Bella and Giorgio: a love story of two dogs

 

          Once upon a time, in Middleboro, Massachusetts, there was a family of six (a mother, father and four children) and a beloved black Lab named, Max.  

Although he’d not been sick a day in his whole life, when Max was 13 years old he became severely ill with a heart condition.  The entire family was heartbroken because Max just layed around on the couch without any energy.  He was dying……..    

          The mother of this family, whose name is Sharen, had the very sad job of having to take Max to the vet to have him put to sleep.  Sharen’s heart was utterly broken over this and so her oldest son, Al (who was 23 years old at the time), accompanied her to the vet that day to lend his support.  Al went into the vet’s office with his mother, and although his heart was broken over Max too, he stayed by his mother’s side and accompanied her into the room where the vet would give his dog the fatal dose of medicine which would end his suffering.  It was over in a matter of minutes and Al and his mother left the vet’s office without their beloved Max.  His mother’s knees collapsed outside, and she started crying.  Al picked her up gently, carried her to the car, and they drove home.  The children came home from school and found out the sad truth about their dog Max and thus John, Cathy, and Carmen all knew the heartache of losing a pet who was the equivilent to them of being a sibling.  
 
          In the next few weeks, Sharen was filled with overwhelming grief over the loss of Max.  The house was empty without the “pat pat pat” of his paws on the hardwood floors.  She was so grief-stricken in fact that she was emotionally disabled for several weeks.  Upon seeing his mother’s distress and sadness, Al decided to step in to try and help.  He told his mother that he needed some new clothes, and that he wanted to go shopping at the mall.  Sharen, ever desiring to accomodate her children, complied and off to the mall they went.  They casually walked through the stores, and then as if by chance, Al led his mother to the pet shop and told her he needed to look for a dog for himself.  However, Sharen did not want to go into the pet shop.  Al coaxed her in by telling her how beautiful and cute all the puppies were inside and that she just had to come in to see the puppies.  Reluctantly, she obliged her son and walked into the pet store.  There she stood in front of rows of puppies.  Her thoughts about Max were lifted for the moment, and then a little, white Maltese caught her attention.  Al asked the sales lady could she please take out this little puppy so his mother could hold it.  Sharen, unprepared for the feelings which might accompany holding a new pet, gasped, but Al reassured her.  She cautiously entered a little room where the sales lady waited to hand her the Maltese.  In one breath, Sharen knew immediately that she loved the little dog, and she decided to buy her right then and bring her home.  Al was happy to see his mother smile again. Sharen named her new little puppy, Bella.  

                   

         Bella was a joy to this grieving family.  Max had only been gone one month, but this cute little two pound munkin filled the house with joy and laughter once again.  Max will always be remembered and revered for the 13 years he grew up with this family but Bella was now making her mark as the next most loved pet.  She cuddled, yipped and bounced around under foot, like a little white mouse.  She received all the best vet care that money could buy.  She was an absolute joy.

          Three months later, at 5 months old, it was time for Bella to be spayed.  Sharen took her little puppy to the vet and left her overnight.  She picked her up the next day and asked the vet if she needed to cover the stitches with a bandage; he told her not to bother, that it would heal with the air.  At home, Sharen allowed Bella to go outside like she did before.  Bella seemed a little groggy, but Sharen didn’t think much of this, considering the operation.  On the third day, Sharen came downstairs in the morning to make coffee.  She sat at her kitchen table and waited for the coffee to brew.  She looked over at Bella, still sitting in her little homemade bed.  Sharen called Bella to come over to her, and Bella got up and walked to her, but she swayed to the side and bumped into a chair on the way.  Sharen thought this odd and continued to watch Bella while she made her coffee.  Bella continued to walk around the kitchen bumping into the other chairs and the walls.  Sharen called out Bella’s name again, and once again Bella turned to head in the direction of her voice but bumped into another chair.  “I think she’s blind!” said Sharen, as she put her coffee down on the table.  She called out to her husband and children and when they were all in the kitchen she pointed to Bella, calling her name.  Bella once again bumped into a chair while making her way to Sharen.  The children threw toys for Bella, but Bella did not try to retrieve them or try to play with them.  Sharen collapsed into her kitchen chair, lowered her head, and rested it on her hand and said again, “I think she’s blind.”  

         Sharen immediately brought Bella to the animal hospital, where she was diagnosed with distemper.  It seemed the vet had not vaccinated Bella adequately for distemper, which is a totally preventable virus for dogs. Bella probably caught the infection while walking outside without her stitches covered. By the time Bella was seen at the animal hospital, the infection had already taken the poor puppy’s eye sight, although she could still see some shadows.  Sharen brought Bella home a few days later. 

          It was difficult for the family to adjust to having a blind dog, but especially for Bella because she was such a happy, energetic little puppy.  She still played around a lot, but she had many bumps and bruises.  Within the next few months Bella also lost her hearing due to the infection.  This poor little puppy now could not hear or see and Sharen was heartbroken for her.  So, she decided to get another puppy to keep Bella company; another Maltese whom she named Giorgio. 

          Giorgio, a cute 1 1/2 pound little fluff ball, came into the family a skiddish, fearful kind of puppy.  He disliked sudden moves, and loud noises frightened him.  He was not as cuddly as Bella but that was okay because he was suppposed to be Bella’s friend anyway.  From the moment they were first introduced, Bella and Giorgio were inseparable.  Giorgio never, ever left Bella’s side. It was amazing watching Giorgio become Bella’s “seeing eye dog” without any training what-so-ever or coaxing from anyone.  Giorgio taught himself how to help Bella, and Bella trusted Giorgio explicitly.  For instance, if it were time to go out for a walk, Sharen stood at the door and called her two puppies.  Giorgio would run for the door but Bella would sit, unable to hear or see anything except shadows.  Giorgio would run back to Bella and nudge up against her and then run for the door again.  Giorgio patiently repeated this ritual until Bella caught on and got up to follow him.  When she finally did, Giorgio stayed right by her side.  They walked together like one, big fluffy white dog, without ever being tied together. 

               Mealtime was especially poignant.  Bella would be in her little bed (a bed that Giorgio climbed into every night), and Sharen would put out food.  Bella did not know food had been put down because she could not see, but Giorgio certainly did.  He would jump out of the little bed and run to the food, repeating the ritual of running back and forth to Bella until she caught on to get up and follow him.  Giorgio would not eat or drink water until Bella was by his side.  Then, when they were done eating, it was the ritual once again of running back and forth to get Bella to go outside; off they would go with Sharen following close behind the two of them.   

          Through the next few years Giorgio and Bella were like husband and wife, brother and sister, and best friends.  The steriods that Bella had to take when she’d gotten sick made her reach a weight of 18 pounds! while poor little Giorgio never weighed more than 5 pounds.  They were certainly a cute couple. 

          Sadly, Bella never quite regained her health after the bout of distemper when she was a puppy.  She contracted a severe infection when she was four and half years old (basically still a young dog) which she was not strong enough to fight.  She died at home, with Giorgio by her side.  He kept nudging her to go and eat and to go outside, but Bella was too weak.  She stayed in her little bed, her head hanging over the side, Giorgio licking her face.   Giorgio stopped eating too those last few days of her life.  When Bella passed away, Sharen took her to the animal cemetary.   Giorgio sat by her little bed for two weeks and howled and cried.  

              Giorgio will still look for his beloved Bella sometimes, if he hears a family member say her name or hears a dog barking that sounds like Bella he’ll turn quickly to see if she is around.  He loved her, and she loved him.  It is a wonderful love story, and if there is a doggie heaven, Bella is waiting to be reunited with Giorgio.  For now, she is content getting to know Max, who I am sure is watching over her.  

R.I.P. Max  2/17/90 – 3/8/03
R.I.P. Bella 2/3/03 – 12/18/07   

              

                   

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Grateful at Thanksgiving


      It is 6:00 am, Thanksgiving morning, 2011.  I’ve had my tea and it is now time to write before I begin preparing my Thanksgiving dinner for my children and grandchildren.  I can not begin to express how very grateful I am to be standing here today.  This is the first holiday in my new home, and my children and grandchildren are all healthy and happy.  We all get along, talk and see each other often.  We have enough food, heat and clothing.  We are all employed (well, all except for the grandchildren who help out by keeping their rooms clean   

      This scenario is such a huge contrast to the chaos and tragedy which filled my life from 2005 – 2010.  I am just now beginning to feel the fog lift from my mind as I breathe a little lighter each day.  I think back on these particular years and I have a hard time remembering all of the details (I think my brain is resting).  First was the separation and subsequent divorce; then the separation and isolation from my children and the life I knew for 36 years; then building my home on my own; then the financial  disasters; then my health scare when I almost died; then my dog dying; then my dad dying; then my son dying; then my step-dad dying; then losing my job; then losing my home.  Whew!!  Thank goodness this is the past!     

      For today, my life is a new one on this Thanksgiving (although it is minus so much of what I knew and loved), yet it is a new life none-the-less with unlimited potentials and possibilities.  I am grateful I have been given a new chance to experience joy and love once again, in my three children, their spouses and through my grandchildren, in this new home, at my new job, in all the new friends I have made, and in the possibility of finding romance and love again with someone special.  

      Naturally, I miss my son and my dad and my marriage more than I can ever express (other than through my music), however this new life of peace is something I had longed for my entire life, and it was exactly those events that brought me to this new life.  The losses left me broken, vulnerable and empty, but they also prompted me to dig deep within myself and find a reason for living.  My music and this new peaceful life I have created are my foundation upon which I am rebuilding my life.  I feel like I am in “conscious orchestration” of this rebuilding and it is exactly what I want my life to be.         

      Oh my…it is 6:35 am.  I have to get cooking here or there’ll be no turkey dinner this afternoon!  Have a wonderful day everyone!!  Remember: Grateful, Grateful, Grateful (today and always) 

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

A commitment is a commitment…….it either is or it isn’t


          

When did faithfulness become an obsolete word? Has it always been this way and if so, why is it this way? How can someone claiming to be commited in a relationship not honor the relationship? And also, how can anyone stay in a relationship if they are reduced to the disrespectfulness of cheating?  Yes, I am wondering about the topic of cheating.  I admit I was innocent and niave about this topic, since my only experience was one of being with the same man (my ex) for 36 of my 50 years.  Now that I am a single person, I am learning so much on so many levels about myself and about the world I live in.  To be perfectly honest, though, a lot of what I am learning is that the world is a cold and callous place where it is almost impossible to know who to trust and also a place where so many of the ideals I value are not valued by others.  Although cheating occurs and is true for both men and women, I can really only speak honestly from my own experiences.  I am not judging anyone, but I am very, very perplexed by what I am learning.  

           Now that I am single, I am often approached by men asking if I would go out with them.  This is fine with me, and I am happy about that.  However, I am finding that many of these men are already in relationships (be it married, separated, engaged, or with girlfriends) when they ask me to go out with them.  I am very, very perplexed by these advances, and I have to always ask myself,  “Why would someone who is already in a committed relationship make advances to someone outside of the relationship?”  From my perspective, this goes against everything I know and believe to be true about being faithful and loyal to someone.  I think about my life with my ex, and the thought of ever straying from my commitment to him never entered my mind.  First of all, I loved him but equally important were the vows to be faithful and loyal to him with my heart, my mind and my body.  I thoroughly expected no less from him.   

          I don’t understand how someone could claim to be committed to someone else, in whatever capacity, and then think it fine to start up a relationship wtih someone else. To me, it just seems that if someone is not being faithful then they need to own up to how they feel and either create an open/honest relationship with the person they are with or they should just get out of that one before attempting to create a new one.  To me, it lacks integrity and respect for everyone involved.  I think it’s sad because the wives, fiances, and girlfriends do not know that these men are making advances to other women, but even sadder is the fact that these men tell me it doesn’t matter and that it’s really not a big deal at all.  Where is the integrity?  I say, get out and away from anything that compromises your integrity.        

          Learning about the callous nature of cheating has been an education on what I consider the harsh realities of life, one which, from the protection of my own commited relationship, I was never exposed to until now.  I feel that cheating dishonors the concept of marriage and commitment and removes any value we could possibly place on either one of them.  I mean, what purpose is there in being in a marriage or a committed relationship when you’re not committed and you’re being deceitful?  I say it’s time to reaccess the relationship you are in and move on before you compromise your own integrity by becoming a liar and a cheat, and before you hurt the people around you by lying and cheating on them.  Yes, there may be hurt if you leave the relationship, but leave the relationship with your integrity intact.  This is respect for yourself and the people around you.

          Even though this new knowledge disheartens me, it has only reinforced my belief that being faithful to someone is a distinctively beautiful and wonderful state to be in.  I am thinking now, from my single women vantage point, that it is a lot more rare than I ever knew, maybe like a rare flower or gemstone whose delicate nature needs to be cherished, protected, and appreciated.  Those of you, men and women who are blessed with such a relationship, I hope you recognize the worth of what you already have.  If you find yourself straying outside of this commitment, do the whole world a favor and preserve and honor the nature of committment by moving on.  

          And from another side, I wonder why anyone would get involved with someone who is already committed to someone else?  This perplexes me tremendously.  What could you possibly be thinking?  That he or she will leave their relationship for you?  If that’s the case, why would you ever want to be the reason for a break-up?  And what happens if you find you don’t like that person in a year yet you were the reason for the break-up.  Could you live with the knowledge that you were the cause?  Also, that person who is already commited to someone else and possibly a whole other family, will never be able to share holidays or any special occasions with you because the relationship with you will be hidden as if it were something to be ashamed of.  You will always be last on the list of priorities.  Why would being last ever, ever be enough for you?  Let these people who lure you into relationships while they are already in one get there own situations straightened out before you agree to start a relationship with them.  If by some reason you were lied to and didn’t know they were already in a relationship, do the noble, honorable thing and call it off when you find out.  Have respect for yourself & all the people involved.  Think of the hurt you will cause to yourself and others.   Expect more & know that you deserve more out of life than to be in a relationship with someone else’s man or women.  Get your own.                   

  
 
         

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

I know you hear my singing up in heaven.


          It’s been two years since I recorded my first song.  I actually wrote my first song in Sept. 2008, about a month after my son died, but it wasn’t until a year later, in Sept. of 2009, that I went into a studio to record it professionally.  All I did the year before I got into the studio was sing my songs outloud to my angel son in “a capella” style, crying, crying, crying, and more crying (oh, how the endless tears filled my days and nights).  I really had no idea what to do with my songs when I first began writing them because I don’t play an instrument.  Then one day I saw a program on tv that featured a recording studio not far from my home.  The recording studio is owned and operated by Joe Merrick.  The tv program interviewed Joe, describing how he handled all aspects of recording and mixing and everything else that goes along with creating a professional recording.  In that instant, standing there in my living room, I knew what I needed to do.  I immediately called Joe and left him a message.  He called me back the next day.  I told him how I’d lost my son in a car accident and that I had written some songs and wanted to record them and dedicate an album to him.  He said, “Sure.  Let’s get together and you can show me what songs you’d like to record.”

I went into the studio the following week, terrified and shaking.  I would have to sing my songs outloud, in front of someone I didn’t even know!  “How the heck am I ever going to do this?” I kept asking myself.  Although, to be honest it didn’t really matter to me “how” I would get it done. I was on a mission to create a way to share my songs for my son so everyone would know him and he wouldn’t be forgotten.  It’s kind of like when you are in love with someone and you want to proclaim to the world your undying love.  The love is so great and so deep you can’t contain it and you just want to shout  out from the highest tree top, “I LOVE this person!!”  I also thought that somehow, someway if I sang loud enough and beautiful enough it would be heard all the way to heaven and that my son would feel special and all the angels would be saying, “Look at how much Carmen is loved.”  I wanted to make him feel good and loved, being so far away from me in heaven, because I think he misses being home.  I hated the thought that he might miss me in heaven and so I sing all the time to him as a way to connect him to me. 

I had no idea what to expect at the recording studio, however, what I lacked in confidence I made up for in determination and sense of mission.  I certainly did not know that my songs could even be recorded or that my voice was good enough.  But, I really wanted to do this for my son, to let him know how much I loved him.  I wanted a living memorial dedicated to him and music was what I would use.  

I’ll never forget the first time I met Joe in the studio.  I was immediately put at ease by his easy going, kind of gentle nature.  He sat and listened quietly, and I closed my eyes and sang for my son.  It was such a difficult thing to do.  I opened my eyes and looked at Joe.  He said, “Mmmm.  Well, you know, I think I know where you want to go with this.”  Then he started to play his guitar to accompany the song.  Then he added a drum and a few more instruments.  The song is simple but perfect.

Over the course of the next 4 months we recorded 7 more songs, which Joe tells me is a remarkable feat, especially considering the fact that I had no experience with recording a song, never ind a whole CD.  Joe was the remarkable one though (to me) because he could listen to my songs and arrange the music so beautifully that I was often moved to tears at what was created in the studio.  It meant life to me.  Life for the memory of my son.  I just knew I wanted to get the album done before my son’s 22nd birthday on January 29th, 2010.  We finished the CD, and I named it Whisper On the Wind, which is the title of one of the songs.   

I created a YouTube channel and made a video of that first song in Oct. 2009.  I wanted to broadcast to the world how much my son was loved and how much he meant to me and to everyone who knew him.  Two years later, his video has almost 35,000 views on it, and I think I can rest assured that my son will not be forgotten.  His life lives on in all of my music, which is always dedicated to him.  Our paths are forever joined, my son and I, not only because he is my son and I, his mother, but because we share this musical journey, one that now fills me with purpose and brightens my life.  My music has become an extension of my son’s love for me, and as I walk this path without him in the physical world (a path which is often filled with lonliness and pain of missing him), I simply discover a new topic to write a song about and my heart is once again filled with joy and love and the energy of my beautiful angel son, my baby, Carmen.   I would give my life if I could undo that car accident which took my son’s life in 2008, but in the ashes of my grief I found my voice and a reason to go on.  

You can listen to all my songs on my website.  My music is all available on CdBaby & iTunes. 
This is the link to purchase my CD dedicated to my son, Whisper On the Wind:  
 http://www.cdbaby.com/AlbumDetails.aspx?AlbumID=SharenWendyRobertson

And on iTunes
Whisper On the Wind

You’re My Angel on YouTube  (original song by Sharen)

        

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.