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From Puppy Mill Survivor to Pampered Pet
February 13, 2013
Talk about a rags to riches story. Bella (formerly known as Messenger) was one of 23 dogs who arrived at the Washington Animal Rescue League last October, suffering from a combination of eye infections, skin irritations, dental problems, and lack of socialization. Still, they could be considered lucky because they were among the more than 200 animals rescued from a South Carolina puppy mill by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
In addition to some of the ailments mentioned above, Bella—a 4-year-old Malamute mix—was heartworm positive. That meant weeks of risky treatment and confinement.
Not surprisingly for a dog who’d lived in such a neglectful environment where care was at a minimum, food at a premium, and competition for resources intense, Bella was somewhat nervous when she first arrived, tended to rush to her bowl and gulp her food down quickly, and reacted poorly to other dogs.
But she was gentle and calm with people, and there was a look in her eyes that told staff and volunteers that she wanted to love and trust and become someone’s beloved companion.
Eventually, those eyes called to someone looking for just that, and right before Christmas, Bella went home. Today, she lives in Washington, DC, where she’s enjoying the good life with human mom, Kirsten.
That good life includes an array of toys, all of which she loves…but especially those that squeak. “She’s a riot,” says Kirsten. “I have never seen a dog who loves toys as much as she does. She will spend hours with her squeaky toys – tossing them in the air and chasing them. She plays with every one of them each day. Even when I try and tidy up by putting the toys in a basket she comes right behind me and takes them back out again.”
Thanks to regular walks, Bella has also gotten used to meeting other dogs and approaches most of them with curiosity, her tail wagging. She even has a best friend, George, a laid-back rescued dog who lives across the street and who is her companion on walks through the National Arboretum and the Mt. Vernon trail.
According to Kirsten, watching Bella blossom has been extremely rewarding and filled with pleasant surprises, including how affectionate she’s become. “When I come home from work, she greets me at the door excitedly and she loves to snuggle. Bella seems to know that she is now safe, loved…and family.”