Each evening around 10pm I set off for a last slow walk with the dogs. They all enjoy it, splashing through the mud and unconcerned about the dark, given their eyesight is so much better than ours. Bella, the matriarch of my Labrador family, is always determined to join in despite her aching hips, slowly hopping to her favourite corners of grass. There is, and always was, no hurry and it was up to her what she wished to do.
Returning inside she would lie down next to her granddaughters Stella and Freya. It seemed a better option all around rather than her previous determined approach to haul herself upstairs to come and sleep with us. As she got lighter with age and frailty, I had sometimes carried her up and down though this was not a totally happy solution for either of us.
One evening at the end of last week however she couldn’t come out and drink in puddles, looking around at this beautiful dim landscape. Her wonderful heart has given out and this major part of my life has gone. Even knowing it was coming has not prepared me for the huge loss perhaps because she gave so much love. Bella has been a calm, loving centre of life for the whole family and for those who work and live here, as she pottered slowly across a path, listening and smiling, her eyes knowing my thoughts.
Unlike most of us, dogs never seem to complain. They look up and wag their tails and the transparency of their behaviour creates such trust that I am not sure we match up to it.
Just over seven years ago Bella had a litter of puppies: ten amazing little crawling, nuzzling squeaking puppies. She was a wonderful mother, ever patiently caring for her babies. It definitely turned her coat whiter and, after 10 to 12 weeks, the puppies began to find new homes with various friends. Two of them, Alfie and Scooby Doo, stayed at Highclere with us. Many did not go far. Sally in the gift shop, for example, has Barney, Jo who lives across the fields has Molly and one little girl named Finse went to a girlfriend, Karine, and began a new life in the world of Viking Cruises.
A series of illustrated children’s books about Finse and her travels with Karine followed with Mummy Bella ever in the background. (The money raised from the books goes to a children’s education charity.) Bella adored staying with Finse and Karine. It was rather more peaceful than her other home here with all our other dogs and, in true Nordic (Viking) fashion, she enjoyed a little salmon now and again with Karine which she probably found much tastier than the turmeric and olive oil I would add to her food.
Kissed by her granddaughters Stella and Freya, as well as half over balanced by them, she had company and amusement to the last but then Labradors adore people. Everyone stopped to cuddle her and have a word. My little nephew’s idea of happiness was just to sit with her and stroke her for as long as possible. Could she speak? Well yes in her own fashion. Did she listen? Yes – far better than most of us. She observed what was around her, accepted the compromises of living with humans and gave far more than she asked for.
I will so miss the familiar figure, the kind eyes and her simply being there. I am lucky to have known such a special dog and grateful to be living with her children and grandchildren.
So sorry for your loss. I lost my 12 year old Great Dane a few years ago and I still have a little hole in my life
This reminds me to treasure our almost 12 year old yellow lab, Summit. He is aging rapidly now and it is hard to imagine our life once he passes. Thanks for sharing your love story. My daughter and I were at High Clere in the summer 2017, we were so excited to see you riding your bike with your dogs following behind – very special memory.
I do that each day. In 2017 Bella would have been bringing up the rear of the troupe.
What lovely words, they leave such a empty space when they leave us, ive lost my horse Ginny and my Bertie my little Daxie this year and i miss them both terribly a day doesnt go buy i dont think about them , Run free Bella xx
Lord hear our prayers! May Bella Rest In Peace. What a wonderful tribute to her!
DoGspeed, dearly loved Bella.
So sorry to hear about your loss of Bella. Having had 4 dogs each time one of them reached that point I cried so much.
Wie traurig, ich habe letztes Jahr meine 15 Jahre alte Mischlingshündin verloren und trauere immer noch. Ich kann Ihre Trauer verstehen.
Ein Hund gehört zur Familie!
Beautiful words about such a dear family member. We lost our 13.5 year old staffy Grace 3 weeks ago so I feel your loss. You will always have those special memories to treasure and my what a legacy she leaves in her children and grandchildren . Xx
I am so sorry for your loss. It is never easy to deal with.
May your heart start to mend.
So sorry. I met Bella when I attended the garden party in 2017. What a wonderful life you gave her. God bless
My sincere condolences. I have list many a beloved ani.al, of various types, over the years. It never is easy. My heart to you….
Thank you for sharing your sadness and joy with us. We are with you in spirit dear Lady and wishing you all the love and healing prayers that your heart can hold as this chapter ends and a new one begins. Until then …
The Rainbow Bridge
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The longing and sadness while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.
Sorry for your loss. Heartwarming to read how much she was loved. Beautiful put into words.
So sorry for such a great loss. Lost my own Grace in June 2019 and will forever have a hole in my heart. I have however moved from grieving to gratitude for being blessed by her loving presence for not enough years. Dog people are the best!
Sorry to hear of Bella’s passing been there myself . Her spirit will live on as with her children grandchildren . My thoughts are with you family xxx
So sorry for your loss,losing a pet is like losing a part of your family, I lost both of mine last year. Just remember her spirit will always be near.
The tears come to my eyes, reading your beautiful words. I am so sorry your beautiful Bella is gone. Blessings.
Oh my goodness. I’m so very sorry for your precious loss. So happy that you have her daughters. Our pets give us so much comfort.
All the best.
Bells was obviously very loved ,she was a beautiful companion. Dogs always give unconditional love ,we could all learn so much from them. RIP amazing Bella .
I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear Bella. She will be missed and she was blessed to have your love and devotion.❤️
So sorry to hear of your loss Lady Carnavon.
I lost my dear Georgia, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling retriever a few months ago. We love these creatures so very deeply it is a loss that hurts beyond words. Those who have loved and lost a pet know this all too well.
You are lucky you still have paws about and the smells of where they have been. Bella’s legacy will live on.
Dear Countess, I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much it hurts to lose a cherished pet. Back in August of this year, my husband and I had to put to sleep our 20 month old Westie, Fiona, due to a genetic congenital kidney defect. Fortunately, we still have Flora, her sister/ litter mate!
My beloved (I don’t use that term lightly) lab mix named Nikki crossed to the Rainbow bridge in April just 10 days after my father-in-law passed away at 92. Nikki was 11 and had succumbed to lung cancer. She was my rock giving freely her love and affection even in my worst days of PTSD. We haven’t yet found another dog to carry on: no-dog can replace another. The pain of two great losses has given us pause, but I’m hoping that my wife agrees to have another dog this winter. I can’t remember a bad day with Nikki. That is what is so magical and so amazing about dogs. I soon hope to develop another love with another dog. In the mean time we still smile when we fondly recall her sitting at the top of the stairs of our deck, sitting across my lap and even carrying on full conversations with us.
I’m certain that you will have another, in addition to your other two pups, to carry on with love and devotion. While I’m sorry for your loss, I am glad you had such happy times with your dog.
No matter how long they are with us, it never is long enough. You’ve written of her with such heart that I know she will live on forever in yours. May that bring you comfort.
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Time goes quicker as they slow up
I so so understand you loss.
What a lovely and heartfelt post. Anyone who follows you on Instagram and reads the blogs certainly knows how close you are to your wonderful furry family. My true, deepest condolences to you and the rest of the family. I’ve recently been chosen as the proud owner to Bonny, a 15 week old Vizsla puppy (I believe dogs normally choose you rather than the other way around) she has changed our lives completely and we’re so excited for the years ahead. There is always that thought that you bury deep in the back of your mind about the inevitable old age. Knowing in the short space of time the joy Bonny has bought to us, I’m sure you have hundreds of wonderful memories of Bella which will always be so very cherished.
They change lives – and for the better
So sorry for your loss of your companion. I know that my own pet’s life is soon coming to a close. I dread it!
I am so sorry for you
Je suis peinée pour vous et trouve que votre hommage est très touchant et tellement vrai!
Lady Carnarvon…..so very sorry for your loss. A piece of your heart has left you. Being a dog lover, especially of labradors, I identify with your loss.
Thank you !
It shatters your heart to lose a pet, that should live longer. We are so sorry for your loss.
So sorry for the loss of such a blessing in a companion as Bella. These companions that give so freely their love and loyalty are such a gift.
Thank you for eloquently sharing the story of Bella’s passing. I recently lost my 14-year-old English Springer Spaniel. Your description of their transparency in never complaining was perfect.
Beautifully written….. deeply felt. It took nearly five years for me to get over the death of my black lab. Even now I can picture her running around our yard and through the woods. She loved life. She loved people….and we all loved her. We have her buried on a high spot in our yard where she can watch over the house and us.
Thank you for sharing Bella’s story with us.
I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Bella. She was so beautiful.
I’m glad she gave you so many sweet times and left her sweet grands to do the same.
Qué pena perder una compañera tan amorosa!! Sin embargo dejó mucho amor a la familia que la quiso y cuidó. Siento la pérdida, mi hija y yo tenemos a Marie una gata callejera que adoptamos y que nos alegra y acompaña en la vida; aún sabiendo que el tiempo se termina porque ya tiene 14 años, no queremos imaginar cuando no esté. La disfrutamos y mimamos cada día. Imagino que así fue con Bella.
So sorry for your loss..I too know the bittersweet twilight of a dogs life. My old English cocker has been on home”hospice” for 2 years, growing more and more fragile..but what a fighting, loyal, determined Spirit! I wake up every morning checking to see if my old friend is still with me….today he is….so thank you for sharing such a tribute to someone who left a wonderful legacy and such warm smiles in your heart.
Thank you for sharing.
Dogs become a very big part of our lives .
This post will have brought tears to many eyes, and stirred memories in many minds. We lost our golden Lab, Meggy, a few years ago, and also lost the sounds that came with her. With sympathy in your grief…
no longer the lap lap, lap lap, lap lap
as you drink
from your icecream box
in the garage beneath our bedroom
no more hearing you
flapping your ears
yelping in your dreams
no click of your claws on the floor
no thump as you throw your head down on the carpet
no bash of your tail against the narrow cupboards and chair legs
no puffing and panting
no noises from the back door
getting bumped and pushed as you moved, pressed up against it in your sleep
it is silent now
there were not many sounds that you made
I hardly ever recall you whining or barking
we did most of the talking, whistling, laughing, calling
no reason anymore to speak all those words and say all those names, cookiechop
no need to slap our legs encouragingly
or clap our hands together for you
I used to say there was no point in saying anything to a dog so you may as well say it twice
you may as well say it twice
we will never ever forget you Meg
and I’m glad I know
how much each of us loved you
also I’m glad
because I think
you knew it too
So sorry to read about your loss. I had a miniature schnauzer for eleven years, Titus, and when his heart gave out, we all wept his passing. He was a gift to have, and we still miss him.
So sorry for your loss. We lost our beautiful Misty in October she was 11 1/2. I miss her every day. She was part of our family and it seems so empty without her. I miss so much about her even her tail which used to curl over and way like mad when she greeted people. She was a true friend and gave us so many happy memories. At least as a family we all got to say our goodbyes. Life will never be the same but shes in our hearts.
Brought back memories of my own favorite yellow lab as he aged. Thank you for this sharing.
So sorry for your lost. My faithful companion was with me for almost 18 years.
Dogs are guardian angels sent by God to protect us and keep us company. We treasure their presence but why is it so painful when the time comes for them to bid us goodbye? I lost Lacey my beautiful English Springer Spaniel a good 20 years ago and still grieve for her. Run freely over the Rainbow Bridge dear Bella!
So sorry for your loss. I have had the joy of two labs in my life. And I sadly the heartache of saying goodbye to them. Hugs!
Bella was a beautiful companion and friend. When they have to leave us, we still have our memories, but our hearts are left with a big hole and as you know, grief is not an easy affair. So very thankful that Bella’s legacy lives on in her children. She will always be with you in your heart. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.
So sorry for your loss. I lost two of my beautiful dogs this year. Isabel hung on until we told her it’s alright to go and be in peace. I know how you feel. What a beautiful tribute to Bella. May she rest in peace.
I can understand how painful is when some of these special friends leave us. She’ll be always by your side. A big hug.
How lovely to have such sweet memories but how sad to have to say good bye. Thank you for sharing your life. I am so very sorry as you will miss your beloved puppy so much.
I’m so sorry. I’m sure you know that one of the most important responsibilities of being a fur mum is letting your fur babies go when their time has come. It is never easy. As we say in my faith, may her memory be a blessing.
In bits here reading this So sorry to hear about Bella, it’s just the hardest thing in the world losing our feline and canine family members. When ever I have lost a pet I console myself with the fact that they had a good life and were so loved and I’m sure that’s the case with your Bella xx
Lovely to hear about Bella and what a wonderful life, dog she was. Thinking of you all.
So sorry to hear about Bella’s passing. Dogs leave such a hole in our heart when they die, but fortunately, live on in all our memories of the wonderful times we have shared with them and the unconditional love they have provided to us.
Such a loving tribute to a wonderful friend! Thank you and for the many great photos also. It always brightens our Monday mornings to read your words.
So sorry for your loss! Thank you so very much for the beautiful story of her life! I lost my Scottish Terrier after 14 wonderful years , she passed seven years ago and my heart is still broken! May all of our beloved friends that crossed the rainbow bridge Rest In Peace !
What a lovely, moving tribute to Bella.
I’m so sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful spirit. xo
She was indeed.
We are saddened for your loss.
As I sit reading your lovely words, I have a best friend on my lap… and I know how much you love Bella and always will…such a dog is a gift from heaven. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
My heart was breaking as I read this. I am remembering all the wonderful critters I have been lucky enough to share my life with. Curled up on the sofa with me is the current geriatric cat Cornelius. When I had to put my horse down years ago, the veterinarian sent me this lovely poem and I took comfort in it.
“We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan.”
― Irving Townsend
Thank you – that is beautiful.
My heart aches for your loss…Such a special person for each of you.I have several empty collars as well,but my heart is ever full…Blessings from Idaho.
It is so hard to lose a treasured pet. When you get them you know one day they will break your heart but they will be with you always. Loved your story. And hearing from you every Monday
I know how devastating it is to lose a good friend, because that is what they are, much more than pets. Animals go above and beyond in their loyalty and love. She will always be in her favorite corner of the grass and the puddles she loved, you will sense her presence there somehow, with you. I note the patch in the sun in a hallway where a beloved cat of mine loved to lay, watching me cook. A favorite chair of another. My condolences for your loss.
So sorry for your loss…we lost our Lucy Ricardo a couple of months ago.
I am so sorry to learn of the loss of your precious Bella. Please know there are many who read your wonderful blog who are feeling your loss as well.
She was a blessing and blessed to have such a happy life
So sorry for your loss. They are like family!!!
A beautiful tribute to a true and loyal friend. I’m happy you have these lovely memories of Bella. She was family and I am sorry for your loss.
My heart breaks for you. They are truly family. We have two pups of our own that are our babies.
May your fond memories hug you tight.
I am so sorry for the loss of your Bella. She was a lucky dog to have had those evening walks with you for so long….
I have tears in my eyes
I’m so sorry for your tremendous loss. She was a beautiful girl, and she will still be around even though you (probably) won’t be able to see her. Rest in peace, Bella x
I got tears in my eyes reading this post. So sorry for your loss in this true friend.
I am so truly sorry for your loss of Bella. Our wonderful pets always leave paw prints on our hearts.
I’m crying, can’t help it. She’s running happy and healthy now!
I do hope so!
I know exactly how you are feeling. Just three weeks ago my darling Jack Russell Rosie suffered brain damage and within three days I had no choice but to have her put to sleep. She was my guiding light for fifteen years. There are no words to describe the loss, sadness. “You have bereft me of all words” my darling little Rosie.
Bereft is exactly how all of us feel who have loved and lost a dog.
I’m so sorry❤️
The love and bonding relationship we have with our “fur babies” enrich everyone involved. I’ve heard it said: “the only fault a dog has is a short lifespan”. I offer my heartfelt condolences on your loss of sweet Bella.
So sorry for your loss. They always take a little piece of our hearts with them, don’t they?
A touching and beautiful tribute to Bella.
Beautiful tribute! So sorry for your loss.
Bella, a true matriach…
Always such a rent when a loved one is gone in a close family. So sadly missed.
Oh, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I have a 10 year old chocolate lab named Bella . . Labs are simply wonderful. They sure have a way of loving us. .
My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
I will remember her in my prayers to St. Francis.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
My sweet Boxer Cooper died 2 weeks ago. He had cancer and although I knew what was coming, I was surprised it happened so fast. I was not prepared, although can you ever prepare? He gave us 10 years of laughs and cuddles and we miss him terribly. I am 63 years old and have had a dog in my life every one of those years. They bring so much joy.
They do, and it is never the right time to say goodbye.
I am so sorry for the great loss of little Bella. We have a very large yellow Lab mix who came to us as a fat baby. He is 10 years old and we know what’s coming. Yellow Labs are the best dogs.
Loss of a loved one, no matter who or what, is always hard. Sweet memories.
so very sorry for your loss. I just recently lost my last boy, Henry. He was my world, and even though I knew the day was going to come, it just broke my heart when it did. Hugs and prayers to you.
I am sorry for your loss. Animals are such a wonderful part of our lives and family. It sounds like your beautiful Bella has left wonderful memories to comfort you.
I am so sorry to hear this. Dogs are such an important part of our lives too. We just lost one of ours a month ago so we are dealing with a similar pain. A little 3 pound Yorkie named Frankie who lived to the ripe old age of 15 1/2. So glad we have other dogs to come home to and help dealing with the grief.
What a lovely tribute to Bella. Amazing the love they give us, I guess that explains the deep loss we feel when they are gone. So sorry.
We in Canada have a little dog who has been, since birth, a wholly loving, loyal, receptive and intuitive family member -and regardless of the mood or whim of the day, is steadfastly “there” for any of us at any time. At 14 years of age, she is perhaps on borrowed time, but I count each day with her amongst my blessings, and already feel a distant ache at the thought of her no longer amongst us. I send you warm condolence and wishes that your wonderful memories of Bella, in time, soften and relieve your sadness.
So sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose our fur babies
We’re so sorry for your loss. Bella was a fortunate dog to have such a loving mistress.
A lovely story, can’t imagine my life without my much loved 5 yr old Bella, a half Pug half Jack Russell , she is such a loving companion & gives me great joy..
So sorry for your loss. It is so hard to say goodbye to a beloved dog or cat. They are after all, family.
This brought both a smile and tears. In my 88 years on this earth I have said goodbye to many wonderful dogs but they still live in my memory.
Thank you Anne
I’m so very sorry for your loss.
Absolutely beautiful and I am so very sorry for your loss. Our beloved animal family members give unconditional love, patience, understanding, laughter and kindness. It is so difficult when we expect to see them around the corner, in the yard, at our side. But how blessed to have had her loving companionship and wonderful offspring.
Sending deepest sympathies. May your sorrow be healed by the incredibly wonderful memories.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
We who share our lives and hearts with our furry buddies grieve with you. [Hugs]
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
LOVELY LOVELY .
RIO CLARO – SP
So very sorry for the loss of your sweet Bella. It’s so difficult to lose our beloved pets as they leave such a loving imprint on our hearts. I’m happy you will have such beautiful memories of this precious girl.
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon
There’s nothing more heart wrenching than all the stories we have about our beloved pets, the joy and the sadness.
I feel your loss and mine is brought forward, as well.
It’s a privilege to have a dog.
I’ve had dogs most of my life yet this last loss, a wonderful Yellow Lab, has kept me from chosing another.
I know I’ll get another dog, the timing hasn’t been right and I want to be able to be all in when that little furball comes to steal my heart! For now, I have two indoor cats and one of the neighbor’s cats outside, that keep me busy.
So sorry for your loss.
These wonderful creatures manage to find the deepest part of our hearts and embed themselves in us — so sad when they leave us. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you on her passing.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Please accept my condolences on your loss. They become members of the family with their own personalities. They are more patient with us than we are with them.
Roger Caras, a writer and a president of the SPCA has two wonderful quotes about dogs.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place in museums; others, we take for
Wishing you the best.
The goodbyes are so difficult as our beloved companions nestle in our hearts forever. A wonderful tribute to your life together. Sending condolences to you & all who loved Bella so well.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
RIO CLARO – SP
MY HEART WAS SAD AND WITH TEARS IN MY EYES ,I LOVE ANIMALS, BUT I SAY SOON – BELLA – WILL BE BACK.
WERE PERCY AND BELLA FROM THE SAME FAMILY ? ?
Yes Percy was her father
As a woman “owned” and led by many golden retrievers through this life, I sympathize deeply with your loss. It is devastating losing these beautiful loving souls. The ones that know our hearts, our thoughts, and yet love us with no qualms of the world and our shortcomings. May we all be the people our dogs think we are. Big hugs to you.
I am so sorry for the loss of your furry friend. Each dog we have lost has left another hole in our hearts and we miss each one’s personality and loving eyes. I’m sure that even though you have Bella’s descendants as pets and friends there’s no replacing her.
Please know that there are dog lovers like us who sympathize with you at this sad time.
I just lost my 17 yo Miniature Pincher, Chloe. She was with us all of her life. Such a comfort when I lost my 24 yo son, 8 years ago. She always ran to greet us when we returned home. The last year she lost her hearing, and had to have three eye surgeries. Everyone loved my Chloe. I feel my heart has shattered since she left. I know what you are feeling, and I grieve with you. They do give far more than they receive❤️
My dearest friend, how well I know every nuance of feeling in your loving heart. May Bella’s beautiful memories bring you peace.
Labradors are my favorite breed. It is so difficult when these four legged friends leave us. My sympathy to you on the loss of such a faithful friend. What a gift you have to cherish her descendants.
What a beautiful tribute to an amazing pet. I totally understand having lost 3 cats in the last 4 years. BooBoo kitty was 18 and was my best friend. I still miss him every day. Romeo passed in my arms at 18 as well. He was my security guard. Bianca was my spunky sweetheart and she passed this May at 15. Pets leave an impression on our hearts like no other. I am blessed with a new clan of furry friends. Jasper, Sterling, Carson (after Downton of course) and Bucky are my sweet boys. May you always remember Bella fondly as she made a lasting impression in many lives. I’m so sorry for your loss.
My heart aches with yours, Lady Carnarvon. We’ve had to say farewell to too many precious fur-babies, and it always cuts deeply. Your tribute was lovely indeed.
A lovely tribute to your faithful companion. My condolences on the loss of such an integral member of your family.
RIP dear beautifull Bella.
We missed our best friends so much.
Thank you for this wonderfull and intimate story.
What a touching tribute to a special part of your family…….
So sorry for your loss.
Bella is in heaven and not suffering any more.
Pets are family. So sorry for your loss.
Oh, that has made me cry. I know how you must be feeling, because we love our animals so much. We have a beautiful shiny black Labrador called Bentley and I know we will be devastated when he finally leaves us.
You gave your lovely Bella the best possible life a dog could want, which may be of some consolation for your loss.
Only those who have lost a longtime fur baby can understand the depth of the hole BELLA has left in your heart. My Bella and I send kisses from Alabama. I’m so very sorry for your loss.
A wonderful story. Dog’s can listen without judging.
Have great day.
Dear Lord and Lady Carnarvon,
I am sitting here crying like a baby as Bella was very special to my Daughter and I. When we visited the castle on a winter evening, Bella was there to welcome us. Dressed in our velvet and silk dresses we found ourselves sitting on the floor with her, as she was so affectionate and thought our sole mission was to come visit her. We later had a couple pictures taken with her, that I will treasure forever.
Bella is, for us, what made Highclere feel like a home, in addition to the kindnesses shown by you and your husband.
She left such an impact on us that we named our own lab, who is now a year old, Bella.
Thank you for sharing her with us, and for this beautiful story.
I know how you feel loseinng such a close friend to time . I lost my Thunder to old age also . My heart goes out to you .
I am so sorry..
Kathleen from Canada
When we have a dog we’re signing up for all the joys….and the eventual heartbreak.
We met Bella and friends on a Highclere visit a few years ago. While the most of the humans in our group listened intently to your garden talk, we spent as much time talking to your dogs. Either way, it was time well spent.
David and Deb White
So sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to your beautiful Bella. ❤️
Dear Lady Carnarvon,. So sorry that you lost your four-legged friend…You wrote about some facts of her life and I think all your readers were touched!With few exceptions,my dogs and cats had a way to tell me they were ok after their deaths,through my vivid dreams with them.I firmly believe they are sent to us to act as our animal guardians, and when they die,after some time a stray dog appears suddenly by our door or follow our car,perhaps to continue the mission of the late one.Rest assure that loving Bella will find a way to cheer you up,greeting you in your dreams or sending a lovely puppy from heaven!Please tell us!
Your dog’s eulogy is really an elegy; my friend just lost her black pussycat named Lightning (for the lightning-shaped blaze at her throat) another precious animal who knew our very thoughts. Both Lightning and Bella are now at the Rainbow Bridge, laughing and joyous as they exult in their newfound freedom once again.
Thank you – that is lovely.
So sorry for your loss. Dogs are such blessings. I know you will miss your matriarch.
I will – she was so loving.
So sorry you lost your dear Bella. It is truly losing one of your family.
It is. Thank you.
So very sorry for your loss!!
I am so sorry for your loss. These wonderful four legged creatures come into our lives, love us unconditionally, bless us with their presence, and then leave way too soon. ❤️
You are absolutely right.
This has me in tears this morning. We just had to make a decision about our precious yellow lab, Princess Buttercup aka Butter, this last Friday. We had 14 great years with her.
It is such a difficult decision, but the kindest.
Our dear 16 year old chocolate lab mix was playing frisbee in the shallow water with our son. I guess he was overly active as he needed help being lifted onto the dock after his workout. My son lied beside him and Ozzy gave him one last lick and silently slipped away. He was always such a considerate friend and we were able to arrange a beautiful burial for him. Like King Tut he had his toys, food dish, favorite blanket and his favorite, a jar of peanut butter. We miss him terribly but he is resting comfortably , marked by a celtic cross and lots of tall grasses which he loved to run through .
Its heartbreaking to loose a member of your family, and our dogs are such a big part of any family that truly love them, but they live on in memories and I am sure they help send a new heart to love. We have lost two Labs, both lived well into their 17th year, it was like loosing one of our kids. Our black Lab was a rescue boy, he is now 8 and getting grey around the muzzle, but he is fit and full of beans, long may it last. RIP Bella xx
We love labradors in our family!! Thanks for sharing. They become significant family members for sure!
Losing your extra children is very hard. They love you unconditionally and you wish you could be with them forever. Sorry for your loss. Your Bella was cherished and love and you have those memories. Nice you kept family of dogs as well that is cool so she continues through them. This post touched our hearts.
Such a beautifully written tribute to Bella, my deepest condolences on your loss. ❤️
So sad, thank you for sharing and cherish the memories of dear Bella.
Lord & Lady Carnarvon and family,
Once again, so well put and such a loving tribute. I relate 100% as many of us can who have lost beloved four legged family members. Find warmth and smiles in all your lovely memories of time spent with Bella and in her grandpuppies.
I am so sorry for your loss my lady, take comfort in knowing your love and kindness to her made her life wonderful. Peace be with you.
So sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing your beautiful memories .
You were intrusted with a wonderful friend for many years, and now she has passed, but Bella will live on because of
her ‘family’. We loved reading about her and seeing the pictures you so often shared. We share in your grief.
Thank you for the beautiful tribute to
Sincerest Regards, Jane and David
A tear brought to my eye reading this. I couldn’t imagine losing my faithful hound but it all comes to us at some point, sometimes sooner than others and it’s so hard to go past it. I do hope that all the others keep you company!
They do. I will keep them especially close for the next couple of days.
I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs are such amazing creatures, they have strong personalities and they are the very best of friends, and their love and loyalty is unconditional, which can make the loss so hard to bear. Take comfort in the fact that you gave her the best life she could have asked for, and your love for her made her very happy.
So nice that you have her offspring to love. Bella was a lucky dog to have lived with your family.
Thank you for such a lovely eulogy for Bella. Your life is better for having her in it. Christine Ayers in New England
It really is.
Anyone who has has loved a dog understands your loss. They leave so many empty places where they used to be.
Such a lovely remembrance of your darling Bella! I was crying reading it because it reminded me of losing my chocolate labby, Brodie, two years ago. I still have a hole in my heart over him. I think it is the unconditional love that they give that makes it so hard to lose them.
So sorry. I too know how it hurts losing my chocolate lab 6 yrs ago. If anyone understood me it was Scout. Always by my side. I have 2 yorkies now they replace some of the loss. I adore them and they too understand .l me. Or they listen and pretend too. Thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry. God bless.
Dogs are such good listeners.
So sorry to read this
And I send lots of love x
I lost my bulldog Angelica ( Jelly)
A week ago – totally unexpectedly
She was only 2 years old.
She was perfectly fine when I left for town, but had gone when I came home.
To say it was a shock is an understatement.
It’s still very raw for me atm
But I know she had two good years with me after I Rescued her as a pup.
I love to read your blogs and they make me smile
Lady Carnarvon, I am writing with a great lump in my throat to offer my sincere condolences on the passing of beautiful Bella. I had the pleasure of meeting you briefly on your oh so appreciated visit to Ottawa, Canada last spring and we spoke at that time of our shared experience of living with aging and dearly beloved dogs (our sweet German Shepherd, Grace, is going on fourteen and I know only too well the fragile and precious nature of each day. She is my heart and soul.) Your love, devotion, and care for Bella was evident even in our short exchange. I feel for you at this difficult time. We are blessed to have such treasured relationships with these magical creatures, these pure little souls.
I’m so very sorry for the loss of your precious Bella! We lost our precious Zander ( Shih Tzu) in June this year he was 12. It leaves a big hole in your ❤️
Thank you for your beautiful story of Bella’s life!!!
I so sorry for your loss. ❤️
Oh Lady Carnarvon! I am so sorry for the loss of your companion. Somehow our pets do become like family. It is so hard when they pass away. Prayers. ❤️
What a beautiful tribute to your fur baby!! Condolences from myself to your family!!
You and your family are indeed so fortunate to have had Bella and her family to share the grounds of Highclere for romping and sniffing God’s green earth. Unconditional love of a “little girl in a dog suit” is to be cherished forever, even though the lump in your throat often comes back. Our “little boy in a dog suit,” Chester, our Welsh Springer spaniel, will be in our hearts always.
As we stop to count our many blessings in the Advent season, I am reading Christmas at Highclere. I felt a true moment of joy to read “In the bleak midwinter” by Christina Rossetti. Our Senior choir is singing this in our Christmas concert, and I am so glad to find its origin. It is more meaningful to me now.
May the coming Advent season bring back joyful and poignant memories to you and yours.
Thank you. I am glad you are enjoying my Christmas book. ‘In the bleak midwinter’ is one of my very favourite carols.
Mine, too. I will enjoy singing it more than ever. Am about halfway thru the book and have chosen several recipes! (The easy ones!)
I, too, have shared the love of a lab; he was a gentle giant. I am truly sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing Bella’s story. Dogs family, so know your both lives were richer for sharing such a special bond. May memories of her being you comfort and healing love from her grand dogs.
Oh My! Lady Carnarvon … this is so beautifully written … and so sad. Now I am weeping. I am so sorry for your loss. I LOVE the beautiful way that you describe Bella and her wonderful nature and disposition. I love the photos of her, and I especially love the first photo that you posted, where she is curled up in front of a red sofa. Oh those beautiful, soft, brown, loving eyes. My heart just melts when I look at her. There will never be another Bella. Bella is Bella, a unique individual in her own right, and I can certainly understand how hard it is to part with such a treasured companion. Our veterinarian has told us, midst our tears, that he feels that we WILL see our treasured canine companions again one day … when we too cross over. Imagine your delight one day in the (hopefully) very distant future … when Bella joyfully runs up to greet you, wagging her tail in delight. Now that is something to think about and contemplate, isn’t it … perhaps giving a shred of comfort to your loss. My heart goes out to you. I am deeply sorry for your loss of this very treasured companion.
Thank you so much, I hope so too.
This was a beautiful tribute to Bella. Condolences for the loss of of your dear Bella.
So very sorry for your loss. Our lab/shepherd mix, Jack, is now 14 and a half and even though I know he doesn’t have a lot of time left, it will still be devastating when he chooses to leave. One consoling thought is that he has lived a lot in his life and has seen the country in a lot of ways that other dogs haven’t. He has been surrounded by a loving family since he was 12 weeks old and he hasn’t ever wanted for anything. I’m sure Bella had a very similar life and loves you all for it. Hugs to you.
Thank you – she did have a wonderful life filled with love and adventures.
Lord hear our prayers! What a heartwarming tribute to Bella. May she Rest In Peace.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I am so sorry for you. I understand how you must be. Bella was a wonderful dog, I always have dogs too and I know how is sad when they leave the life. It is so sad, but she was happy with you, with your family and she had some children!!! Good girl. Courage my Lady.
I am sorry for the loss of Bella. Having had the privilege of looking after and losing several beautiful Lab/boarder collie cross dogs, your story touched me. Although nothing can ever replace Bella you are able to receive comfort from her puppies that remain close enough for the odd hug, a memory and a tear.
Yes, and they are an absolute delight.
I’m so sorry! I debe a big Hug from Argentine!
“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” Robert Louis Stevenson
I’m so very sorry.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I love your stories about your animals. I especially love dogs, cats and horses. LOL Please ask your vet about glucosamine for your dogs hips. It helped ours in the past and also has helped my hands. Two months of glucosamine condroitin and I have had no more pain since. There is a good article from our National Institutes of Health Open Veterinary Journal.
I hope this helps.
My Best, Susan
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Adding my condolences and deepest sympathy to the many others expressed so well by the plethora of dog lovers who have already replied to your heartfelt post. I also wanted to offer a shred of hope — my favorite dog, a 10 year old King Charles, has galloping mitral valve disease, but I’m trying to get her into a trial at a renowned veterinary hospital. If she qualifies, Sabrina will get treatment involving stem cell stimulation to slow the progress of this type of heart disease. Fingers crossed that there is hope for Sabrina and the many others who may face this terrible condition.
Dear Lady Canarvon,
So sorry for your loss. Bella sounded really special. It seems to be part of nature that although we love all of our animal friends, sometimes there is just that one that really touches our heart. I still miss my silly little cat, who died 3 years ago in April, and used to love to walk on my face at 4 AM before deciding to sleep partly across my face and on my neck. (fortunately she did not weigh much). She died at the ripe old age of 18, two years after getting a diagnosis of failing kidneys. I too, thought I was ready, but to this day, will still not go into the room at the veterinary practice where she left me. Her ashes are still sitting on my fireplace and as part of “processing” I
had a stuffed replica made that I talk to sometimes. Although no one person can truly feel another person’s grief, I do have, as do many others who have grieved a special pet, an understanding of how you must feel. Once again, so sorry for the loss of your beautiful friend.
Bella was the Matriarch of the canine family and always when setting up Visitor Reception for the day the pack would, on their morning patrol, come through the gates and after a quick investigation to find out “what’s new” would be onward to the next exciting patch of ground or yew hedge. About ten minutes later Bella would appear determined and focused to follow the trail from the others, seemingly carefully collecting lost pack members that may have gone astray. Bella was a superb character, an individual yet placid being, giving at times, each and every member of the pack permission to to be naughty and soppy and anything in between. I miss all the dogs from my regular daily visits at VR, especially Bella who shone out as a carer of all he family.
Thank you for the news and lovely to read about that special place.
Thank you Pat
Lovely tribute to your dear Bella … and her roles as a steadfast companion, member of the family, mother, and grandmother. Look and you will see her still shining in her sphere, for surely she passed on some part of her to all she loved. That’s what beloved companions, grandmothers, and especially mothers do.
Beautiful tribute, it made me cry.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am so sorry to hear about your loss – I send my deepest sympathy to you. Dogs become a large part of our lives, and are amongst the most loyal companions.
Thank you for sharing such a special blog, which must have been emotional to write. Sending you love in this difficult time.
My warmest regards,
Sending our heartfelt condolences to you and your family, Lady Canarvon. We lost our sweet 14 year old Shiba, Keiko around this time last year. She waited until after Thanksgiving dinner. Our family had just left and my 7 year old cousin had hugged her saying he didn’t know when he’d see her again. About an hour later she was gone, peacefully passing in her sleep. We still miss her terribly. It’s never easy losing them, is it?
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for sharing your story about Bella Having dogs since being a small boy I feel your loss. From all the dog lovers from Washington State our sincere condolences.
Carnarvon Family – I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful Bella. It’s incredibly difficult to say goodbye to our beloved pets who’ve become so much a part of our families. I lost my Husky, Bailey this past December. She was over 14 years old and had been by my side as I’ve experienced many happy times as well as some heartbreaking ones over the years. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her beautiful face, loyal companionship, and joyful spirit. However, I know I’ll see her again on the other side and that has always brought some measure of comfort when losing a pet. Your beautiful girl, Bella will always hold a special place in your heart and I’m sure you’ll forever be thankful for the many blessings she brought to you and your family. Big hugs to you and yours ~ Cindy
Your beautifully poignant loss described this morning provided the proverbial last straw and I was able to shed tears with you AND at the thought of facing a day of unpacking and arranging moving boxes. Stiff upper lip said my Grampa, an apprenticed plumber doing the copper work on Liverpool Cathedral…and Cheerio to the task was said by the sweetheart he brought to the States to be his wife and start our heritage here.
I’m so sorry you lost your sweet Bella. Animals are so amazing, and they occupy a special place in our hearts. They really live life because, unlike us, they live in the moment. Know that you gave her a wonderful life.
No words can describe the loss of a dog
3 years had gone by after I lost my beloved American Eskimo and thought I was over it until I moved the refrigerator to clean behind and found one of her stuffed toys and just started to cry all over again
I am so sorry for your loss and I know there is a small place in your heart that will never go away.
My dear Lady Carnarvon,
So sorry for your loss. I am sure your Bella will be missed; she was family.
I am deeply sorry for the pain from this enormous loss. After losing my best friend, Boo, at age 12, I got a Standard Poodle named Forest. He is now two years, and I have just enrolled him in a lifetime study aimed at increasing the life spans of our most precious friends.
There is no love that is more pure and true, than that between a dog and their person. I wish for you the healing of warm memories and the knowledge that beautiful Bella will always be with you. ❤️
My heart is breaking for you.
We read this today with heartfelt sympathy for you and your family. Each time we have lost a dog over the years, it pains my heart to ponder why our treasured companions’ lifespans are so short compared to ours. Wishing you comfort to ease your sadness.
Gregg and Linda Whittlesey
So sorry for your loss.
I’m crying reading this – my heart goes out to you. Beautiful Bella will definitely be in your heart forever….My sincere condolences…
When I realized where you story was going, I couldn’t bear to keep reading. But I did. What a beautifully written and lovely tribute. I am so sorry you have lost your Bella.
Oh my heart goes out to you. Losing our furbabies creates a tremendous hole in our lives that is difficult to fill. What opposites of feeling knowing that Bella is free of her pain ridden body and yet wishing she was still here. Know that grief knows no bounds nor time limits. Some time in the future you will remember the good times more than the bad times.
Our dogs leave pawprints on our hearts forever. I have outlived numerous dogs and have always found their inner peace, unconditional love, and understanding to be well worth the pain of their loss. I am so much better for knowing each of them.
I am the better too –
What a beautiful sentiment to your loyal and ever loving companion. I thought I could never have another after loosing my wonderful girl at the grand old age of 17 but after much soul searching I decided to try. After seven wonderful years with my new girl my heart is filled with all the love in the world. You never forget what joy they bring to your life and each time you loose a friend a little of you goes with them. But the love and joy you receive completely out ways the missing part of your soul. I’m sure she will be missed and was much, much loved.
She will never leave you. Harry, our dalmation, still haunts house, hearts and minds 19 years on, giving joy and laughter through his memory.
I’m sorry. Thank you, Bella, for your lovely company.
as our lab got older we got a golf cat so she could go to the
lake with us.
Do remember your dog when I was there on a visit and was so sweet
She was wise
There’s a wonderful book called “I Will See You in Heaven” by Friar Jack Wintz. I take comfort in believing this whenever I lose a much-loved fur baby and believe Bella will come running to meet you in the very distant future
What a beautiful life she had and how lucky you all were to be together. Wishing the beautiful memories of Bella and all of your loved ones with four legs will bring you smiles through this difficult time. And I believe we will all get to see our beloved friends again one day. So very, very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.
So sorry for your loss Fiona. It’s not going to be the same without her! We’re all going to miss her. xo
I know – she was Zaccy ‘s dog too.
“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.” – Mark Twain
Dogs love us.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
So sorry for your loss. What a great tribute, I love dogs and it saddens me to read your post today. Maybe because I dread the day this will happen to me and I only have my one siberian husky that I love so much and he lives with my ex husband although I visit often.
This weekend I watched again the PBS documentary they made of Highclere Caslte and on that show you go horse backriding with cocker spaniels am I right? I was suprised not to see you beautiful fur family of Labradors.
Was it because the documentary was made some years ago before you had the labs?
Now that Bella crossed the rainbow bridge, you can be assured that she is running free with no hips problems and overlooking her human and dog family on Earth as a beautiful angel in the sky.
I hope Bella is more peaceful, she was creaky. The spaniels are better in terms of keeping up and with me.
Dear Lady Carnarvon Well, I have read all these wonderful messages and have decided to keep this blog in particular because of my little Abigail (Abbey) who recently had back surgery and will be 11 years old in March. She is my everything and I have started trying to cope with what I will have to face – it only those who love dogs so completely and appreciate what they give us that I will turn to and this blog will help me. Thanks your for all your blogs but especially this one. I, like others, have tears in my eyes reading this and Abbey is right now going to have yet another huge hug. You, Lady Carnarvon, are such a special person. I share your grief and well understand how you are feeling. So glad you have Bella’s puppies near by. Much love. Diane
Thank you, I knew it was coming but it is still shocking
Dear Lady Canarvon,
I was in the same place recently when I lost my loving pet Oreo (half husky / half lab). It broke my heart losing him. He left a big gap in my life. It makes me well up every time I see his picture. I feel for you and I am so sorry for your loss. Bella is in a better place now and so is my Oreo. Thank you for sharing this moment with us.
Leila from Washington, DC
Thank you – I know but …
3 weeks ago I lost Sophie my half Labrador half Dalamation. We were together nearly 16 years. The only time we were separated was when i served in Iraq in 2006. She like Bella gave so much and helped me through very dark times fighting PTSD and the breakup of my marriage. She was my shadow & travelled everywhere with me & my daughter. We even bought a caravan, which i loathed, so she could come with us on holidays.
3 weeks since she left me and I am still looking for her when i get up in a morning or look out the window of a lovely day.
Her passing has left a massive void in my life, one i am struggling with to be honest. Friends are telling me to get another dog and soon but i am hesitant. I havent finished grieving for my friend.
I am sorry for your loss of Bella. We share the same pain. I hope you see her still, in her grandchildren.
Thank you – I do still see her in her two sons and grandchildren but I have her empty collar..
Our pets truly become a part of our lives, especially our dogs. Dogs love you unconditionally, are thrilled to death to see you, every time you walk into their room, sit patiently and will listen to whatever you have to say. I am sorry for your loss, but I think it is lovely that you have Bella’s children and grandchildren nearby. What a nice testament you wrote, to a life well lived and well loved.
When my 17-year-old dog died, someone sent this to me and, somehow, it helped.
To make heaven the perfect resting place
for loved ones we adore,
God made sure those pearly gates
contained a doggy door.
That makes me smile!!
Greetings from Fort Worth, Texas. My daughter is a single mother of five daughters. They adopt elderly dogs who nobody wants. Her mission is to give as much tenderness and love as possible to these sweet creatures who do not have much more time. It has been instrumental in teaching my granddaughters the power of love and kindness, giving these dogs the empowerment to once again know what it feels like to be surrounded by affection and care.
Dear Carnarvon Family,
Bella will be greatly missed. Your words of love for Bella (Bella an Italian word for beautiful)must have been hard to write Lady Carnarvon. I’m truly sorry to hear your news. Hope your all doing okay in this hard time. Sending you all a warm hug and that I will be thinking of you. Take comfort in knowing that Time is a great healer. This pain will ease. Take care.
Heather from Australia.
Dear Lady Carnarvon–I was so moved by this article, and am so sorry for your loss of sweet Bella. It is so hard to lose a beloved pet. They add so much to our lives, and it feels like we can never repay them for the love they bestow. Even when we know they are growing old, the thought of parting with them is heart-breaking.
I hope the sadness of these early days of loss is soon replaced by the many happy memories you have of Bella, and the comfort of knowing her love of you and your family continues through her children and grandchildren.
My best wishes for you and your family at this sad time.
My heart goes out to you. Our four-legged friends leave such a huge hole behind when they go, but how lucky you were to have had such a faithful, loving presence in your life for so many happy years! I am so sorry for your loss.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
So sorry for the loss of your beloved Bella. May you be comforted by the memories of the joy and love that she gave you and the obviously wonderful times (& muddy walks) that you had together.
She enjoyed mud and puddles to the end!
Oh dear, such a heartache when we lose a beloved dog. I hope you will console yourself with knowledge that she had the most wonderful life, certainly was deeply loved. I am genuinely sorry for your loss.
Dear Lady Carnavon,
In tears reading this, it will be one year tomorrow (my birthday, some birthday) that I had to make the hard decision to have my beloved Cocker spaniel put to sleep, he was suffering with cancer, and we knew the time had come, we still talk about him, and have such wonderful memories, dogs bring so much to our lives, just sitting with them and stroking them helps you forget all your stress and worries. And when you lose them, you are losing a member of the family. On a happier note, I now have a little bundle of joy from the Dogs trust, she is a Shih Tzu, who has brought a smile and happiness back to our lives.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, your words just made me cry…I was reading them with my 9 year old dog on my lap and I just couldn’t help it. It’s lovely to see how much love Bella has taken with her.
Saying goodbye to a loyal and devoted companion is such a difficult journey. My heartfelt condolences for the loss of your precious Bella.
I am so sorry for your loss. Our dogs and cats and other creatures are a huge part of our lives so it is very hard to lose them. They truly are family members.
I am so sorry for your loss. I often tell everyone that my Grace is my best friend. She was rescued from a shelter, trained to be a service dog for soldiers with ptsd. When she was retired, she came to live with me, and we did therapy work. Now her health is failing, and I spend every spare minute making her life a little better, as she did for so many during her working years. I understand your sadness and sense of loss. They may not speak words we can hear, but they speak directly to our hearts.
You have put that so well – they do speak to our hearts
Read your narrative and tears began rolling down my cheeks because your story is so familiar to those of us who share our lives with animals, esp. dogs. My heart goes out to you and your family + staff who loved Bella. Thank you for being brave and sharing this personal experience. #LivedExperience and Grief is one of the most common we share; may her memory be a blessing in your life as your heart carries her memory into your future. Bella is now a part of Highclere history just as all the previous occupants. “Be gentle with yourself as you grieve” was always my blessing with my clients. It is my experience, too. Again, thank you for sharing your journey with us.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
So sorry to read of your news about your beloved Bella, a most heartfelt tribute to a beloved companion and family member. There is no consolation, but much love and empathy from those who follow or visit, like me perhaps helps a tiny bit.
I apologise in advance if this is no help, I had a double sided picture cushion made up with pictures of my girls together, really very huggable and for me it helped – the cushion got a bit damp. Lots of places offer a service, my own favourite from quality and choice is via Villager Jim whose website does some lovely choose your own print to upload, he is also associated with Chatsworth as a photographer and is a Lab Dad, so a genuine person. When you are able perhaps there might be some thing suitable is for a private corner to have made to remember your lovely Bella.
I am just a Lab Mum who has loved and lost her pets and has the the empty collar too.
So very sorry for the passing of your beloved Bella. Take comfort in knowing she will be waiting for you one day at the Rainbow Bridge.
May Bella’s memory always be a blessing for you. My heartfelt condolences.
Your words have touched my heart.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I never know what to expect when I open your email, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to read those words when I saw the title of your post. Dogs are some of the sweetest creatures on the planet, and I think all dogs should be loved as much as your Bella was loved by you. I’m so sorry for your loss.
The hole a quiet old dog leaves behind- even in a busy multi-dog home – is truly astounding. Bella will still be with you on every walk and bike ride. Such is the comfort of memories. Rest in peace, good girl.
Such a moving tribute of love for your Bella…it has really touched my heart while a few tears rolled down my cheeks. Many of us can certainly relate to your heartache for they love us unconditionally. So sorry for your loss.
Anyone who has lost a dear pet understands how hard it is – I am so sorry for the pain and loss you are going thru. Your story about Bella, as all your stories are, was so touching to read. I enjoy everyone of them. It is because you understand Labs, that I am seeking your advice and suggestions. We bought a beautiful chocolate Lab for our Grandsons and she is quite a handful. Roxie is now close to 2 years old, loyal to the family and wonderful around children. She still gets into everything and eats anything edible. When they are home, she is good, but when they are away she gets into all kinds of trouble. My Son has dogproofed the house, but that doesn’t matter. When do Labs settle down in your opinion. Do you have any suggestions you think could help. Their vet says Labs are ferrous eaters and that is why you see so many heavy Labs. She is eating what the vet recommends, but I am not sure that is the problem. You raise such beautiful Labs, and if there is any suggestions you could give, I would love to read them. I wish you and your family a wonderful and blessed holiday season.
We had our lab, Breeze, for 15 years. She was the same kind of wonderful as your Bella and I still miss her everyday. She was so arthritic in the end but still, on her final day, did a 1 km walk with us. So sorry for your loss. They truly are a member of the family.
So very sorry to read this. It is never easy. Over the years, I’ve had my share of dogs and cats and I always feel as if it is a chapter closing. It is nice to know she had a good life and I know she knew how very much she was loved.
Oh my gosh, dear Lady Carnarvon! Look at all the love and support you have gotten over the death of your beloved Bella! That alone should give you some comfort as you have obviously touched a great number of people with this story. Me included. She will always be with you. You were both lucky.
Four legged friends go through so much with us all don’t they?
It is never easy when a beloved companion animal passes away. After the loss of one of mine, a friend gave comfort by saying that he “now runs free and without pain”. I understand how you feel with this sad loss.
Dear Lady Canarvon,
I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Bella. Our dogs are truly blessings and share unconditional love and amazing joy. I pray that God will comfort you, Lord Canarvon, and your family as you morn the loss of Bella. God bless…
Only animals can give unconditional love.. and it hurts so much when they have to leave us.
“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our lives. Yet, if they find warmth therein, who would begrudge them those years that they have so guarded? And whatever they take, be sure they have deserved.” John Galsworthy
I’m sorry for your loss. We lost our fine fellow a few years ago and now have a darling boxer/lab mix that has chosen me as her person. I love her to death and get anxious when I think about her getting older every dang day.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I was so sad to hear about your beautiful Bella. You gave her such a wonderful life and in return she gave you unconditional love. It is so hard when one of our fur babies has to leave us but one day we will be reunited with them. Keeping you in my prayers.
Just lost two of my oldies in the past month. The heartbreak is almost unbearable, but being certain they were loved dearly (and they knew it) gives me a little peace. Bella will never be far apart from you, for every time you think of her, she is inside your heart. ♥️
Such beautiful words. I’m so sorry for you loss.
So sorry for your loss. Your pup has gone over the rainbow bridge.
I am so very sorry for your loss. What a lovely words about a beloved family member.
It was like reading the loss of a child. Dogs are truly family members and their loss can leave such a hole in our hearts. Bella has left her loving legacy in her pups and grandpups. My condolences to your family.
So sorry to hear of your loss. We lost our own Bella in February this year and have only just got a new puppy this month. They fill our lives and our hearts with so much love and give so much to us through their devotion to us. We are definitely better off for having them in our lives.
The greater the love, the greater the loss. Sending sympathy and as a dog lover, I understand your sadness.
I’m so sorry. It has been wonderful to get to know Bella a little, through your years of blogging. You are blessed to have had such a long, sweet friendship with her. I’m so glad that you still have her family nearby.❤️
Her family distract me – at times
My heart cries for you. I too have a yellow lab named Bella that will turn 10 years May 1 of 2020. I adore her as you did your precious Bella. She is the first dog I have ever owned. I’m 56, and my family really wanted a dog. I could never imagine the special role of pure unconditional love that they bring us. My daughter and I visited Highclere in the summer of 2017. We had hoped we would see you out on the grounds with your labbies. Unfortunately we didn’t. From one labbie lover to another, god bless you! She’s not gone, she’s waiting to meet you again on the other side. Love and hugs, Debbie Trevallion Rundle
thank you and love to your Bella!
I’m so very sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute and photos.
So sorry to hear of your loss. She sounds like she was a special girl, the type you’ll remember forever. We too have lost beloved pets. Our tradition is to bury them and plant a tree on top of the grave. We have Harry’s cherry tree, Judy’s flowering pear, Wally’s dogwood, and several bushes for our cats. When we see the trees they remind us of the good times we enjoyed. Again, sorry for your loss.
Our furry family members are just as important and loved as the non furry kind. And when we lose one the grief is no less, as we love and lost a special one in the family.
My heart breaks for you. Bella was a beautiful girl and is now a glorious spirit surrounding you. I felt so grateful to have ‘met’ Bella on the Highclere lawns at the end of the visitors’ day when Lord Carnarvon brought all the dogs out for a walk in May 2016. Bella ambled slowly across the front lawns, and I captured a video and photos of her glancing up at me with Highclere Castle as her backdrop. I will always cherish that moment. Tears.
She went at her own pace
Once again you captured me this morning with your story. And for it to be about your beloved Bella made it even more special.
Thank you for this story.
So sorry for your loss. So many of us have been there.
“if the kindest souls were rewarded with the longest lives, dogs would outlive us all. “
I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Bella. She will live on through her progeny. Bella was met at the Rainbow Bridge by her ancestors.
Long time companions are the most difficult to lose.
My deapest sympathies go out to you.♥️
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
It is with tears in my eyes that I write this condolence message to you. When they say, “All dogs go to Heaven,” it isn’t said lightly. They do!
Fondly thinking of you and your loss…
Your article adds so much to my enjoyment of the whole Downton Abbey experience. Knowing that Bella was so important to you all adds a new perspective how I feel about it. You wrote so lovingly about her and I thank you for the joy that gave me.
My sincerest condolences…lost a four legged love this year too..may we both smile through our emotional tears and remember the laughs and love shared….Fair well my Lady
Sending you a big hug
I’m so sorry that your beautiful home is today, a bit less beautiful. But as long as we remember them, part of them remains with us.
Mike Nassour / Austin Texas
Sorry to hear about your loss I have a very arthritic Labrador she can’t walk that far these days but still loves her food! I’ve no idea how old she is as she was a rescue dog dropped off by her previous owner at a rescue centre after being used for puppy farming in North Wales She was very ill untreated hypothyroidism no whiskers and if you can believe it no hair on her tail at all
I’ve had her for over 8 wonderful years now and hope she thinks the same Think of the fun you had with her
Oh my, I am reminded of the ache losing a dear dog leaves behind. I have just met you this past September as a guest of your Highclere tour. I feel a special understanding of what kind of life your dear pet lived, and I know that each and every one has it’s own place in your heart. Thank you for sharing this real aspect of your life with us. For anyone who has lost a dog who has lived beside us in our homes knows the depth of your loss.
So sorry to hear about Bella. These four legged family members have a way of crawling right into our hearts and they are always missed in their own special ways.
We lost our black Labrador ‘Merlin’ just over a year ago. Aged 11, his hips were in their way out and he couldn’t do the walks he so used to love.
I came home from work to find him sat in usual place at the bottom of our staircase (nothing as grand as yours I hasten to add), his head was at a strange angle and his eyes were unfocused. Sadly he had suffered a stroke. After consulting our vets, and after a lot of soul searching we made the (right) decision to say goodbye.
I feel your pain M’Lady, they leave footprints on our hearts and souls.
I still feel it was right – like you
So sorry to hear about Bella. I lost my Scottish terrier Cedric five years ago, and I still miss him so much. The first days after we lost him, I would come home after work, and it felt so empty, I cried every day. Even though you have other pups, you will still miss her. She was special, she’s not aching anymore. On this side of the pond, we have been going through difficult times. Sorry, I didn’t read your post earlier.
Un très bel hommage à ce chien qui vous a donné tant d’amour. C’est toujours un plaisir de vous lire.
I am so sorry for your loss; I truly believe that dogs are the angels in our lives & fiercely adore ours; we also have a yellow Labrador in our home pack–he is an incredibly kind & loving soul.
Shedding tears for beautiful Bella. May she rest in peace. Your remembrance of her was lovely. Blessings
I am sorry you have lost Bella. She will have known a happy lifetime with you and that is what was important to her. The pain you feel now from you recollections will hurt and make you cry but in time they turn into treasures and link you via your thoughts once more.
Two years ago I had to have a major operation and my beloved collie x bitch who was only died suddenly thankfully the people who were looking after my horses saw him collapse and the vet put it down to sudden heart failure. Because I had had a 5.5hour op and 50 stitches and had to stay in hospital a month, the surgeon via the staff nurse made it clear to visitors and callers that they could not tell me until I got home and so by the time I heard, Susan had already been cremated I was heartbroken and as soon as I was well enough to be taken out I wanted to be driven to pick her ashes up as my final gesture of love to her.
Two months ago her mother who was my whippet had to be put to sleep she was the remaining member of their family of 5. Two adults and 3 kids. She was 19 years old and so young in spirit and so spritely, until her last day. I kept all their ashes (something I would never normally do) as I wanted the whole families ashes to be buried together and I am going to deal with that next summer on a glorious summers day, out in the fields in front of the house.
God bless Bella and you take care.
And plant a tree or a rose?
MILADY, MUST PLANT AN ENGLISH ROSE FOR BELLA….
That is a nice thought
I’m so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers…
Lady Carnavon, I am so sorry for your loss. Your tribute to Bella paints a picture of a sweet and loving companion, who is truly mother of her clan. I hope you find solace in having her children and grandchildren with you. You may expect to see her in all the usual places, and I expect she is keeping an eye on you from heaven. Love and prayers to you and your family.
Beautiful story. We are so lucky to have fur babies in our lives. Bella will always be in your heart. Praying for strength for you and your family
Oh heavens, this had me in tears, dear Bella, it is so hard to lose a beloved friend… I have lost a few, but over time it doesn’t get any easier … thinking of you all…
My heart aches with yours, Lady Carnavon. Animals teach us so much, including unconditional love.
Dear Lady Carnavon:
I am so sorry for your loss, we lost our yellow lab, Duke, 9 months ago, and that empty space in our hearts will always be there.
I had the pleasure of meeting you last Sunday November 17, during the private tour of your beautiful home, you were so gracious to all of us, little we know you were going through this terrible loss.
The highlight of my trip to Europe was to visit your home and meet you.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
My heart is breaking for you, Lady Carnarvon, I’m so very sorry. There are no words. Know in your heart Bella loved you and knew your love for her. I wish I could hug you. I’m so sorry and know how this loss feels. Love.
Susan Keller…. No matter how long we have them it is never long enough.
Two feet move your body, Four feet move your soul.
I’m so sorry. I’m just reading this now…. bless her Sweet Soul.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am behind in reading your blog. I just finished reading about Bella. I am so very sorry for the loss of your girl. I lost “my” Maggie, a Bassett Dalmatian, 12 years old, suddenly on April 1. On the Thursday before she was a little down. Friday to the vet, lots of tests. Lots of love for my Maggie the whole weekend. By Sunday, I knew she was in heart failure. Monday morning, to the Vet and making the hardest decision. She was just a love. She would talk to you, give hugs and she would shake her head yes and no! Her sister, Lucy, is still missing her. Mom and I miss everyday and we say something about her at least once a day.
Prayers for you and your family.
I lost my beloved companion many years ago but I have never forgotten her. A white lab with a brown nose she loved the outdoors and a chance to run and play. Katie was a sweetheart and loved everyone and in true lab form loved to eat! They lodge themselves in your heart and never leave.
They never leave –