Dougal and Bella playing in our yard, both of them on their backs grabbing at each other with those teeth. This was quite unusual. Normally Bella would flop over on her side and Dougal would run round in circles, ducking in to make a grab at Bella's leg.

I was always astonished by Bella's gentleness. Her teeth could have snapped my fingers and more easily yet in the years that followed, without Dougal to play with, she chose instead to play with me. Despite having my hands and arms in her mouth she never bit down hard, as she did with other dogs, and I never came away with more than a few scratches.

I did feel the full force of those teeth one day - it was entirely my fault. My calf muscle was every shade of yellow, blue and brown and I couldn't walk for two days. I still have the scars. These days they are a nice memento of Bella. Taken on 6 August 2007.


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