A while back, I wrote a post about how I made the decision to attend LMU. In addition to the generosity of our financial aid office, the luxury of the residence life buildings, and the sincerity of the professors, one of the biggest deciding factors for me was my grandfather, or “Papaw”, as I called him. Papaw was also a Railsplitter in the 1950s, and with the degree he received here, he went on to become a widely respected teacher in my hometown. He loved his time at LMU, and his greatest dream was to see my brother and me go here, too. Unfortunately, he suffered a massive stroke in the late 1980s, leaving him paralyzed down his left side. My grandmother, Mamaw, spent the better part of their marriage caring for him, since he couldn’t care for himself. When she fell ill herself a few years ago, she hired someone to help her with the big things, but she still did as much as she possibly could. She cared for Papaw every day until he passed away peacefully in February 2011, just a few months before I graduated high school. He never got to actually see me walk across the stage to receive my diploma or move into my dorm room, but I know he would have been proud.
About two years after he died, Mamaw started to feel a little bit lonely, and she asked us if she could get a dog. Not just any dog, either—she wanted a dachshund. I was almost more excited than she was because I had always wanted a dachshund. And Mamaw having a dachshund meant that the rest of the family had a dachshund, too, right? Needless to say, when we finally found Mamaw a chiweenie, a dachshund-Chihuahua mixed breed, named Bella, I was immediately smitten with her. Bella was the cutest, tiniest, silliest little dog I had ever seen, and I just had a feeling she was going to be a great addition to our family.