Bella is 10!

This little dog is 10 years old! 70 in dog years, and still as spunky as ever.

Bellas birthday

Since chicken is her favorite thing in the world -the Pilot and I joke that if we were made of chicken, Bella would have eaten us a long time ago- we always said that when she turned 10, we’d get an entire chicken, just for her. We were a few weeks late with the celebration, but I don’t think she had a problem with that. 

Bellas birthday 7

Bellas birthday 3

(Of course, she shared with Caro. And to Bell’s dismay, she did not get to eat the entire chicken. I took some photos before giving her a maltipoo-sized serving, and we’ve been adding it to top the dogs’ food this week.)

Bellas birthday 4

Bellas birthday 5

This little dog…

Bell at jungle java

Is not a dog, she’s a person. When you look Bella in the eyes, she looks into your soul. She fully understands English, and if you even slyly say the words “chicken” or “dog park” in random conversation, she’s crawling up your legs, whimpering with excitement.

She knows when you’re hurting, sick… or pregnant. She’ll crawl into your lap, in a perfect Bella ball, and rest her head on your leg.

With caroline and bell She’s a protector. Sometimes her yappiness drives me up the wall, but she’s always guarding the bassinet, will look out for Liv, and bark at the slightest sound if the Pilot is away.


She was the runt of her litter. She was a Valentine’s gift from the Pilot, and while I was studying in my apartment, I looked up to see her tiny face peeking from the doorway, wet, and wrapped up in a T-shirt. The owners didn’t speak English, and the Pilot used his broken Spanish with an Italian accent to ask them if he could buy this puppy. They gave her a bath, dried her off with a T-shirt, and she was ours. She weighed just over 3 lbs when we brought her home.

Baby bell

Since then, we’ve had so many adventures together. I feel like Bella knows me better than anyone else, and owning my crazy dog lady status: she’s one of my very best friends.

10 years is a long time to know someone, and Bella has been with us for so many life-changing events: multiple moves (in an apartment with friends, a studio apartment on my own, in Fayetteville, Valdosta, Orlando, Tucson, and San Diego), college graduation, losing loved ones, multiple deployments and TDYs, pregnancies and bringing our babies home, meltdowns, euphoria, vacations, the list goes on and on. I feel like I grew up with her. 

Bell at the dog beach

She went from being a little fluffball who’d bite my ankles, to a wise and sassy pup… who never gets enough love or attention. 😉 

Happy 10 years, Bella. Fingers crossed we have at least 10 more. 

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  1. Happy birthday Bella! What a cutie pie! I can’t believe you gave her an entire chicken! Lol!

  2. Happy birthday Bella!! This post makes me want to leave work and go adopt a dog RIGHT. NOW.

  3. That is the cutest thing ever! I was hoping to see a dismantled chicken from the dog. It almost looks like she didn’t know what to do with it.

    • Fitnessista says:

      the cutest thing is that she was very apprehensive at first like she didn’t know if she was really allowed to eat it. then, she licked all of the broth out of it before going after the meat

  4. Jacquelyn says:

    This totally made me tear up!! I just love Bella and I fully understand your love and obsession for her. There is nothing like a puppy’s love! Haley birthday Bella!!!

  5. So sweet! My dog is a bit over 11, and old dogs are just the best. They really are your best friend; they see you through so much in life, your constant!

  6. AWWWWWW Puppy! She is so freaking cute Happy Birthday little one! This post makes me excited for all the years together with my puppy who will be 1 next month. She has already been through so much with us it’s comforting knowing she will be by my side through the next decade.

  7. I love this post! Happy Birthday, Bella! 🙂

    My Shih Tzu is 10 years old – he will be 11 in June.

  8. SO precious!!! Happy birthday to dear Bella.

  9. She’s so cute! It’s so amazing how close you can get to a dog:)

  10. Happy Birthday, Bella! Was she mad when you took the chicken away? My dog is a chicken lover as well. At 6 months, he climbed up and ate an entire rotisserie chicken off the counter, bones and all. We frantically called the vet but turned out, he was 100% fine. Didn’t even get a stomachache!

    • Fitnessista says:

      no but she growled at caro when we let her come and eat some, too haha
      omg! that is so funny. it reminds me of the time viesa (our shiva inu) ate an entire yellow cake

  11. Happy Birthday Bella! You are one beautiful, lucky, blessed dog! I hope you enjoy all the chicken and get to go to the dog park and beach this week :). Our pup is about 3 (unsure as he is a rescue), he is most definitely one of my best friends. Cheers!

  12. Love it <3 I have a Bella too, but she's a boxer. And she is definitely my best friend 🙂

  13. AWWW Happy Birthday to her!!! she sounds like an awesome friend! You are very lucky to have her Gina 🙂 I am sure she knows what an amazing family you guys are and she appreciates it to!

  14. Oh my goodness to her puppy picture and also guarding the bassinette. How precious! Happy Birthday to Bella!!

  15. I love this post, Gina!!! We have a Maltese who is 10 1/2 and I totally feel the same way! Happy birthday Bella, and we hope she has at least 10 more to go as well (just like our pup!). 🙂

  16. AWWW she is so cute. The last pic she looks like she is smiling.

  17. Happy birthday Bella! What a lovely post. Dogs bring so much joy and love to our lives.

  18. Happy Birthday baby girl!

  19. Animals truly are family. I’m obsessed with my Punkin. Happy birthday Bella!!

  20. Happy birthday, Bella!

  21. OMG!!! Crying at work – I too had a little dog named Bella and she was everything to me that you’ve just described and more. Happy Birthday to that sassy pup – you all are very lucky to have found each other. OX & a hug to Bella today !!!! Gina (from Mass)

  22. I’m such a sap when it comes to dogs and this made me tear up hard. Happy birthday beautiful little pup!

  23. That pic of her watching over the bassinet is one of my all-time faves! I can totally relate – I love my dog more than words can express. <3

  24. Awwww this was so sweet! Happy birthday to you spunky lil thang Bella!

  25. This has me crying right now! I just had to put down my sweet 14 year old dog, and I miss her so much it hurts. Bella is lucky to be so loved.

  26. This post made me so happy! I adopted a rescue pup about 4 months ago and I can’t believe how much I love him. Everyday I’m telling him in baby talk that he’s the best/sweetest/smartest/most handsome dog in the world. Can’t imagine life without this furball!

  27. Wendy Heath says:

    Happy birthday, Bella! 🙂 My all time favorite post you did about her was the one with the picture where she’s staring the Pilot down like “what do you MEAN you’re out of my food?” made me laugh for HOURS….

  28. Happy birthday Bella! Talk about ageing gracefully; she’s a beautiful little lady! She’s lucky to have such a loving family. 🙂

  29. how sweet! I feel the same way about my new pup 🙂 hope I have him for a long, long time!

  30. Happy birthday Bella! The chicken is hilarious!

    Sara | Lipstick, Lattes & Lunges

  31. Birthday hat!! Oh! Happy Birthday, Bella. You look darn good for a 70 year old. I hope you’re granted many many many years with your family. =)

  32. Aw, Happy Birthday Bella! I really wish I knew when Roadie’s birthday was. We should have at least made one up by now – I’m pretty sure he’d be turning 7. #furparentfail. I’m sure she loved the chicken! <3

    • Fitnessista says:

      haha well we celebrated like 3 weeks late, so i’m sure roadie wouldn’t mind if you just picked a random date 😉

  33. OMG how SWEET! Happy Birthday Bella! LOVE the chicken and loved the whole tribute—I feel like Bella is Roxy’s canine soul sister and it made me teary just reading this. XO

  34. omg this makes me want to cry! Happy birthday Bella!

  35. This is so sweet…happy birthday Bella!

  36. Happy Birthday, Bella! So sweet!

  37. Happy Birthday, Bella! Going to hug my pup now <3

  38. She is so sweet! My maltese-chihuahua lived to be 17 and looked and acted like a puppy until her last month. Lot’s of great times ahead for the two of you! xo

  39. Birthday chicken!! What a fantastic idea! I will definitely have to do that for my pups in June (although I feel that the big one would just grab the chicken and run!)

  40. Happy Birthday, Bella! She’s so cute! That picture of her with her little t-shirt was adorable 🙂

  41. Happy Birthday Bella! Pups are the best!!

  42. Happy Birthday, Bella! May she have many more healthy and happy years. 🙂

  43. Catherine says:

    Happy birthday Bella! Haha how cool that you gave her a whole chicken! Our Barney turned 11 this year, but he’s still as lively and active as a puppy! Wishing Bella many many happy years to come!

  44. that sweet little smiley face!

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