Every so often, an animal enters my life at just the right time. At a time when I'm most vulnerable - when I need them most.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m profoundly impacted by every animal I meet. If we open our hearts and minds, and observe acutely, there is something to learn from each and every one of these beautiful, intelligent beings.
But there are others who enter my life for such obvious reasons, that a blindfold and a brick wall couldn’t prevent me from seeing why.
I met Stella in the Fall after her dad booked a photoshoot as a surprise Christmas gift for his wife.
How cool is that?
Seriously, if David did this for me, my heart would explode in a thousand happy pieces.
Not only did I fall in love with Stella's endearing personality and giant smile; I met her at a point in my life when my heart needed healing. Three days before her shoot, I lost my sweet kitty, Dori, to lymphoma and shortly after her shoot, I lost my dear friend, Claudia, to an aggressive brain tumor. During that time period, we had a serious health scare with Clooney (he’s all better now, thankfully!), and I had been struggling with the daily headlines of anger and hate. I’m super sensitive to negativity and by Q4 of 2017, I was exhausted.
Then came Stella. Miss Stella, who greeted me like she’d known me her entire life and kissed me like a long-lost love. All she really cared about was enjoying every single moment with every ounce of enthusiasm and happiness she could muster… and she could muster A LOT.
She loved life with her whole heart - her giant, whale-sized heart. She loved her ball. She loved to run, retrieve and attack her stick. She loved her dad. And he loved her back in that dad-like way that turns any wife’s heart to goo. I know because I experience it every day when I watch David and Clooney together.
Sadly, shortly after our shoot, Stella was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and has since passed away. I didn’t see it coming. At all. When I received the email regarding her diagnosis, I was in utter shock. Not Stella. No way.
A week before she passed away, I had a chance to visit her.
I braced myself. I hadn’t seen her since her diagnosis and was expecting ugly alligator tears to take over my body. I couldn’t deal with another loss.
But when I saw her, I couldn’t be sad. She wouldn’t let me! She was too stinking happy to see me.
She greeted me with the same sloppy kisses and butt wiggles as the first time we met. She made sure I acknowledged her ball. And her happiness was contagious. I instantly felt my heart balloon with joy and found myself as excited about her ball as she was. Genuinely. I wasn’t faking it for her sake. I really was excited about her ball. And about her joy.
If she knew she was sick, she didn’t care. She was going to get the most out this life and expected me to as well.
I am immensely grateful to Stella for entering my life when she did, and I look at her pictures every single day. No joke. She’s my constant reminder to live in the moment, focus on the positive, and love fully with all of my heart.
Rest in Peace, Beautiful Stella.
Thank you for gracing us with your love, joy and kindness…you are in my heart, always and forever.