My Girl Stella


Stella’s online photo from

I rescued Stella October 5, 2004, after losing my 13 year old black lab to the road a couple months earlier. I borrowed a travel crate from the rescue and brought her home. I remember it had started raining and she was in the back of my SUV. I had turned a corner and the thing tipped over and I had to stop and upright her. She barely fit in it.


I had my son watch her as I went and bought her a big kennel. She wasn’t house broken, supposedly 6 months old and the rescue had removed her from a shelter in Muskegon after finding her roaming the streets there.


That first night, I remember her barking, locked in her crate. I only had to holler at her once to be quiet and she slept through the night without any more noise.

Fast forward to the end of 2015. I had taken the holiday off, Stella was now 12 years old and she was diagnosed with severe arthritis in her back that had started affecting her back legs. By Christmas she was having a terrible time walking. Several times she had to be carried up the stairs. She would stand there, looking but not wanting to attempt them. I had already made the decision to put her down during my time off and never left the house, just hung out with my girl until it was time. I read several scary internet sites that told me what to expect. Wednesday, December 30th was D-Day. I had been balling all day, waiting until the last minute before the vets office closed. She had to be lifted into the truck and instead of watching out the window like she always did, she laid next to me in the back seat. We waited our turn and she was gone within seconds. It wasn’t much like all the stuff I had read. She just went to sleep, with her eyes open. Hardest thing ever. She’s buried where the squirrels run out of the woods. She always loved chasing them, letting them know that this was her territory and they were trespassing.

My heart still hurts. My baby girl is gone. I will see her someday again and we will continue our game of stick fetch.