
In the same afternoon, while she didn't even realize what's happening, she got a name - Bella. She also got, probably the first time in her life, a delicious can of dog food, dog chocolate, and snacks. Bella got a rubber toy and a bone; she didn't know what to do with it. "What is that for?" she asked herself, looking at her basket with a huge soft pillow. "What am I going to do here?" she was wondering, not used to that.
She went around each of us, while we were sitting that afternoon and evening in that silent room where she stayed, talking calmly, trying not to disturb her. For her every sound was a source of fear from something unknown.
After a while, she was cuddling with everybody, even considering the fact that till then she had felt nothing but pain coming from people. But, in her little doggy head, she must have realized that those times are now behind her and that some humans are really humans. She relaxed, laid - not on a pillow, on the floor - like was she used to, than she ate, drank, ate again, cuddled. Days became weeks, weeks became months and months, there, became a year.
Today I remember the first unlucky walk on noisy asphalt, her shock when she touched the grass for the very first time, a sad look, whining in sleep, twitching, unknown and painful sounds coming from her. In those moments, I would feel a horrible and unknown pain, then, I would hold her in my arms and stay with her still, well, I can't tell how long. When time was passing by, Bella was realizing, because of her amazing intelligence, what was meant what for and was using her strongest weapon - her charm, to win all the sympathies in street and park. From the beginning, we were taking her on the long walks, and a part of the walks someone of us was carrying Bella on his or her arms. We were walking and introducing her with every thing she hadn't seen in her sad life. We wanted to make up to her: the thing called "puppy game," we enjoyed in every positive reaction from her and waited for the moment when she will bark her first "woof, woof..."
When Bella got used to our home, two elegant spoiled cats and one Persian cat, we were heading towards a village. Our first weekend on the country was a big temptation, not just for her; for us, too. Finally grass, a big enclosed yard, freedom, freedom without a leash, running all the time, as long as your heart wishes. In the yard stood a big creature with four legs, a curious look and wanting to sniff a new somebody - then, happily, a new mutual love was born between our German collie Max and Bella. At the beginning, Bella was returning to Zagreb every Sunday and regularly working with me during the week, going with me to the office, lying near my feet, curiously lifting her head and going in the room, every time somebody would enter. Soon she has made her own sympathies with people and looked forward every time they came back. Then would come Friday and a trip again. She enjoyed driving on the front seat and knew we were going to the country. Again long walks with Max and three kittens - Mimi, Lilly, Tommy - they adore Bella same as she adores them. Soon came sad moments when Bella didn't want to go to Zagreb. Luckily my husband spends most of his time on the estate, so Bella became a little country watchdog. Now when I come alone from Zagreb, she can't wait that I come out of the car - first we greet each other and then she runs all over the yard in circles, stands on her back paws with her front paws in the air with a look "hold me, carry me, love me."
With patience and love from all of our family, problems are solved. Bella has repressed the bad memories and left them somewhere way behind her. Today Bella is a lucky dog, sleeps on a soft pillow and breaths with her entire lungs, looks forward to every visitor, guards her yard and doesn't have those ugly dreams anymore, nor fear in her eyes while she wakes. She isn't just a little body lying in a corner of a room. We have forgotten everything and we enjoy in every new day hanging out with our Bella. Even that Bella had luck and was taken away from the "claws" of those who abuse and hide underneath the robe of science works, there are still too many little creatures, such as Bella with that scared look in her eyes, that await painful and scary examination of sick minds. I hope that the memory of the July 21, 2005 will awaken a little mercy in people and that it will create a bit of humanity in this cruel world of selfishness and desire of success and profit.
Snjezana Markus & Ivan Cesarec
Zagreb, July 18, 2006