Nathaniel Waters settles down on the front porch of Meyers Falls Market in Kettle Falls and hugs the elderly, fluffy white dog laying on her bed and nestled in her sweater near the front door. Her slow, deliberate movements show her age (16-years-old), but she looks at Waters with the unconditional love that only canines feel for their humans.
â€śYouâ€™re such a good girl,â€ť Waters confirms, petting Bellaâ€™s head and bestowing a kiss on her nose. Her tails thumps the boards in a lackadaisical way, as if to quietly affirm, â€śYes, I am. And you are a good human.â€ť
People may recognize Waters and Bella from their daily walks around Kettle Falls and up and down Highway 25 and Highway 395. Waters, 39, is enthusiastic about getting out and moving.
â€śIt keeps us both limber,â€ť Waters says. â€śShe may be old, but that doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t get up and move. I donâ€™t want her to get stove up.â€ť
Another one of Bellaâ€™s notable features is the costumes Waters occasionally decorates her in for various holidays. For Valentineâ€™s Day, she was bedecked in red and pink, with balloons rising up from her dog vest and her paws and tail trimmed with tinsel and lace.
A devout Christian, Waters says he dresses Bella up â€śTo help spread the word of Jesusâ€ť and because it makes people happy.
*Read the complete story in this week's Statesman-Examiner!