Today’s a big day in our house! Our little fur-baby turned N-I-N-E! All day I’ve felt like the typical parent, walking around shaking my head and wondering how time flew so quickly. Most of the photos I take with cameras, phones or otherwise are of my dog, so it should come to no surprise that on her birthday I took hundreds of photos. I’m not kidding. I’ve managed to cull through them so I could share my favorites, but let’s be honest…they’re all my favorites.
Before I suffocate you with cuteness, I’ll take you back to the day I got Bella. It was July 2005. I had just returned from spending a summer in Italy, falling in love with Joe. Earlier that summer I had just finished my first year of my master’s and it was a very. very. hard. year. Bella (a name I picked in Italy before ever knowing what she’d look like) was a gift from my Dad, knowing that I needed the distraction and unconditional love a puppy was guaranteed to provide. He took me, my sister and brother out to pick the puppy of my dreams. I had three to choose from:
That white and black one almost stole my heart, but Bella came up to me and licked my cheek–which is odd, since she’s not a licker–and the rest, as they say, is history. We’ve been making out every since. Here’s evidence of our humble beginnings:
I should have known they’d be a match made in heaven. They still nap together all the time.
Fast forward to today: We started the party early by allowing Bella to participate in one of her favorite activities: sharing an apple with us. (She just goes crazy on the core, we don’t actually go back and forth taking bites…although that does sound precious.) This was last night and I don’t normally do much black and white photography, but it seemed to fit these photos best:
Who could say ‘no’ to this face? Spoiler alert: Not me. Ever.
Bella’s known for demolishing her toys into carcasses, so instead of getting a new toy whose entrails we’d be picking up within 20 minutes, Joe and I decided to give Bella the ultimate experience gift. See, unlike her Mama and Daddy, Bella loves the snow. I mean, girlfriend LOVES to play in some crazy deep snow. We decided to take to her a baseball park near our house and let her go crazy. And since I was the one holding the camera, it meant Joe had to go crazy too. Nothing a few layers couldn’t help with, though. She meant business before he even put her down.
Most of these pictures do their own talking…
Sure, go ahead and put your entire head in the snow. That’s fine.
Her joy. Her love of life. Her excitement. I want it.
These next photos are for my Aunt Pam and Memaw, who will appreciate her shakin’ what she’s got:
But, the best is this one…
because if you zoom in….
Ha! Not your best look, baby.
After our snowcapades, we give her birthday ice cream in the form of some Frosty Paws.
Didn’t take her too long to figure out it was for her…
That tongue is about to make several appearances…
We even let her eat at the table. Before you *tsk tsk* me, I assure you my great-grandmother, lover of all dogs and original owner of the table, would have approved.
And then I teased her by taking it away and she went all Puss-in-Boots on me.
When it was all said and done, she had ice cream-covered chops. A true sign of puppy bliss.
Here’s to you, Bella — for nine wonderful years, for your infinite love, for your sweet snuggles, for everything. You make me such a better person. Happy birthday!