Millie Cookska has grown up with her beloved dog, Bela. So, when their Border Collie mix passed away during Christmas last year, the heart of the 9-year-old girl from Colorado shattered.
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This year, in honor of Bela, Millie wanted one thing. When her parents asked for her Christmas list, she gave them a flyer she had created to gather toys for shelter animals. She wanted to collect toys for shelter animals in memory of her departed pet.
More about her dog “Bela” that died
Millie’s mother, Ashley Cookska, said, “Last year was tough for her, so seeing all of this together is really good.”
Millie mentioned that she decided to drive for the shelter animals so that every shelter animal could have a toy for Christmas. “And for my dog, Bela’s memory,” she added.
She feels as much for animals as she does for humans. The family started collecting toys for shelter animals and Millie’s drive soon caught the attention of a local CBS outlet.
Now, countless people are helping Millie bring joy to dogs in need of adoption. Millie mentioned that she has received donations ranging from 50 to 100 toys so far. Her mother stated that the family has previously adopted shelter animals and, when Millie wanted to do the same, they went to the Dumb Friends League, where they fostered family cats to see if they could get along with the animals.
She wanted to ensure that every dog has a toy to unwrap on Christmas, as those without families feel genuinely sad. Ashley spoke about her daughter, saying, “She feels as much for animals as she does for humans.”
Bela became a part of the Cookska family shortly before Millie’s birth.
“We’ve been through everything with her, and then when Millie was born, Bela kind of protected her. They were always together and did everything together. Whatever Millie did, she wanted to do with Bela – go down the slide, play in the field. She was always with us,” said Ashley.
Reason for Bella Death
It’s heartbreaking that Bela got cancer. A year before her demise, the beloved dog had an infection in her eye. At that time, the family realized that cancer was spreading.
Ashley Cookska said “We went through the grieving process a year ago, and it was just something in her eye. Losing her eye was like we mourned it once, and we spent a whole year with her, and I think that’s what brought Millie close to Bela in that last year – knowing she could lose her.
Although the young girl wants to have Bela back, she has channeled her love for her dog into helping others.
said Cookska said “She wanted Bela’s memories to go on. Whatever stuffed animal she finds that looks like Bela, she keeps calling it Bela. Wherever we go, she looks for a magnet that looks like Bela or a piece of jewelry that looks like Bela. She really wants her memories to live on.