Farm Life: Memorials

Back in the Spring, I received a couple of checks for my birthday. The Mrs. asked what I wanted to do with the birthday money. “Let’s go to the yard art place and look at some sculptures for the yard” was my wish.

We drove the truck in on a sunny Friday. After work, we stopped at the cement sculpture place to see what caught our eyes.

There were saints holding hearts to Grecian goddess holding urns. There were trolls and soldiers (facing south with a cannon pointed at them, which may be circumstance or commentary about whether the Civil War is over yet in this area). There were Baby Yodas and Buddhas.

Then I found it. Bella. Well, technically is a cement representation of a wolf, but Bella looks sort of like a wolf, just with a little stockier shoulders and coloring of an Akita.

We had the crew put it into the truck bed (cement sculptures are not light and going uphill to get into the truck), along with a black lab for Tippy, and some other miscellaneous bits of whimsy for other parts of the yard.

A friend was out the next day. He helped to find a suitable place, level the ground, and unload the wolf sculpture.

Bella came to us as a puppy on New Year’s Day some 14 years ago. She had been found by the road by a soldier on leave for Christmas. He could not find anyone nearby who would claim her. He brought her into the vet’s office where a friend of ours worked. He was returning to the Middle East conflicts a few days later and could not keep her. Our friend brought her home and we happened to come by for a New Year’s visit. Bella has been with us since.

In case you are wondering, while we thought that the name Bella meant “beautiful”, as in Italian, our friend named her after a horse, Bell, who she had put down shortly before. Language means something different out here in the country.

Bella became our first dog. We had not consider having a dog when we lived in the city. Our work hours and condo life were not suitable for giving a dog the attention and out door activity that it needed. A criteria that we would need for a dog in the country would be that it would need to be outside while we were at work, or away on vacation, year-round. An Akita’s fur was perfect for here.

Bella was the Alpha-Dog and hunter to anything on our property. If she went out in the field, she would round up the calves (this was prior to goats), run them to a corner of the fence, then split on off and run it to the opposite end of the field, just as a wolf or coyote would do. A couple of times we saw her catch a groundhog and twist it’s neck in a second. Twice I found dead skunks in our yard. She was fast enough to not get sprayed.

Medium sized dogs usually live a dozen years. We watched Bella age and slow down over the past few years. Naps on the porch took up more of the day. Chasing Maggie the Evil Cat took up less of her day. She did not appear to hear thunder any longer and her eyes appeared to miss the deer in the driveway. If she saw something out of order, she noted it but no longer chased it. Her hips and knees got stiff and our walks slower. Until this Spring she could do our 2 mile walk to and from the mailbox, but not with enthusiasm. We modified our walk, doing a loop to the end of the driveway and back through the woods before sending her back to the porch to snooze some more while we took Tippy for her run

We had anticipated that the past couple of winters might have been her last. One evening we might return to find her gone in a frozen day of sleeping at 15F. But, each evening she opened her eyes and asked about dinner.

Rather than a chilly winter night, a hot summer day got the best of here. Achy joints, falls, liver problems, anemia, and a tumor pressing on her spleen. And this week temperatures 100F in the shade. She could open her eyes, but not much more.

But, Bella’s sculpture sits by our driveway, vigilantly looking at anyone who turns through our gate.

About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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14 Responses to Farm Life: Memorials

  1. What a lovely memorial! Actually brought tears to my eyes. No two ways about it: Our dog buddies don’t live long enough.

  2. Brother Dave says:

    Nothing like a good cry to start the day. Bella was a wonderful part of the family and a faithful companion on the trip to the mountain.

  3. Margaret Marshall says:

    A perfect memorial for Bella! And itnhas caused me to remember our dogs of years past with great fondness,

  4. cindy knoke says:

    This made me cry. I am sorry.

  5. Lavinia Ross says:

    This is a beautiful memorial to Bella, Oscar. May she rest in love.

  6. I love this Oscar! Such a beautiful tribute to Bella! It was the perfect way to spend birthday money.
    Sometimes I think of buying a house with a lot acreage so I can have all kinds of sculptures in the yard. 🙂
    Blessings to you! ♥♥

    • hermitsdoor says:

      We specialize in yard art. I’d wait on buying a country place for now. Seems that everyone who had money wants to get out from the city/suburban spaces. Prices are ridiculous out here currently. A neighbor runs a counteracting business and cannot find enough workers and building supplies for all the people who want to remodel a cabin they bought or build on woodland lots they bought in the past year.

      • Prices are insane here too. It is sad to see how many industries are suffering with lack of employees.
        I am not buying anything any time soon. I struggle with deciding what my future should look like 😦

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