(Belle Belle is our 13-year-old Golden Retriever. She is named after and in tribute of the ill-fated Eight Belles. / Photo by Gene McLean)

Editor’s Note:

Belle Belle has always been an old soul.

Ever since she was a little puppy, she found no true pleasure in jumping on or up. Since the early days, when we found her on a farm in Owen County, she has found no reason to cuddle, lick, or hug. She’s simply not an advocate of public display of affection.

Instead, she always found it better to find a warm spot on the floor, and make it her own.

As a pup, she could and would wander into my office, sometimes jammed to the gils with people, and meander her way to a quiet corner for solace. Always, she seemed to prefer quiet to accolades; no admiration to adoring audience.

She didn’t need the limelight.

She didn’t seek rave reviews.

She didn’t need love and attention.

She didn’t need a leash to walk by your side.

She didn’t need to be reminded than outside is where you go to “potty.”

She never chewed on anything that wasn’t food oriented.

And, she never once climbed onto a couch for cushion and comfort.

She just needed alone time. Most of the time.

Belle Belle has always been comfortable just being comfortable.

And now, in the golden days for this Golden retriever?

She loves to go to her lake, and lead her “brothers” to the water’s edge.

She loves to go for her walk, the same each day and each way, to the end of the pier. And, that means all the way to the end of the pier. Each time. Every time.

She loves to wade knee deep into the cool waters, and watch for the geese and ducks to squawk their helloes and goodbyes.

She loves to slowly inch her way home and back to her spot by the outdoor fire place and wait. Wait for the fire to be built. Wait for the fire to roar. Wait for the heat to warm her ole’ bones.

And, she loves to be left be. No commotion. No fuss. No extra attention. Until it is time to head to bed. Until it is time to rise again and do it all over. Again.

She does not get in a rush.

She does not get in a state.

She does not worry about much.

She does not care for such.

It is a simple life.

But it is simply amazing to see how Belle Belle lives so comfortably in the rules that she has made for herself.

She is as sweet as apple butter, but she has no need to prove it.

She is as quiet as a church mouse, and has no reason to announce it.

She is loyal as the day is long, and she will practice the same routine for as long as her days will last.

She loves. In her own, under-stated, quietly reserved way.

If you are lucky? She will even give you a kiss ever so often. Just when you would least expect it.

And, it makes it ever more special.

It makes Belle Belle even more special.

These are the Golden Days for our Golden Retriever. And, just like the precious metal, she is so precious to us.