I'm not exactly sure of how we came up with the name...I had a few friends over that day, we were being silly in the living room while the family drove out to pick up our newest family member. We weren't high that day - as 15 year olds, most of us didn't have the money to support any kind of habit. Still, we were always a little rowdy, so when it came time to name our friend, everyone had something to say.
Monica desperately wanted to call her Belle after her favorite movie - I think I wanted licorice because it was currently my favorite munchie food...but I can't be sure. I don't remember who came up with the Lady part, maybe we just wanted to give her a regal edge. Lord knows she needed it! So, Lady Belle Licorice it was, though we usually just called her Belle.
Belle was always a little on the slow side. We were never able to fully potty train her, and there were some mornings when we would wake up to gifts of turds on the stairs. But she was a good girl. She rarely barked, was always happy to see you and was usually willing to share a snuggle or two. She just wasn't very smart, but that almost made her more endearing to me and my sister. She was so protective of my mother, whenever she would go out of town, Belle would sit on the porch for hours, waiting for the car to pull into the garage. When she wasn't outside waiting for mom to come home, she was pacing the hallway into the wee hours...keeping the rest of us awake, listening to her panting.
As we all got older, poor little Beller started to lose her hearing. Now she didn't come to the door to greet you - she didn't hear us walk in, but would sometimes feel the vibration of the door shutting behind us. Most of the time she'd muster up the strength to get up and say hello, but sometimes she was just too tired.
On my birthday this year, a couple of friends and I decided to go to my parent's house, partially because we wanted to see Belle. It had been a long time since my friends had seen Belle, and her health was declining fast.
As usual, she was thrilled to see us all, and spent most of the evening in the kitchen with us. That made it more painful to see how old she had gotten. Her ebony fur was now a beautiful silver all over her face, ears and chest. Sometime over the past couple of months she had picked up a cough, and it was frightening to hear her wheeze. Belle was old.
This morning, my mother and sister took Lady Belle Licorice to the vet for the last time. The last couple of days it had become clear that it was time for us to let poor Beller go, she was ready. I would have given anything to be there at her side, stroking her soft ears - but it would have been selfish of me to make her wait. She was a good girl, and I wouldn't want her to suffer for me. I'm thankful that my family was there for her, that she knows she was loved. It's truly the very least we could have done for her after all the years of unconditional love she had offered us.
We'll miss you, Belle. You were a good girl.