Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A Tribute to My Princess Bella

Princess Bella Arean

January 30, 2009-February 16, 2024

Princess Bella Arean lived a long beautiful life. She was born on January 30, 2009 and finally rested on February 16, 2024. She wasn’t just a dog or a pet, she was my baby—even at age 15. My heart has completely shattered and I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself. Mostly because I have, I have lost my best friend, my baby, my little love. A part of me definitely went with my little Princess.


If you have never loved and lost a dog, you don’t understand the pain that comes from losing them. They depend on you for everything just like a child does. I know the comparison is odd for those who aren’t pet parents, but those who are understand that they become your family. They love you and see you through your toughest days.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs were bred to protect the Queen, serve as lap dogs and provide warmth and even attract fleas off the Queen. 



I fell in love with the breed when visiting a pet store in Chicago in 2009. I knew then that I was ready for a dog, but was looking for a French Bulldog or a small bulldog. When I walked into the store, I saw a tan and white King Charles Cavalier named Prince (that’s how she got her name) and fell in love. After that trip, I crazily searched the internet for one for me. That’s when I learned of the tri-color ones and fell in love. I picked Princess from hundreds that I found because her birthday was on January 30th and my favorite Grandma’s birthday was on January 31st. I took it as some type of sign and instantly requested her for me. She came from Missouri on a plane on a cold winter day in March, it was so cold she was put on an earlier flight to keep her safe. Once I saw her, my mom was the first to hold her as I filled out all the paperwork. But, once she and I met, it was an instant love and connection with this little doggy that I could have never imagined possible. 


She got her name, Princess Bella, after the Prince Cavalier I saw in Chicago, and Bella because it means beautiful. I also chose the name Princess as a nod to her breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She needed some royalty in her name to live up to that breed. My website, Bella Vida Styles, was actually named as an ode to my Princess Bella.


Princess lived up to her breed instincts by being a true lap dog and cuddle bug. Though, she was also an independent woman and cuddling was on her terms. Give her too much of it and she would scoot off to be on her own—near you still but on her own—until she was ready for more and would cuddle once again. Unless she was feeling sick, or coming off having surgery, then she would lay on me and cuddle on top of me for hours on end without moving. I knew then something was wrong and she needed her mommy.  I remember when I took her for a walk once when she was a tiny puppy, half way through she just sat on the sidewalk and no amount of me tugging on the leash was getting her up. We ended our walk with her cuddled in my arms. I once told the vet that she would get tired on walks and he asked how long were we walking for. I said about a mile or two. I’ll never forget his answer, “If you wanted a dog to workout with and go on long walks with, you got the wrong breed. At most she can walk a few blocks for exercise.” That was the end of our long walks. My baby’s health was more important. But, don’t let that fool you, when she saw the leash she would hyperventilate with excitement and run to the door. Sometimes when we returned home she wouldn’t want to come inside and would stiffen her legs at the door step, because she loved being out for walks. She loved going outside and exploring.


She also loved going on car rides, even in her old age. As a puppy and young teen dog, her favorite spot was the pet store, where she’d pick her own toys, went for pet training and loved all the staff who always came to greet her, especially her trainers—even years later. Now, her favorite place to visit was my brother’s house where she got to play with the kids—who became her favorite people. Over the last year or so, I didn’t want to leave her alone in her old age and she went over with us for every holiday celebration or family BBQ or dinner.


One thing she wasn’t a big fan of were suitcases. As a travel editor, who traveled quite often before the pandemic, this killed me every single time I had to leave. Once she saw the suitcase roll out, she would cry and whimper all night. Thankfully to the pandemic, this came to an end and she hasn’t had to see a suitcase in a while. Eventually she got used to just seeing my suitcase, but if she ever saw everyone in the family packing and with suitcases lined up by the door, she would go insane. I think she knew this meant we were leaving her with the pet sitter for a few days. It was so heartbreaking that we started to leave her with the sitter late the evening before we left just so we could pack without her realizing what was happening. I guess she just didn’t want to miss on any adventure or road trip, since for her suitcases also meant heading to Port St. Lucie or Orlando for a long weekend.

Princess had an exciting life. She visited dog parks galore and would always get up from the car seat and look out the window the instant we were near the parking lot. She knew where she was. She went to Merrick Park for trick-or-treating one year visiting all the shops, others years she went around my neighborhood with neighbors, and most recently with the kids at my brothers. But, she got so tired he went to get the golf cart and she rode in style the rest of the way with a huge smile on her face. She visited the dog beach a few times, she loved strolling the shore line but was terrified of being in the actual ocean, instead she would jump on me and spend the entire time on my lap. She went to a Marlins game dressed in full Marlins gear and a baseball cap. She spent a Fourth of July weekend at the Fountainbleu and absolutely loved hanging out on the beach by the sand and around the pool with all of us. She went to Fairchild Gardens and roamed the beautiful scenery. We participated in a Dog Walk at Bayside to raise funds for the Miami-Dade shelter. And, she had doggy friends who invited her to a handful of doggy birthday parties at the park. She went to work with me a few times once as a puppy and on “take your dog to work day.” And, thank God for the pandemic, because working from home allowed me to spend the last four years of her life with her right by my side the entire day. 


A few of her favorite outings were our family long weekends in Port St. Lucie, the minute we got off the highway and entered the road leading to my uncle’s house she was uncontrollable. She’d just run out of the car greeting everyone then straight off to play with her cousins—April, Chip & Godiva the Labs and Roddick the Boxer. Her other favorite visit was when my brother lived in Orlando, she went on long walks around the lake, walks around the pet-friendly shops, and spent lots of time with family and Emma the Lab, which she loved the best.


She was a great dog who had a few siblings during her lifetime, all of which she got to play the little sister or big sister roles. First, she had Emma the Chocolate Lab, and later on we rescued Trivilin the Chihuahua. She loved cuddling up to each of them during their time with her and when they each passed her sadness lasted for days until she returned to her usual self. Her cousin Molly, became sort of like a sibling too, they often had sleepovers at home—at first Princess wasn’t a huge fan. Molly was a rumbunctous puppy who probably intimidated her by her size. But as the puppy stage dwindled, their love grew and now they hung out together and spent time together. Most recently she met her latest cousin, Jack the Toy Poodle just a few weeks ago. In her old age, she wasn’t up for puppy playing, but she allowed him to bark and nibble at her while she turned her head away because she was definitely too old for that type of playing now. However, if he laid next to her, she was good with that.


In the evenings, she would sleep in my parent’s bed and would beg once she heard them head to their room to go over, no matter how comfy and relaxed she might have been. When I’d go pick her up, if she wasn’t ready, she would growl until she got some extra time there. But, when she was ready to come to me, she would allow me to scoop her right up and head to my bed or get fussy until I went over and picked her up to go back to her room. She knew where she really belonged. For 15 years she slept with me, sometimes on my head, others by my feet, but mostly snuggled up on my side sharing her love. She also loved laying on just out-of-the-dryer laundry and every time I sat to fold clothes, there she went on top of the pile. 

Another one of her favorite activities was bath time. While most dogs I’ve had in the past were fidgety for bath time, Princess was truly my pup because she took that as being her spa time. She relaxed in the tub as she was bathed and afterward laid in my lap while I groomed her nails, cleaned her ears and trimmed and cut her hair. She would sometimes even fall asleep during this pampering time, until it was time to blow dry her fur. She wasn’t a huge fan of the blowdryer, but she wouldn’t fight it. She laid there with caution but enjoyed the pampering time. One thing she hated was being dirty. In her last few months, if she ever had an accident while we weren’t home, she would cry until you bathed her or would position herself outside the bathroom door like if she was asking for a bath. 


She had a few doggy friends during her lifetime, from the Port St. Lucie crew to her siblings. But she also had a few friends and family doggies who shared in park days and outings with her. First, there was Riley the Vizsla, who often sent her Valentines in the mail. Teddy the St. Bernard who joined her for walks at the park, Chloe the dachshund who she saw when visiting family, Ñato, my aunt’s basset hound who spent time with her as puppies, Toston, another basset hound who she played with as a puppy when visiting friends or having picnics at the park, and Lilo, who invited her to a few doggy birthday’s at the park and joined her for the dog walk at Bayside.


She was a territorial little girl. Though she loved her doggy friends, if we were out at the park and I touched another dog she was playing with, that dog instantly became enemy #1. She didn’t want to share my attention. Even with my boyfriend, when he came over she would sit at the door of the room scratching it until she was let in. When he put her up in bed with us to watch TV, Miss Independent Woman suddenly wanted cuddles and would maneuver herself in between us like saying, “This is my mom, you move over.” 

Princess celebrated every single birthday. For her first birthday, we had a doggy party at the dog park complete with goodie bags filled with dog treats and bandanas for each dog, doggy ice cream, human cake and beer. Each birthday after that, she either received doggy birthday cookies or doggy ice cream. She knew how to wait to be sung to before she could dive right in. She was also blessed at Mother of Christ for the blessing of animals.  She even has a few memorable “famous” moments on her resume. Her first birthday was featured in a dog magazine with photos and all, and just in 2022, she was featured in the Cavology brand newsletter wearing their harness and leash—a true super model. And, her face is also featured as one of the main images on this site as one of the backgrounds—an ode to its namesake.  She truly lived a life with every experience I could have possibly given her.


Princess Bella wasn’t just my dog, she was my child. She was a unique and special dog. Truly one-of-a-kind. I had never had another dog like Princess was. She wasn’t a licker, she didn’t bark much unless absolutely necessary—like when she saw the cereal box on the counter and wanted you to give her some Frosted Flakes, her favorite. She provided comfort through breakups and heartache, and after countless surgeries she never left my side. After this most recent one, she sat next to my bed patiently until someone would be home to bring her up as she understood somehow that I couldn’t carry her around. Since by this time, she needed help getting around, when no one was home, she would sit in her bed and I’d push it around until we got her to where she wanted to be, whether the water bowl or outside in the patio.


Princess was my partner and I told her that and how much I loved her every chance I got. She definitely understood the assignment when I told her I’d never be able to put her down, because on the morning of her passing, Friday, February 16th at 7 a.m. she was fussy and continued waking me up no matter how many times I tried to comfort her in her bed or accommodate her again. Finally, I picked her up and took her outside, but that was too much for her. As I sat in the patio chair caressing her, telling her I loved her and that she would be ok, she took her last breath. Just how I always prayed it would happen, filled with love and in my arms where she always belonged.

I can’t believe I just wrote this, and that my girl is gone. As my heart shatters into a million pieces over and over, I know she is now resting happily in doggy heaven, because as they say “All dogs go to Heaven.” There is no more loving animal on earth than a dog. Rest in peace my little girl, Mommy loves you forever. 

Please help me keep my beautiful girl’s memory alive, and also help me through this immense grief I’m now feeling. If you met Princess and have a favorite memory of her…or even if you didn’t physically meet but have some social media memory or incident that includes her, please share with me in the comments below. 

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1 thought on “A Tribute to My Princess Bella”

  1. She will always be in our hearts. The best companion with unconditional love always and awesome memories for you and for us that shared the joy she gave you.

    We will miss Princess, but will never forget. Love you both Tio and Tia Ponte

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