“My last dog passed away when my kids were just babies and I couldn’t take on another shred of responsibility.
My youngest child started lobbying for a dog at the age of seven but I knew I had to wait until she was ten, when they were set sufficient enough.
I was all set to go to a yellow lab breeder but my daughters said that was irresponsible and we should get a rescue.
That began our search on Petfinder.
It took about six months to find the right dog.
It was as simple as the description that she was mellow, liked children and got along with cats.
We got a cat as a stopgap along the way.
The cat still rules, but he lets Bella sleep on the couch with him.
Bella had a terrible trip up from the Ozark Mountains. She was in a tiny little crate.
When she arrived, she curled up and went right to sleep for days.
She had a tumultuous beginning.
She was originally a Christmas present from a boyfriend to his girlfriend in a trailer park. She was tethered to a tree outside the trailer and neglected until a rescue group saved her.
She wasn’t afraid of people, but was and is still afraid of loud noises.
She’s a city dog, now. and is slowly coming around.
She would rather be sleeping on a bed or curled up on somebody’s feet.
She likes to accompany me to pick up the kids and have people pet and play with her.
When we take her to the country she is in her element. She loves to go swimming and boating.
We started by having strict rules–no jumping on the beds. That only lasted for a few days.
One day I dropped the kids at school without her and when I got back twenty minutes later, she chewed up ballet pointe shoes, took apart a sewing kit–needles were strewn everywhere, jumped up on to the kitchen table and got into the cereal bowls.
She has separation anxiety, so now we keep her in a crate when we’re gone.
She likes the crate. It’s her safe house.”