Ode to Bella
On a wintry day in May we drive to Westerway
To view a five-month female Maltese X Shih Tsu
up for sale
“Her name is Bella and me husband can’t stand her” comments the old woman whose heavy arms nestle a doggy bundle that she passes over to me.
I spy a tiny spotted dog
Its brown almond-shaped eyes
look back at me so intensely as if she can read my soul
Is she a reincarnation from an ancient Chinese dynasty?
Instantly I am smitten
Money changes hands
I hold her tight and sniff her pleasurable puppy odour
As we carry her to the car she shivers innately knowing her life has changed: her destiny now in the hands of us strangers
Silky black and grey fur surrounds her eyes
She is wise because her face resembles that of an Aboriginal Elder
and of all things a grey beard decorates her face. Perhaps another sign of wisdom?
her legs are short and her long back is dappled with splotches of black
as if an artist’s brush filled with ink randomly splashed circles across her back and specks run riot over her legs
her sturdy paws hide inside silky furry slippers
her pepper and white plumed tail is held up hgh
as she joyfully bobs along
In her new home she creeps about the house sniffing every corner. Suddenly she squats and leaves a large puddle on our green carpet.
She has marked her spot
Not for her as happened to other dogs to have pepper and faeces
rubbed into her nose and slaps for making a mistake
Not for her, tearing up bushes shredding newspapers chewing sandshoes for extra sustenance
Not for her, being bashed with an iron pipe for any wrongdoing.
Not for her, being drowned with her first litter of puppies
By human hand
No, Bella shall be surrounded by loving kindness
she shall receive pats and cuddles
Lots of walks
smell the roses
burrow for crickets
Chase dancing leaves
she and we shall grow old together, happy in each others’ company.