Her name is Bella.
‘Just a dog’ when we spot her buddy on Petfinder.com.
We wanted the buddy, but
the animal shelter says the two had been found together.
So we bring both home.
Izzy fits in right away.
Bella’s a worry wart.
She loves pieces of apple, cut up small. That’s her favorite.
When you rub her belly, she sticks her chin up into the air. Never seen another dog do that.
She sort of purrs, like a cat, when she’s earnest, which is most of the time.
Bella has to sniff the whole lower level whenever we come home from a walk. If she’s been waiting for us, she greets you with a little whistley trill, and throws herself onto the rug and spins by pulling herself.
We joke that she’s a spinster librarian. I buy her a dusty rose sweater.
Then last night @ 9:45.
My husband takes them for their walk. He carries pepper spray now, as a coyote has followed him home a few months back.
Silent. Stealthy. You can’t blame the coyote, it’s hungry. Why would a coyote be hungry in a city full of compost bins & squirrels?
BECAUSE MY FUCKING NEIGHBOR WAS FEEDING THE COYOTE and then the coyote becomes coyoteS
and winter is coming
and the neighbor MOVES AWAY and stops feeding them.
Last night Jay unclips the dogs when he gets to the porch
Bella hears something
beside the garbage
on our porch
2 feet away
the coyote takes Bella and drags her into the night.
Jay runs into the house, grabs a bat and heads outside.
Bella! Bella !
Dog tags jingle, heading into the ravine behind our house.
The night is keeping dark secrets.
We spend the night on the phone, all lights in the house on
waiting by the door for her the way she’s done so many times for us.
Calling (who? Division 55, Toronto Animal Services, Vet clinics, and, and, and).
Morning there is still no Bella.
One of our kids, Lily, comes over, and my husband takes the day off.
What do we DO? They’re asking me as if I know.
We’ll look in the back, I say, in the ravine, in people’s back yards, I say.
Armed with sticks and rolling pins, we begin.
It’s raining (Bella hates being wet).
We climb over mossy fences, keep going
climb under electric wires
we’ve been in 4 back yards
Lily is ahead of me, climbing
and almost fall
laying in the woods
Here, at the end of all things, is my little dog.
My first thought: ‘She’s wet, Bella hates wet.’
Looks like she’s sleeping.
Now, if I live to be 100 I will swear, right there, there’s a purple glow over her and the second I see her body, say a quiet ‘Bella’
Hearing her name
the purple glow that is Bella leaves
so now she’s only rain and sticks and soggy ground.
We carry her home, and in the end, at the end of all things for Bella, I will not let ignorant people who feed coyotes so they lurk on your porch …win.
I am happy:
that the coyotes didn’t get to do what I spent all night thinking they’d done
that a tiny rescued rag of a dog got to live (we adopted her on the day she was to be put down)
that Bella taught one family how to love her fiercely for 5 years
that she got to have favorites, like apples, cut in small pieces.
Bella is now at the end of all things, true.
My heart is breaking.
But she taught us there is no such thing as ‘just’ a dog.
So, to the person (people?) who mistakingly think it’s a good idea to feed coyotes in a city: I leave you with a picture of Bella: happy, loved, cradled in a family who adores her.