The day we went to Stacy’s home to meet Bella is so fresh in my mind that it feels like yesterday. I was so anxious and worried about what more examination questions lie ahead for us. After all it was the day Bella meets multiple people to decide where her new home is. I am a firm believer of “You don’t choose your dog but the dog chooses you”. But there are some people who have that unique quality of making you feel so much at ease. Stacy is just that person. Her warm smile and such a calm demeanor put us at ease so quickly. Meeting Bella at Stacy’s home only just confirmed how much we wanted Bella to be part of our family. The kids swarmed around her like flies and she was everything we wanted in our dog. Stacy chatted with the kids and us and even though I knew her questions were to evaluate if we were the right fit for Bella, never for even a second it felt like an interview. She shared so much more about Bella that day with us and answered all our questions. She mentioned how Bella had a litter before she was rescued and how she hates anyone touching her rear cos of what she as a pup had gone through. The dogs aren’t ready to be mated until they are two years old and here we had a year old dog which had already had a litter of her own. Knowing a little bit more about Stacy was such a humbling experience. I learnt how she fosters and volunteers her time and energy towards these dogs who are waiting to find their forever families. She also runs a doggy day care business and knows her stuff so well. She is an amazing soul who is advocate for the animals who can’t speak for themselves and is such a giving person. I have a whole new level of respect for her and the folks who volunteer so much to help out at the rescues. After that meeting with Bella is what I call was the worst part.. the WAIT. Every passing day we were ready to find closure. If Bella was coming to our family or should we continue looking for our next fur baby. Every single time I picked up the kids from school, it was the first question they asked…Did Liz call? Do we know if we are getting Bella? I knew if it wasn’t Bella, it will be hard for me to get them ready to open their heart to another dog. I kept them busy meanwhile and asked them to prepare a list of things we will need for our dog. A few days later, which did feel, like a long time came the call we were waiting for. Another round of questions , a home check if we were ready to take the responsibility of a big dog and then a final call to confirm that Bella is ours. I remember my daughter standing next to me and waiting to see my reaction on the phone. Her face, her expression and her joy … that was pure happiness. Bella was ours and so the preparation began to finally get that list out and go shopping. We decided to pick Bella that weekend and it will be a long wait until we get her home. Liz meanwhile sent us lot of information. I started drinking those books and instructions on how to set the pack order when a new dog comes home. That Friday we all went and shopped. Kids picked up a new collar and tag for Bella. We pickup the food and the supplies needed and then we all tossed on our bed that night anticipating the arrival of our furbaby. Next day soon after a pre-planned scout hike we went to pick up our Bella. We had early on decided if we get Bella, we would stick to that name. The name was a perfect fit for our dog. She is black, beautiful and a total love bug. Before we left with Bella I needed to photograph with her foster family. Stacy and her family were such a big part of her journey and I needed to honor that. I will ever be grateful for the love thay gave Bella. So on Feb 24th 2018, Bella came home. Her home and she fit right in. Did I say she is a love bug? That week we had close friends come over and meet her. She would let kids cuddle with her, give her belly rubs .. a dog who trusted and loved us unconditionally so fast. She was just the most mellow custom made dog or us. We are still eternally grateful. Little did we know Bella had a secret of her own she wasn’t sharing with anyone. She was a dog with a luxurious coat.. and she was a little overweight. So we started giving her a lot of exercise, watching her diet and yet she always seemed t have an upset tummy. No matter what we did to help, she was always tired and always hungry. I was told labs are always hungry anyways.. so we dismissed it and continued watching her diet. Rainy season + furry friend= Stinky dog. A week later Bella got her first bath. Even the most perfect of beings have issues.. Bella’s is that she hates baths. She would squeeze into a corner and to give her that first shower was definitely a scene from a comic book. Few days later I saw some red rashes on Bella’s tummy and I was concerned. I was told to take her to the Vet and see if it was the shampoo rash or soap that didn’t get washed away. The Vet said it was probably a heat rash(hmm..heat rash during winters… but okie..i am not the expert here). We started treating her with meds. Something still wasn’t right. One thing being a mom has taught me is to trust your instincts. We had Bella’s spaying date scheduled and it was coming up. Something about her seemed off. She seemed to be getting bigger each day even with us feeding her little and talking her for long walks. I had to get her in before her spaying appointment just to be sure. A couple of days before her spaying appointment I took her to the Vet office. The doctor confirmed she looked bloated and had gained more weight. He suggested we do an x-ray to find out what’s going on. Bella was so bonded with us by then that it was heart breaking for both Bella and me to leave her alone and step away for the doctor to check her. Few minutes felt like hours and when the doctor came to update me, my heart was throbbing so hard that I thought everyone could hear it. He disclosed Bella was pregnant and what appeared to be around 7/8 puppies. She was around 45 days pregnant as they were able to see the skeletons of the pups inside her. That meant she would be ready to deliver around day 60. My feet never felt this wobbly that I had to sit down to get the impact of this news!! I had no idea what I was going to do!!