My family adopted our dog Bella on June 7, 2014. Our family had had a very challenging year that year, including the loss of our family dog Sara. Come June we decided we were ready to have another furry family member in the house and my brother somehow convinced my parents to let us find a rescue puppy to adopt. My family has always adopted retired greyhounds, which are usually adopted at age 3 or 4, whenever their racing career is over. When you adopt them they are usually just ready to be loved and to be lazy, and they are usually very well trained and well behaved.
Bella was a good puppy, she just had a lot of training she needed to do. I mean starting at square one with housebreaking her. Then shortly after we started that process she got sick and my brother and I were up every hour to take her outside in the middle of the night. We even set up two iPads as baby monitors for when she started crying to go outside.
Bella grew fast and learned quickly. We did obedience classes with her and she graduated at the top of her class. She was promoted from sleeping in her crate to sleeping with my brother at night. We, of course, were still waiting for her to "chill out" and grow out of her puppy phase, but I think we are still waiting for that. Bella learned how to be comforting and loving to each member of our family in a special and individualized way. The day I left for college Bella just laid on the floor with me while I pet her with tears running down my face. She had been there for me through so much, I couldn't believe the emotional connection that I felt with the pup lying next to me.
Then in October, Bella experienced a bit of a setback. My mom and Bella were walking and were attacked by two stray dogs. Bella still suffers from lasting anxiety from the attack.
She has always been very protective of our family. When all four of us were living in the house we would always say that Bella had to do a head count to make sure everyone was accounted for before she could settle down. Since the attack, we have had to work with her on her separation anxiety and her response to seeing other dogs. Sometimes she still gets anxious around people she doesn't know if she feels like they might be a threat, even if they are just someone coming to say "hi" and approaching too quickly.
Bella has come a long way since October. This summer is going to be another summer full of doggy training, especially working on ways for her to be less anxious when people come to the house or when she sees other dogs her size. I can't help think back to that first summer with Bella and our hourly bathroom breaks or the walks at 5 AM. She is such a part of our family that I really can't imagine our house without her running around after stealing a sock or laying on the stairs where she can see what everyone is doing.