We share about the process of building our forever, but some of that forever came unsolicited. At the closing for our home, the seller offered us his dog of five years. We were still mourning our Lucy, and we could not imagine prying the friendly dog we had met when doing walk-throughs from her home where she has roamed free for so long and relocating her to a small apartment in town, which was her owner’s other option. Although nervous about adopting her, we agreed.
Enter Belle the Blue Heeler. She has become our loyal and happy friend, and her presence has brought so much joy to our family. I never knew I was a dog people, and I am honestly the slowest in our family to warm to our furry four-legged friends. But Belle has stolen our hearts completely – including mine.
We do not have our farm animals yet, thanks to home renovation and property clean-up, but our neighbors do have goats. We love to watch them, and the stories about their talents as escape artists are not exaggerated. They spend more time roaming free than in the fence, and for a while their favorite spot was our driveway. Acorns are plentiful and evidently delicious, and most times it does not matter anyway. There are times that we do have to leave, as everyone does. This is when Belle is at her best. She herds anything she can, and she will guide us safely to the road. She does unfortunately try to herd away other cars if they happen to be driving past at the time, but we are working on that habit of hers. One day, the goats were in our driveway and Belle was going to send them properly back into the fence. All went according to plan as she raced toward the white goat, who seems more frightened and timid than her cohort. She ran in through the fence as fast as she could toward the billy. The brown goat, however, is not fearful at all, and she would have none of an upstart pup telling her where to go and what to do. At first, she did not even stop eating acorns. Belle ran closer. Brown Goat stared her down. Belle lunged at her to bark louder and put that dissenter in her place, and she was promptly head-butted for her trouble! Belle stepped back, shaken, and shook her head as to regain her bearings. Meanwhile, we McGlauns are sitting in the car having the best time! We laughed until we cried at the entire scenario, and it is still one of our favorite things to watch Belle carefully tiptoe her way around Brown Goat to this day.
Belle also has quite strong feelings about who should and should not deliver packages to our address. Our regular mailperson is the kindest, most soft-spoken lady, and Belle will have none of her leaving packages at the door. I have started keeping treats by the door to bribe her into good manners when I am home to handle it. She absolutely hated one FedEx driver, and I had to put her inside so she would not get him. Our regular UPS driver, though, is one of her favorite people. He always has a dog treat in his pocket, and she loves when my Amazon orders are delivered by him. Life’s a party – until he was on vacation. Imagine the canine confusion when the brown truck brought someone with NO dog treats! It was quite a harrowing day for our sweet Belle, and we obviously had to resort to the door treats to help her pitiful emotions about the entire situation.
Belle loves all of us, but Bret is THE HUMAN. I am loved at dinnertime because she gets the plate scraps. The kids are loved at playtime because she has playmates to run with her through the woods. Bret gets top billing in all things at all times. When he pets her, it is almost as if she sings him a little “I Love You Best” song.
I must sing her my version of Avi’s Sweet Adeline at some point every day, because she expects it by now. She is and will forever be our Sweet Belle-of-Mine, and any nervousness I had about having an older rescue dog has been alleviated by seeing just how easily she accepted us as her new family. It is almost as if she instinctively knows when someone is a stranger or our guest before we are even outside to greet them, and she has even started escorting my parents to the road like she does us.
Belle sometimes chases our cats across the street to the pond, where we are told she also terrorizes the turtle population. She scares off all the deer, she barks in the incredibly early hours almost every morning at who even knows what, and she barks at the washing machine every time I am doing laundry, but she faithfully guards our door whenever anyone is home, on high alert for anything interesting happening in our rural countryside. When someone new is around, she places herself between us and that individual as if to be a little wall of protection for her family. She is a loyal and devoted sentry and companion, and I surely do love that Sweet Belle of Mine.