Lisa Ison was going through a rough time when she met Bella, a Pekingese-Pomeranian mix at the Dumb Friends League four years ago.
"She put her little paws on me and it was over," Ison said.
Bella helped her stay positive through a back injury, a divorce and getting laid-off.
"I was depressed. I was lonely. It was a real hard time and she saved my life," Ison said.
The 5-year-old lap dog truly is her best friend.
"I almost can't explain how much joy she brings to my life. I live alone, so having her there, she is always happy to see me and she is so loving. My life would not be the same without her," Ison said.
She almost learned what that would be like. Last weekend, Bella almost lost her life.
"I had given her a part of a ham bone - a ham hock. I thought it would be a good treat for her. Sunday morning at 4 a.m. she started throwing up and throwing up slivers of these bones," Ison said. "She moved a little bit on my bed and blood was pouring from her backside. I freaked out."
Ison rushed Bella to the Alameda East Veterinary Hospital.
"I was terrified. I thought for sure she was going to die," she said.
Dr. Jeff Steen has been at the Alameda Vet Hospital for 12 years. He says Bella was in horrible shape.
"She was dehydrated, vomiting and not eating. She could have gotten septic and died," Steen said.
The doctor told Ison that saving Bella would cost at least $900 just to pay for half of the treatment.
"I live paycheck to paycheck, and I didn't have it. I was hysterical. I was crying," Ison said.
A middle-aged couple in the lobby was watching all this as it happened.
"I went to the bathroom and when I came back they hugged me goodbye and they said, 'We're gonna help you don't worry about it.'"
When she went to the front desk, the bill was paid.
"For those folks to be there at that very moment is a miracle, a gift from God," Ison said.
It took a few days in the vet hospital, but Bella pulled through.
"I was so touched and so moved that somebody would randomly do something so kind and so giving in these hard times. It restored my belief in human kindness," Ison said.
It also restored hope in her own future.
"Now all I look forward to is getting my life together and getting myself in a place where I can pay it forward," Ison said.
Ison is working on a payment plan to pay off the other half of the bill.
The Good Samaritans didn't want to be interviews for this story, but told Ison they were so happy to help and they now have two new friends.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)