Staff Columnist

TILLIS LIKE IT IS: Bella's growing up

Bella “Pearl” Gazelle Tillis
Bella “Pearl” Gazelle Tillis

Once a month Bill Peck visits me at the Southeast Iowa Union’s office in Fairfield to drop off the Polishville Community Center’s monthly calendar of events, and I look forward to his visits and always try to spend a little time talking with him.

I can depend on Mr. Peck for three things: dropping off the Polishville news; updating me on how many days there are until Christmas; and asking about my son’s dog Bella. Mr. Peck always wants to know when I am going to write about Bella and her shenanigans, so that is what I am going to do.

For those who have not read about Bella before, she is my son Ethan’s dog. He adopted her from Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter in Fairfield in April 2016. She was only 3 months old, but we were already her third home.

Bella was born at Noah’s Ark. When she was old enough, she was adopted by a woman to be her son’s birthday present, but the little boy was terrified of her and she was returned to Noah’s Ark. Next, she went home with an older gentleman. But she was too much of a handful for him, and once again she was returned to Noah’s Ark. Then Bella came home with Ethan, and it was a perfect match.

But, oh my gosh, this puppy was a handful! She was constantly doing something she should not have been. Everyone told me to have patience because it took a while for labs to grow up and settle down — three or four years.

What? Three or four years! I didn’t think I would survive. Every time I turned around Bella was destroying something: my shoes, the remote controls (I still have not found the one for my Roku), my cellphone, and anything else that caught her attention. And she was always jumping! My parents said she was jumping as high as I was tall! That’s how she earned Gazelle as her middle name: Bella Gazelle Tillis.

Bella came from Noah’s Ark with her name. I wanted to change it — new home, new name — but Ethan didn’t want to confuse her. At one point, I tried changing her name to Pearl.

Pearl would have been perfect for several reasons. First, Bella is white, just like a pearl. Second, my great-grandmother’s name was Grace Pearl. Third, I have heard that the more a pearl is handled and worked with, the better it gets … so I figured the more I handled and worked with a dog named Pearl, the better she would be.

The name change didn’t last too long … I kept forgetting to use Pearl instead of Bella, and when I did remember, Bella stubbornly refused to respond to it. And I know she did that on purpose.

Bella turned 3 in January, and during the past few months, I have noticed she is a bit calmer — except when she catches sight of a rabbit in our yard — and less destructive — I only had to buy two pairs of replacement flip-flops this summer!

Now I am just waiting for Bella to turn 4, so I can see how much more she grows up … But honestly, I hope it’s not too much. My life would be pretty tame without Bella’s adventures!