We hit the road nice and early and in good cheer. Today was Valentine’s Day! We spent much of our riding time discussing possible names for the dog, checking our Facebook name suggestions, and trying then out on her. We were hoping for a name that had to do somehow with this ride. Maybe Tagalong, Journey, Hope, etc. But she is such a tough yet delicate and graceful dog that some of the names we had been talking about had a harsher sound to them that just didn’t fit her. There was a puppy several weeks ago that the owner didn’t want and we were hoping it followed us, but it didn’t. We were going to call it Tagalong. But that name just didn’t fit this dog.
We came to a short section of busy road, and being somewhat attached to her already, we didn’t want to see her get hit. So we got creative and took the halter off Apache since he didn’t need it while I was riding him anyhow, and used it like a harness on the dog. Richard tied all the horses together so I could lead them and got off and walked. He expected a challenging training session when she showed the classic signs of never having been on a leash, but after two or three half hearted attempts to pull away, she perked right up and started walking on the halter ‘leash’ like it was second nature- just as happy and light as could be! She didn’t know how to heel and wandered around a bit, but she still walked along just fine. We are totally in awe of her learning ability. It’s like we barely need to train her; she just does what we need her to do. We thought this dog was either freakishly smart or simply born to be our dog!
Not too long after that, we got back on a quiet road and were stopped by a curious passer-by. We had a nice conversation with him in the middle of the road and he informed us that he was a dog breeder. He informed us about what to expect with an unspayed female and wished us the best with our new dog. He commented that she was really quite beautiful, as did many other people who had seen her in the last couple days. In fact, it seemed to be the most repeated comment. “What a beautiful dog!” Our thoughts exactly.
That evening’s host let us set up camp inside the heated garage of a vacant rental home. He was thrilled to bring us fried chicken for supper as well as a very thoughtful gift of Valentine chocolates. We were surprised and very touched at that gesture. It was a sweet gift- literally!
Once again that evening, we heard “That’s a pretty dog!” I said to Richard, “How about ‘Bella?’ It means beautiful. Besides, it’s a sweet and beautiful name.” Then I turned to her and yelled, “Bella!” She turned and looked at us. That decided it. We named her ‘Bella.’ What a special Valentine’s gift! We have a dog! Ok, this is how we really feel; WE HAVE A DOG! WE HAVE A DOG! WE HAVE A DOOOOOOG!!!!!!!!!!