Happy Birthday, Bella!

22 Apr

Ten years ago to the day the cutest, white fur ball was born. Bella. She’s the fourth member of our family and… she’s a VIP. Why?

Well, that’s a simple explanation: she’s a character in my second book A World Apart. A character that lives and breathes like you and I. Someone that’s playful and moody, stubborn and loving, loud and feisty. Someone that communicates without words, only looking at me and I know exactly what she wants.

Let me introduce you … Bella.  She is exactly how Cassandra describes her, “a white fur ball with black eyes and button nose.” She’s also, “A Bichon and Maltese, like two doggies in one,” as Maya explains.
And above all—she’s my very first pet. I loved Bella even before I met her. A friend of mine had a litter of four puppies, sold all of them except Bella. No one wanted Bella—not even her mommy who refused to feed her or even let her come nearby. I told my friend I’d buy her. And so, one August afternoon my friend knocked on my office door bringing Bella. I remember seeing this white fluffy thing middle of my office, her face covered completely in fur, moving toward me until she reached my chair. She smelled my shoes then plopped on the floor, stretching her head on her front paws. Dog’s Cupid hit me that very moment, his arrow still in my heart and will forever remain there. And so will Bella.
She’s extremely protective, thinking she’s a big dog, although she barely weighs 16 pounds. Her bark is ferocious, I have no idea where that deep, husky barking comes from but she sure keeps people away from our house. Neighbors call her Cujo—that should say it all.
And yet Bella is loving, smart, loyal and goofy in many ways. Bella knows how to trick daddy into giving her an extra treat (just placing her head on his knee, looking innocently). She knows how to ask for an extra massage (bowing her head into my chest letting me rub her ears. If I stop she paws at me). She knows how to ask for playtime (bringing her toys and chasing my son down the hallway). And for popcorn, oh boy! She’d do any trick you ask her—from dancing to shaking paws, to speaking and posing like a diva.
What Bella means to me is probably obvious; she’s part of me, part of our family, the daughter I never had but wished for my whole life. And I know her time with us is limited—she turned 10 today, and I had to do something to keep her alive forever and ever, not only in our hearts but in the eyes of the world. And so the idea of portraying her in the book sprouted in my head, becoming clearer that this was the way to go.

I don’t know if my readers will judge me for bringing real loved ones into my fiction work. But I hope they will forgive me and fall in love with Bella as Cassandra and Maya and David did … After all, who doesn’t love a white fur ball with black eyes and button nose?

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