Around this time last year, I remember waking up to a little puggy staring at me from the foot of the bed. She hadn't moved since I fell asleep, she never did, except maybe to snuggle closer. She will always be the pug that solidified the place of the breed in my heart forever: Harley. I miss Harley, and I want to think she's in a better place. I know she is somebody's angel, but today I still miss her dearly. 

I long to spoil her like a dog should be spoiled this time of year. I want to take her to the groomer for her holiday pampering (or torturing, as Bella probably saw it), bring her home a new toy just because I was thinking about her, and feed her some special treats, after all, it is the holiday weekend. I pass by the places I thought would be the one I'd find her at, houses where she'd be waiting for me, galloping to the door towards the familiar sound of my voice. I try not to remember the alleyways with their high grasses, and the fear I felt every time I peered under a dark place a dog might seek as a final resting place in the cold, winter night.

Everyday, I thought it would be the day. She had to come home, because I didn't give up. It had to be worth it in the end, the exhaustion, the grief, merciless anticipation, and cruel people. If only I went out, one more time, that would be the time. 

It didn't happen.

But now, I can only hope she's happy. Just like the pug sleeping beside me in her light purple winter coat , throwing the occasional glance asking, "Why you so sad?"

Her tummy is full, and she's warm and content in the same room, the same bed, where I said goodbye forever to my Harley. I remember a different pug named Bella that waddled into my life almost a year ago. Bella Smella was her name, and she lived up to it. She's still my fat girl, but before, this fat girl couldn't jump into an SUV,  or even onto my bed. Now I marvel (sometimes scold) at her as she leaps across the Texas limestone, whether it be to cross a creek or up onto the modest "cliffs" that peek out over the dog park. She has an attitude problem, and it's not okay, but it's an attitude problem that has been cultivated by hugs and cuddles, and a lack of discipline from a mommy that crumbles when she's thrown those puppy dog eyes.

One year later, I still have hope, but for something more. I hope for the comfort and happiness for a loyal friend lost, but never forgotten. I also hope for a future full of pug kisses, pug farts, and many years of Bella doing what she does best...be "bella", and making my life a little more so. 

Happy Holidays and New Year, from my family to yours, from Bella and Desiree.

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Comment by Pam & Pugs :0) on December 29, 2011 at 1:19pm

What a beautifully written memory.  So sad, but such a tribute.  I'm so sorry for your loss of your loyal friend.  I read your update on Bella, thank God she was in the backyard calling for you.  :0)

Comment by Desiree Rios on December 25, 2011 at 8:29pm

Thanks ya'll, Bella is making this time of year a lot better....but today she gave us a fright! She wandered out, and I thought she was asleep on the couch. I heard her old pug bark (Bruff bruff!!) and opened the front door, but she wasn't there. We went searching for her and my mom ran down the street in her slippers. Before I could find the car keys, one of the kids yelled, "She's in the backyard she's in the backyard come back!" Bella had somehow ended up in the back yard, and was barking to be let in. Merry Christmas to everyone, and best wishes from me and Bella, escape artist. 

Comment by Mike and Cherokee Compton on December 24, 2011 at 10:13pm

Merry Christmas to you's as well. Just want to say, do NOT give up hope! When my boys were young we had a Benji lookin dog & we even named him Benji because he looked just like the one on the movie "Benji". But one day he got out & ran away, My boys were so heartbroken. But I will have you know that ONE day a yr. (almost exactly a yr. ) later someone knocked on our door. My oldest son darted in front of me & got to the door first & he starts screaming. I ran to the door & there...... was our Benji. Yip a total yr. later. So keep the hope. Who would of ever believed Benji would have found his way home after a yr. And by the way, no person was at the door. It was Benji knocking w/his paw to get in.

Comment by mary milton on December 24, 2011 at 9:09pm

oh goodness, this made me sad but happy Christmas is a hard time for me as well as I miss my Milo , but have two little  farts that keep me busy I call Calla "calla smella" so thought it is funny that is what you call Bella anyways have a wonderful merry christmas!

Comment by Di's spoiled kids on December 24, 2011 at 6:44am

Desiree I feel you pain, and like you I hope Harley is in a happy place. Harley will always have a special place in your heart, but please let Bella help fill that void you feel for Harley. 

Happy Holidays

Diane Linus and Lizzy

Comment by Pugman! on December 23, 2011 at 8:26pm

From the heart.....to the heart.

Comment by Karen Pug Mommy on December 23, 2011 at 8:00pm

What a loving tribute to Harley.  I will light a candle for her this Christmas

Comment by Pug Chick on December 23, 2011 at 4:43pm

Oh I knew I should have gotten up and got a tissue before I read this.  I know you miss Harley so much.  So glad you have Bella Smella now.  Give her a cuddle from me.  Merry Christmas

Comment by Jackie Hiras on December 23, 2011 at 2:50pm

Oh Desiree this is so touching and I can't even imagine what you must be feeling.  I hope Bella is helping bring you joy and comfort during this time of year.  Happy Holidays!

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