Welcome to the Wonderful World of Bella!
Full Name: Bella Rocchio
Breed: Catahoula Mix
Weight: 50 lbs.
Coat Color: Black/Brown Brindle
Eye Color: Chestnut Brown
Nick Name: Big Dog
Siblings: Millie, Zeke
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Favorite Hobby: Swimming
Favorite Food: Raw Buffalo
Favorite “People” Food: Taco Bell Quesadillas
This is the tale of my life….
Things started off on an ominous note. Born in the country to an unwed mother, my litter mates and I were an unwelcome addition to our rural family. Our mother’s owner decided to get rid of us by taking us far away from our home and leaving us in the woods to fend for ourselves. We were young and frightened and quickly found ourselves hungry and totally alone in the big scary world. As we stumbled through the night I lost track of my brothers and sisters and found myself alone in the darkness. I survived by eating anything I could find and hiding whenever something bigger and meaner came my way. Life was hard in those early days.
I found a farmhouse (much nicer than the one I’d come from) and found that if I stayed close the owners would leave food for me. They seemed concerned for my well-being, but I didn’t feel safe around humans. I lived off the handouts for a few months and gradually the humans were able to coax me into their barn. It was warm and dry and the cows and horses kept me company on stormy nights.
One day a lady named Kimberly came to visit me (she owned the ranch where I was staying). She was very kind and asked me if I wanted to go live in the city for awhile. She had some friends who had just bought a house and she thought I might really like going to live with them. I was hesitant, but she loaded me into her truck and we headed off to Dallas. The big city was quite a change. She lived in a big open house with two other dogs. The other dogs were very nice and welcomed me right away.
One day Kimberly’s friends, Andrew & Laura, came to visit. I was a little timid, but decided to see what they were like. They were very gentle and seemed very excited to meet me. I was the obvious topic of conversation and it made me feel very self-conscious. Apparently in my short stay I had proven to be a very smart and gentle canine (an asset to anyone’s home). While discussing my future it become apparent that everyone’s main concern seemed to be the cat who had already taken up residence with the couple and had 6 years seniority with them. From the stories being told she was quite ferocious and the couple seemed afraid for my life should I come to live with them. This didn’t sound good. I’d had a run-in with a cat in the past and I knew them to be credible adversaries; this one; however, sounded like a feline of epic proportions.
The next day we went to visit Andrew & Laura at their home. It was a good size – not too big, not too small. The backyard was little but the neighborhood was nice with lots of places to walk and play. Just as I was beginning to feel at home, “the cat” made its entrance. She was a big tabby and they called her “Rumba”. I could tell she was a little upset that I was in her house, but she tried to act like she didn’t even see me. I, in turn, tried to act fearless and avoided direct eye contact. Ultimately, we all decided that I should stay for a week to see how things would work out.
It was a little scary at first. Rumba definitely resented my presence but on the second day she called me aside, sat me down, and laid down the rules. As long as I remembered my place, didn’t come near her litter box, stayed away from her food, didn’t attempt to engage her in “play”, and promised not to “talk back” or question her authority I could stay. If at any time I ignored the rules, I was out. If I wanted to continue living there I didn’t really have much choice, so I decided they were rules I could live with (after all, it was her house).
The rest is history… I now have a wonderful family who loves me, a warm bed to sleep in, and I never have to worry about where my next meal is coming from! And, although she’ll never admit, I think Rumba is secretly happy that she decided to let me stay!
Photo by Joe Grisham, 2005