tirana memories

I'm grateful for all the photographs I have of Bella and her friends but inevitably there are many more I never took and many memories I have that I have no picture of. Here are just a few of my fond memories of Bella in Tirana that are recorded only in my head.

Bella in the bath getting washed for the first time ever and not enjoying it. I'm holding on with one hand, shampooing and rinsing with the other. I lift her out, still holding tight, to get a towel on her before she shakes herself. I'm unbalanced, she slips free and shakes and shakes and shakes. I'm soaked, the floor is soaked, the walls are soaked, the ceiling is soaked. Bella wanders outside to dry off in the sun while I spend and hour cleaning the bathroom.

Bella sitting on the edge of the pavement outside an apartment building at the end of the street staring fixedly up at a fourth floor balcony, waiting for the owner of the apartment, an older man who cared for the street dogs, to toss down his scraps after dinner.

Bella (and Dougal) crashed out on the upper balcony of our house in Tirana. A pack of dogs come trotting down the street making a commotion. Bella sits up, watches them from the balcony as they pass by, then starts barking up a storm of her own. The other dogs can only stop and stare as Bella announces her presence, queen of all she surveys.

The look of expectation on Bella's face as she waited outside our local butcher's shop for us to come out. The look of bemusement - or was it disgust - on the butcher's face as we stepped outside and fed his sausages to Bella.

Bella, after her first ever car ride, at the airport surrounded by the local Lufthansa staff taking photos of each other with her, calm, gentle and friendly as ever.


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