Stella_story1Who would have thought we would celebrate having our Thulani dog, Stella Bella in our lives for one whole year. No one who saw her after she came to us could have hoped she would be with us for even a few months, let alone a whole year. Stella is the Thulani doggie that lived in a field for four months. Then she stayed with a loving family for a month before coming into the Thulani Program and into our lives. Stella’s mammary tumors were cancerous and malignant and x-rays showed the cancer had spread to her lungs when she first came to us on January 19, 2012. Her tumors grew, and bled on occasion and one day didn’t stop bleeding. Dr. Roos, at Adobe Animal Hospital gave us two options for Stella; either have her put down or have surgery to remove her tumors. GSRNC paid for the operation and it took Stella months to fully recover.

Yet Stella recovered and continued to thrive. She integrated herself into our permanent Thulani foster home with a determination. That determination made it obvious she had not only the will to survive, but to also thrive and teach us a thing or two.

On January 19, 2013 we celebrated Stella’s one year anniversary in our home by treating her to a large McDonald’s French fries. Her 8 year old sister Ashley and her one and a half year old brother Wolfie shared her anniversary fries with her.

Stella_story2_3448Each dog brings its own special characteristics that endear and challenge us. While Stella can be quite skittish in certain situations, she can handle physical pain and discomfort with a toughness that surprises us.  Stella is extremely affectionate and loves to cuddle, yet every time her foster dad approaches me for a hug and calls me Sweetie Pie, Stella runs over and barks at him and sometimes squeezes in between us, in a protective manner. Stella loves being a part of a three-dog pack; she is the fun police of the three dogs and an integral part of her pack. Stella chases the dog that chases the ball. We watch Stella’s sister Ashley tolerate Stella’s spirited addetude (not misspelled) that Ashley would never tolerate from another female. We theorize Ashley and Wolfie know Stella has a special need and let her get away with more than usual.  Stella loves watermelon and will only eat it when served to her on a fork. Stella is extremely enthusiastic every time she sees the dog food come out. She runs back and forth to her crate knowing her tummy will soon be full. When Stella hears “crate time” she runs to her crate and stays there waiting for her food, tail wagging. Stella knows the crackle sound of goodie treat bags and comes running. It only took Stella a week to learn the treat drawer had moved up one level, so she only comes running if the new top treat drawer is pulled open. Stella can catch flying popcorn with the precision of a Ninja. Stella loves to lie next to her big sister Ashley.

Stella_story3_3450Having Stella in our lives has reminded us to accept things as they come and be grateful.

Having Stella in our lives has reminded us that each day is so very precious.

Having Stella in our lives has reminded us to never give up on what we believe in.

Having Stella in our lives has reminded us that love can indeed trump the odds.

Happy Anniversary Stella Bella!