When I met Baby Bella for the first time, my initial thought was “she is so small!” That was quickly followed with “why is she so angry at me?” Shelter staff explained that Bella didn’t like strangers and it took multiple meetings for her to warm up to people. I also learned that Bella couldn’t be harnessed unless you were her “friend”, but she would let strangers walk her once harnessed. So, I took her for a walk that first day and laughed at how she wanted to chase birds and snorted like a pig when excited. I smiled knowing she wouldn’t be around long since she was so little and funny.
But days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. And Bella sat at the shelter. Apparently, her initial unfriendly behavior was a bigger issue than I thought. So when I joined GPG as the new Program Director I decided to make Bella my friend. Every day I stood outside her kennel and gave her treats. And every day she would snarl, lunge and bark at me. Eventually she started wagging her tail when I approached. Eventually she let me harness her without growling and snapping. And now? Well, as you can see from the photos, Bella has welcomed me into her life. And in turn, she has changed mine.
When I’m tired, when I’m stressed, when I want to scream, I think of Bella. I think about how she snorts and jumps for joy when she sees me. I think about how she insists on kisses and won’t let me escape until she is satisfied. She has become my “rescue touchstone” who reminds me why I’m here and motivates me to do better.
I do worry about her. I worry if she continues to drive people away that she will sit in a kennel for years. I worry no one will take the time to know the Bella I’ve come to know. But then I think of some of our wonderful adopters who have gone to great lengths to make a “difficult dog” a member of their family. People who have learned that if you give a dog a chance, they will give you their heart. So I will continue to cherish my time with Bella and do whatever I can to find her forever home.
I love you Bella Girl and I will never give up on you!
Learn more about Baby Bella here.