Whether our animal companions have lived a long, full life or the life has taken an unfortunate turn, to think about ever having to part with our beloved best friends hurts our hearts. When photographer and ex-Marine Robert Kugler learned that Bella, his beloved chocolate Labrador, was suffering from bone cancer, we can only imagine how he felt. He was given two options: to either amputate Bella’s front left leg or euthanize her to end her pain. Because the cancer had already spread to Bella’s lungs, even with the amputation she had an estimated three to six months to spend with her human.
But, Kugler did what many of us would have done — he chose to have Bella’s leg amputated. But, he didn’t stop there. Kugler packed up his 4Runner and took Bella the dog on a “Farewell Trip” along the East Coast, capturing beautiful moments of Bella on camera along the way. 14 months and one more trip along the East Coast later, Bella was still alive and well and their entire journey had been captured on Kugler’s Instagram. Kugler was able to spend more time with Bella than what the vet had told him and he had captured so many precious moments of Bella on camera —and there was still time to make more memories.
According to Kugler, “when we got back to Nebraska from our first trip….it just didn’t seem complete. The journey wasn’t over….”
So, once the pair had a chance to go on another trip, they took it. Bella was on the road again, with plenty of opportunities to participate in one of her favorite activities — feeling the wind in her ears and smelling all the smells while her human companion took the wheel.
Along the way, she made some new friends.
Not three legs, not even cancer, could keep Bella from having a good time.
… or from seeing the sites.
As long as Kugler was by her side, Bella was happy.
And luckily, their journey together continues. Fourteen months after the bad news, Bella is alive, well, and ready for the adventure to continue.
According to Kugler, “we are truly looking forward to continuing this amazing journey for as long as we can keep going.” You can follow his and Bella’s journey on his Instagram and learn more about Bella’s story on his official website.
All image source: Robert Kugler/Instagram