Remembering Bella (2004-2019)
Canine Interview with a Wise Old Pooch. Hello Humans, I am dedicating this to a dear friend who traveled to the rainbow bridge,Bella Ashenden. She was the handler of Peter Ashenden for over 14 years before she passed over to the other side.
I’m going to share an interview I had with Bella shortly before she passed. I’ve transcribed it below for you.
Ruby: Hey Bella, you are much older and wiser than I. Can you give me some pointers that will help me grow up to be like you, or at least to be the best me I can be?
Bella: Where do I start! I never thought at 9-weeks-old I would find my human soulmate. I did when Peter selected me to adopt. You have so much to learn. It’s hard to pick the pointers that will be the most helpful for you. Hmmm. Well there was a time when dad and I traveled to San Francisco.
I was so jet lagged I fell fast asleep when we got to our hotel room. I vaguely remember hearing dad and his friend Allen talking about going out for the evening and leaving me in the room of the Omni hotel since I was sleeping soundly.
Humans always think we are sleeping, but most of the time we just look asleep and are listening intently. You probably already know this by now. Anyway, they left. When they didn’t come back right away, I became alarmed. So, what could I do but start barking at the top of my lungs.
It didn’t take long before a creepy gentleman came in, swoop me up and carried me off to lock up. Yes, I was in Omni hotel jail. I think I had been placed under arrest. An hour later, who shows up but dad and his friend Allen, both looking a little sheepish.
I think I got them in trouble but that’s what they get for leaving me alone. Dad learned his lesson. He never left me alone again, so barking turned out to be a good intervention. Keep that in mind if you get left alone.
Ruby: Thanks Bella. Very good advice. I have a question for you about furniture. For some strange reason, I keep getting removed from furniture, just when I’m getting comfortable. Do you have any ideas on how I can have reasonable access to sofas and chairs?
Bella: As a matter of fact, I do. When dad and I first went to work at Optum we went in thinking I would be fine since I had my service vest on. I got comfortable on a chair and settled in for a long boring meeting at the conference we were attending.
Then I overheard the Optum boss saying, ‘That dog will never sit on a piece of Optum furniture again!’ Actually, by the time we moved on from Optum years later, I had sat on more Optum furniture than the boss. Very comfortable.
Ruby: I know you have done a lot of traveling on planes. What can you tell me about that?
Bella: Just be sweet. The flight attendants often told me they would rather have a plane full of dogs like me than most of the humans on the plane. Traveling can be fun and adventurous if you remember not to be unruly.
The flight attendants don’t care for that! My soulmate Peter always made sure my needs were being met. We traveled two to three weeks per month and I enjoyed each new place we were to work at!
Ruby: Thanks very much Bella. See you on the other side.
Note: Peter Ashenden is currently serving as the president of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), is a dynamic keynote speaker, a member of several mental health boards including our sponsor.
Baltic Street AEH, and committees, acted as both a commissioner of the Certification Commission of the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) and the executive director for the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) in New York State.