Let me tell you a little story about a wonderful and amazing girl named Bella. Bella was a beloved family member of ours… the four legged kind.
Twelve years ago my husband and I thought we’d like to try being foster parents for cats and kittens from the local animal shelter. I’ve had cats all my life, and at that point in time we had four cats and a dog. Honestly, we thought we’d get to foster kittens for a few weeks until they found a new home. We never expected a foster to stay more than a few weeks.
The shelter contacted me one day and said they had two newborns that desperately needed a foster. I have never handled or cared for newborns before, but the shelter said they would teach us what to do.
We were given two precious babies that were found tossed in a dumpster. One was a girl, the other was so tiny they couldn’t figure out it’s gender. They figured it was a boy, and their names were Lenny and Fran. I didn’t like those names, so I started to call them Mickey and Minnie.
Three weeks after we received the babies, the little girl had to be put to sleep due to a lung disease. I was DEVESTATED. We only had her three weeks, but we fell in love with her. Her death made me even more determined to have the remaining baby survive and thrive.
From the start we had a problem with the remaining baby. He/She wouldn’t take to the bottle well. The shelter told me something I’ll never forget – “Sometimes kittens die.” Ugh! I did NOT want to hear that.
It turns out the baby was a girl. We named her Bella.
We had Bella for three months. She was happy, healthy, and thriving. When it came time for us to return her to the shelter (she already had inquires about her), we told them “no.” After raising her for three months there was no way we could give her back, so we officially adopted her.
I often think that Bella came to us for a reason. As time went on we learned she had severe asthma that required both an inhaler and steroids. She also had three leaky valves in her heart the required yearly echocardiograms and ultrasounds ($$$). She also developed Diabetes. If Bella was adopted out, the new family might not have been able to afford her expensive medical care. They could have put her to sleep, or she could have ended up back at the shelter as an “unadoptable” cat. We’re not rich by any means, but we always made sure she had the medical care she needed.
This past May (2023) Bella developed a cyst on her lower eye lid. It got worse quickly. The vet told us it would have to be surgically removed.
The day of surgery the vet called me to tell me the found a hole in the palette (roof) of her mouth. It was cancer. The cancer had “eaten” it’s way into her eye, and her eye needed to be removed.
How could that be? The day before she was eating and drinking fine. She was perfectly fine except that weird cyst on her eye.
We brought her home that day, missing her eye. That didn’t matter. She was still our beautiful girl.
Sadly, she never seemed right.
Three days later I noticed she was having a hard time breathing. I called around to see if there were any vet appoints available locally, but there were none. We were told to bring her back to her regular vet as an emergency.
My husband came home and we rushed her to the vet. She was in her crate on my lap in the front seat.
We weren’t even five minutes from home when Bella threw her head up, let out a loud gasp and flopped over. Instinctually I grabbed her from the crat and started CPR. My husband made a u-turn and rush to the vet down the street. By the time we got her inside she was gone.
I’ll be honest, I was depressed. VERY depressed. I never thought I would stop crying. She was my baby. ALL of our pets are special to us, but Bella was a wee bit more since we had her since she was a newborn. She was less than two weeks away from her twelfth birthday.
Time has moved on. We ended up adopting three more cats – and adult and two kittens. One of the kittens was born around the same time Bella passed away. He looks like her twin, and he has the same personality as her too.
Losing a beloved pet is never easy. Sure, you have photos you can look at, but that is not the same as seeing them in your home or holding them on your lap.
Are you familiar with Petsies? I reviewed them last year.
Petsies are plush toys created in the likeness of your furry family member (living or deceased).
Petsies creates their plush version based on photos that you send to them. Ideally you should send them photos that show all sides of your furry family member – front, back, top, and sides.
Using the photos you send, Petsies creates a replica plush version. These are not little plush toys either. These are life size versions. Well, at least the cats are. I’m not sure about the sizing of other animals they do (dogs, rabbits, and other critters).
Petsies are handmade. They cut, sew and airbrush each Petsie to make it look like your pet.
Petsies was kind enough to send me a plush version of my beloved Bella.
Here is “Bella” with her “baby brother” Bear. Bear is the one that looks like her and has her personality. This was straight out of the box before I smoothed her fur on the Petsie.
Here are some more photos of my Petsie Bella plush.
Bella was chubby, and I love how Petsie was able to make her plush version chubby too.
I have my Petsie Bella sitting on the couch next to me. It gives me a sense of comfort seeing it there. It’s as if Bella is sitting on the couch next to me like she used to do.
You might not think this is really true, but I can say with all honesty that when I am walking through the living room and I catch a glimpse of the Petsie it truly DOES make it seem like Bella is still here. I know it’s not really her, but it does provide me with a sense of peace.
Bella isn’t our only Petsie plush. We also have one for our cat Padmé who had to be put to sleep last year due to an rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Padmé sits on the arm of the couch, near Bella.
Our kittens were fooled by the plush Bella when they first saw her. They still are. I have seen the kittens sleep her Bella and Padmé, and play with the plush toys tails and whiskers.
The plush replicas are not the only products that Petsies makes. They also make pet photo blankets, pet photo pillows, pet bobbleheads, magnets, socks, pajamas, keychains and more.
If you are looking for THE PERFECT gift for the pet lover in your life (or for yourself), check out Petsies. These gifts are a perfect way to always remember your beloved pet. They are also great gifts to celebrate your pet even if they are still alive.
I have a plush pillow replica of our fish, Fishy, as well as a photo pillow, both from Petsies.
Petsies even has a sister company, Budsies, where they create plush toys based on your child’s drawing. I think this is a fabulous idea! If I can get a copy of my son’s “meat truck” that he drew when he was little, I would love to get that made into a pillow because he’s now drivers a tractor trailer. I think he would appreciate that.
Budsies also sells pesonalize dolls and puppets made to look like you or anyone you’d like (imagine playing with a doll that is made to look exactly like you? How cool!).
You can learn more about Budsies and all they have to offer at Budsies.com.
To learn more about Petsies, visit MyPetsies.com. You can also visit Petsies on social media. All of their links are found on the bottom of their website. There you can see even more wonderful examples of their work.
I am “furever” grateful for this very special opportunity to keep my beloved Bella near me for the rest of my life. It won’t bring my Bella back, but seeing the Petsie provides with a sense that she is still with me.
*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.