Bella is a 7-year-old Staffordshire Terrier who’s been through a lot in her little lifetime. When I first met her, she was living in a small heated dog house with her mom and 12 other puppies! Outside, 2 feet of snow surrounded the tiny house. Poor little Bella had such a bad case of worms that she had to scoot along through the cold snow using just her front legs, all the while dragging her bottom on the ground. She had severe hip dysplasia and was the runt of the litter. The poor little thing could barely keep from getting trampled by her brothers and sisters every time they romped around her; she just couldn’t keep up.
When I arrived at Bella’s home, she was the first to greet me at the gate. As I met her family, she alternated between scooting along beside me and snuggling in my arms. My roommate and I were there to see the litter so we could describe them to friends and help find homes for them. As we were about to leave, I set little Bella down, only to see her get rolled around as her brothers and sisters jumped over and on her on their way back into their dog house. It just broke my heart, so I scooped her up, wrote the owner a check, and took her home. I had no idea how much my first pup would change my life!
Over the next year, we worked with a fantastic vet to help Bella get strong to the point that her hip dysplasia was practically gone. It was rough for her; naturally, as a puppy all she wanted to do was run and play, but she was severely restricted at the beginning of her rehab: no walks, no raucous playtime, just quick trips to the backyard to potty for the first month while taking anti-inflammatory meds, glucosamine and chondroitin, fish oils, and other vitamins. Then, we slowly worked up from no walks to 10-minute walks and so on until we were walking for a good hour-and-a-half to two hours a day. I watched as my little girl got stronger and stronger and could finally enjoy running and playing without being crippled for days afterwards. It warmed my heart so much!
Unfortunately, Bella’s had a number of health problems over the past 7 years, with the most recent issue being the discovery of 2 mast cell tumors. In August, we had them removed during two expensive surgeries that really took a toll on Bella. Even a month after the last surgery, Bella just wasn’t herself. She barely wanted to walk, wasn’t interested in playing with her toys much, and just seemed so sad and defeated. Then, on October 1st, we welcomed two new roommates into our home: a young friend and his year-and-a-half-old chocolate and white Staffordshire Terrier who looks SO much like Bella did as a pup! The dog, Toby, has been a miracle for my Bella. She’s back to her old self—running and playing, goofing off with Toby, walking regularly, and thoroughly enjoying life. We’re still trying to pay down the massive bills from Bella’s surgeries and hoping new tumors don’t crop up anytime soon, but for now, she’s happy and healthy and still filling our lives with joy and love. We are so blessed to have her!
Thank you so much, Laura, for sending in this amazing story! We are so glad to hear that Bella is doing well and loving life!
We are always accepting nominations for Pet of the Week. Send your story and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.