The Road Home
A Dog Named Beautiful by Rob Kugler is the true story of Rob Kugler and his chocolate Labrador named Bella. Bella has cancer and this book tells of her final road trip across America. It is a time of bonding, of loving and of making the most of the time that Bella had left. “We can’t stop death… but we can change the way we live.” Rob Kugler is a caring, loving owner who wanted to make Bella’s last months memorable for her and for him. He wanted Bella to truly live. “When life isn’t all about yourself, it’s actually much easier to live.” Life was about Bella and celebrating all that was good.
Bella did not let cancer get her down. After all she did not know she had it. She lived life with gusto, vigour and enthusiasm in spite of losing her front leg to cancer. “The cancer is eating away at her body but it is not dimming her light.”
Rob Kugler intersperses Bella’s story with his story. His life was not always easy but the reader sees his bond of love with his family, his willingness to always help others and his huge love for his brother Mike who encouraged his dreams. We hear how life as a marine involved sacrifice again and again, as well as the bond with those who served with him.
We all have regrets and guilt. It is important to not “focus on what you didn’t do, [but] focus on what you have done and have yet to do.” Life is for living – for watching sunsets with those we love. “Live the moment rather than capture the moment.”
The bond between the author and Bella is clear to see. “She can make me a better me.” Bella rescued Rob Kugler from himself. She gave him a focus and a purpose. She taught him so much.
I loved the inclusion of colour photos. It was wonderful to see beautiful, brave Bella enjoying her life and clearly loving her owner.
A Dog Named Beautiful was such a wonderful read but oh dear me, did I need tissues – and not just once either. I did not know Bella but through Rob Kugler’s words and pictures, it felt like I knew her, and now there feels like a Bella-shaped hole in my heart.
Thank you Rob Kugler for introducing me to Bella, for showing me her personality and her love for you. Bless you and may God bless Bella until you meet again.
I will leave you with a final word from Rob Kugler about Bella:
“She loves me unconditionally: when I am broken, when I am sad, when I am angry, when I am wrong, when I have failed.”
See photos of Bella on Rob Kugler’s website http://www.rklifeillustrated.com/work#/bella-girl/