A few minutes later, I was ready to go to bed. I walked through the family room. Belle was lying on the tile. I asked if she wanted to come to bed with us. No reply, as usual. I said, "You can sleep here if you want." Still no reply. That wasn't usual.
I knelt down to rub her head and kiss her goodnight. Her eyes were bloodshot, her tongue was out, and as I looked back, she'd wet on the tile.
"Nancy!!" I yelled. "Nancy, come quick! Somethings wrong with Belle."
Nancy came, saw Belle, and made a shrieked like a Banshee (I had to look it up too). We both knew. Belle was gone.
We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic. She was limp, but we had to, just in case there was any chance. But there wasn't. She was gone.
Chemical assistance was the only way we got to sleep.
Today, we went to Apopka, to Greenbrier Memory Gardens for Pets, and made arrangements. We'll bury her on Thursday.
I didn't know what happened. I thought maybe she fell, and broke her neck from the collar. The vet at the emergency clinic said that was highly unlikely. Maybe she drank something poisonous on the morning walk. Nope. She would have shown signs far earlier. Belle seemed fine all day. Even played with the new puppy, Chilli, teaching her the 'tug' game. She had even scolded the puppy early, for some dog socialization infraction. The puppy did the 'I'm sorry' thing, and Belle did the, 'okay, go play now' thing. It was fun and interesting to watch.
On the way back from Greenbrier, we called to cancel the appointment to remove Belle's stitches. Wasn't necessary now. They'd got the lab result back from the biopsy over the weekend. Cancer. Bad cancer. The vet said it had probably spread throughout her lymph system. She probably died from heart failure, or brain aneurysm. Either way, she'd passed quick, with probably only a moment of pain at most. For her, it was probably the best way.
For us, it sux. Sux bad.
Belle was unlike most animals I've known. She had a very strong nurturing instinct. When we brought Abby home from animal control two years ago, Belle took her under her wing. Belle showed Abby kindness; something Abby probably hadn't experienced with other dogs. Abby was timid, but Belle was kind, and showed her the ropes. They became inseparable.
Abby is on the left, Belle on the right
Before Abby came along, Belle helped me with my aged and ailing ferret, Lucky. When I cleaned her cage, I would let Lucky stay outside for a short time, and Belle would watch over her. If she tried to crawl too far, Belle would nudge her with her nose, helping her back to where she could watch her. Belle was so gentle with her. Lucky was almost 9 years old when she died, very old for a ferret. During her last few weeks, when she couldn't see or hear, and had little control of her back end, Belle watched her like a mother would.
Belle's gentle nature was evident with children, too. If she saw them on our walks, she would pull toward them. Neighbors who knew us knew Belle's gentle nature, and the children got to pet Belle. Belle really liked 'human puppies'.
Of all God's animals I've known, including most humans, Belle was the kindest of souls. Her love made everyone around her smile. Her love made me a more kind and gentle human. I hope I can live up to her example.
I miss her, really bad.