101: Bella

101: Bella

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog


Fun fact: Like people, dogs with anxiety may be treated with behavior modification techniques, anti-anxiety medication, or both.

I will never forget the day that our Labradoodle Bella came into our lives. She was crying, whimpering, and shaking as we took her home, but now she is an integral part of our family.

Bella was the perfect addition to our family. You see, three people in my family (including me) have Asperger’s syndrome. Two of my siblings are extremely picky eaters. I struggle with anxieties.

So, which of these qualities do you think our wonderful dog got? If you guessed all of the above, you’d be right. She’s a picky eater, only eating table scraps that she likes (read: meat products). If she were human, she would have Asperger’s syndrome because she exhibits almost every single quality of it. And as for anxieties? Well, let’s just say that’s where the “very bad” part of my dog comes in. You see, Bella has separation anxiety. When my mom is gone, she freaks out. She has done everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — you can imagine, from getting into brownies and crackers, which she doesn’t normally eat but will when she’s frantic, to chewing up my aunt’s expensive shoes, to running straight into our screen door when my mom went outside and she wanted to follow her.

So why do we keep such a high-maintenance dog? Couldn’t we just drop her off at the shelter or sell her? Well, there’s a difference between “could” and “would.” Hypothetically, we could sell her, or give her away, but then her heart would be broken… and so would ours.

Bella may be neurotic, anxiety-ridden, picky, frantic, and just plain psycho, but she’s our psycho dog. She’s there when someone needs comfort. She’s sweet and gentle, and has never bitten anyone. She knows how to make us laugh, even if it’s not intentional (it never is). She can be a very good dog. And most of all, she knows that she is a part of our family, just as important as any human member.

And I guess that, at least to me, we’re all a little like Bella — we can be anxious and neurotic, sweet and gentle. We all have our very good, very bad moments. But then again, that’s an important part of us. After all, that’s what makes us human, and I have Bella to thank for teaching me that lesson.

~Megan Yeardley

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