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All Hail Bella

Some things in life are difficult to put into words. The experience of two (or more) souls connecting deeply beyond space, time or form sounds mystical. Yet, it can happen…even nowadays. To entangle in such a way with a magical being is a gift. To limit the impact of that blessing with words almost diminishes it. Nevertheless, here it goes.


We, Stephen and I, received an unexpected gift 11 years ago. From a frigid holler in NW Montana, a wild creature sauntered into our lives and changed everything. You may know her as Bella, Bells, Big Sexy, Big Lady, or Beauty, regardless having met her, you’d know she’s magic. Well, her time to trek the great wilds of the beyond came peacefully December 10.


We know she means a lot to many people. After all, she drew attention anywhere she went…and we took her everywhere. So despite our instinct to keep this news private and sacred, we feel compelled to share a few lessons from Bella that she taught us with her jolly wooo, woooo, wooooooo.


Cast Your Spell

To say she cast a spell on me and others sounds silly, but it’s a good way to phrase it. Bella managed to walk into any situation and work her magic to get things to transpire and/or people to act according to her will. More than just getting rubs and snacks with a simple look, she could influence others to lose track of time, forget their troubles, and act uncharacteristically.


People often lost themselves in her presence or energy. For example, at a book signing, a best-selling author actually stopped the cue of people to steal a few minutes on the floor and cuddle with Bella (and China). No one thought wrong of it either.


Likewise, we all have the power to cast a spell and influence circumstances to transpire in ways that serve the highest good of all involved. Our wand isn’t a stick of wood, but with an overpowering energy field we can work magic.


Be Regal

A word commonly reserved for royalty, regal suits our big lady. Majestic is another. These both describe her presence perfectly; denoting the self-regard, grace, and splendor that are befitting a good king…or queen.


Our Big Lady taught me what it looks like to be a lady…confident, poised, and strong. She always maintained her composure. Save eagerness to chase a rabbit, squirrel or deer, she never got hurried, anxious, or frazzled.


Whenever facing a tough situation, I’d look at her to gauge whether I could envision the scenario working out in ways that’d be worthy of her majesty. She exuded a high level of excellence. Considering our common divine origins, it’s fitting that we all act more stately. Put in other words by Wallace Wattles, we can “do small things in great ways.” Bella did so. And, so can we all!


Exercise Your Manners

In wolf society, every pack member belongs somewhere on the spectrum between the alpha and omega roles. When humans reflect on this hierarchy, there’s often misplaced sympathy for the lower ranks. But from our pack observations, every role garners respect. The difference being in what type of manners or respectful gestures get exercised in the relationship.


Bella was alpha from day one. In her litter and our pack, she filled the role of top quadruped gracefully. Though lazy at times, she demanded proper decorum be practiced always. Any signs of disrespect required immediate correction.


A classic example comes from our favorite kennel in Bozeman. When making the rounds, the owner joked that Bella was her general and China her sergeant at arms. If a dog didn’t follow Dana’s instructions, then Bella shot a look, China dropped a growl, and everyone fell in line.


On another occasion, a neighboring brown dog chose not to use common courtesy. Repeatedly, he barked along the fence talking shit…until he got some backup and entered our yard. That day, we discovered the girls never forgot or forgave his disrespectful taunts. With their transformer-like hydraulics activated which doubled their size, Bella and China chased off his accomplice and eventually pinned the brown dog into submission. Like a mouse under the jaws of an alligator, she let him know that his shit show was over. Stunned at the powerful display, we found it more impressive that Bella didn’t draw a drop of blood in the tussle.


Bella and China reminded us that exercising courtesy with manners not only shows respect for the other, but it’s also an act of self-respect. If anyone doesn’t treat you accordingly, then be sure to make it clear that you are not willing to take their shit. In wolf lingo that translates as, ‘avoid potential threats if you can, but if you can’t, take them out!’


Pack Privileges

Real friendships are priceless, sacred connections. These handful of beings have your back…no matter what. Their heart-centered attention and consideration earns them certain privileges as your real pack. Care, devoted energy, vulnerability, time, and healing affection are some pack benefits.


In human society, we’re taught to be polite to strangers. Often, we extend them greater courtesy and respect than our family. In private, loved ones get the leftovers or reap the wrath of the day’s experience. It’s ass backwards.


Our pack deserves to receive our best care. Period. Everyone else is secondary, Yes, treat them with respect, but do not award them pack privileges. It’s a notable distinction Bella impressed upon me.


Be Big. Be Bold.

As a long drink of water, there’s no question that Belle strutted a big structure. However, her energy field was much bigger. Regardless of the area, she’d fill the entire space with her essence.


At first, this seemed to be because of her size. With time, I learned it was her signature style. She chose to be big and boldly proclaim what she stands for in any company.


One of her most distinguishable habits of boldness happened when entering an Austin co-working facility. Once the elevator opened, she’d boom “wooo, wooo, wooooooo” to announce her arrival. Likewise, she’d announce herself when shopping at her favorite stores, too. Every time, all heads turned. Though not everyone appreciated her bold entrance, she carried on.


Initially, I tried to hush her up. We didn’t want to get booted out after all. But with time, I came to enjoy watching her displays. We’d take note of whom around got uncomfortable or irritated. This became a helpful people filter.


Similarly, when we stand big and bold, we draw in people who resonate with us and repel the dissonant others. This saves so much time and energy. Plus, it’s a great practice to release any patterns that inhibit our growth or expression.


Try it more often. Be bigger and bolder than feels comfortable. Don’t apologize for being you by playing small. Then, watch how your life changes.


Stay Wild And Curious

When we trek south out of the wilds of Montana, many people ask what it’s like up there. Besides its epic beauty, our answer points to Montana’s wild nature. A primal awareness awakens when you are somewhere knowing that you are not guaranteed a seat at the top of the food chain. The aliveness feels incredible in contrast to the theme park lifestyle of cities.


Well, Belle managed to always find the wildness. Even in the concrete of Austin, she’d pause to chat with squirrels, soak in sunshine, and sniff the breeze. Watching her reminded us to check our priorities and keep that primal instinct alive.


A key to do that involves an active curiosity. Remaining open to explore without preconceived notions is harder than it sounds. Our mind strives to filter and file information quickly. However it’s easy to jump to incorrect conclusions, as many did when referring to Bella as a husky. 🤦‍♀️ Really?!


The world offers much adventure…like running into a couple walking with a pack of wolf dogs. Don’t miss out. Stay wild and curious.


Live Your Best Life

Nearly everything we experience comes with an expiration date. Be it for a season, a reason, or a lifetime, our trials and blessings all run their course. Bella constantly served as a reminder of this perspective, and thus her legacy, can be summarised as, “live your best life.” Despite the pain of her absence, that’s what we choose to do…with her memory in our hearts.


Join us in a howl to honor a spectacular being, the effortlessly amazing Bella.



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If you’ve ever enjoyed visiting with Bella, please share your story or pic. And, thanks for helping her live her best life! 🙏

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Erica Rogers