Rescue Tales
Watch Bella at her Therapy Session
The Bella of the Ball                                                                                                                                                                                        August 1, 2010
There's not much that Bella likes more than a tennis ball. Well, except for just about everything - people, kids, cats, dogs, you name it. But this very special girl came very close to not having a life at all. Bella's story and her never wavering spirit and the impact she has made on anyone fortunate enough to have made her acquaintance is at the very heart of why we do what we do.

Bella came to us at 1.5 years old almost completely paralyzed in her back legs. You see, Bella was purchased from a pet store. And as we all know, pet stores get their dogs from puppy mill breeders who don't really care about the health of their breeding lines. So Bella was was born with a congenital defect that was affecting her spine and her ability to walk.

Her condition was rapidly deteriorating - she was incontinent and dragging her back legs behind her 100% of the time. Her family was facing two options; expensive spinal surgery or euthanasia.

Thankfully her family loved her enough to contact us for help. They knew they couldn't give her what she needed to recover; and they couldn't bear the thought of this sweet and silly girl who loved everyone being put down. When we saw the puppyish gleam in her eye there was no question that we would try to help her. In September of 2009 after Bella underwent spinal surgery, a loving foster home opened up their hearts to this partially paralyzed and incontinent bulldog.

Bella came through the surgery with flying colors, but would need extensive physical therapy to walk again and would need a home that would be willing to give her lifelong care. Bella could have a normal and happy life, she just would need to avoid roughhousing and jumping. After 8 weeks of recovery (through which Bella remained a happy and silly bully) she began her rehab. After contacting Carol Jurca at the Animal Rehabilitation Clinic (The ARC) in North Aurora, we knew we had found just the right person to get Bella over the final hurdle.
Carol quickly got Bella on the right track with hydro-therapy, physical therapy exercises, Alpha Stimm electrical treatments and lots and lots of homework for us. Bella grew to love her therapy sessions and that's when we discovered a key personality trait that would come to define Bella. Unlike most bulldogs, treats are not a big motivator, but what she will do just about anything for is -- a tennis ball. The girl is obsessed with them. At her therapy sessions we'd sit in front of the hydro-tank as if it was a widescreen TV watching Bella walk and walk with a ball in her mouth.

After 12 weeks of therapy we knew that we finally had Bella where she needed to be and she was ready to move on to her final forever home. Although Bella had found a special place in each of our hearts we knew that when the right home came along, she deserved to find her own happiness and then we could move on to help other bulldogs in need.

Lo and behold, Bella's rescue angels found her. Lynsey H. and Erica S. had read Bella's story online and watched her videos and knew that this was the girl for them. They applied to adopt and were everything that we could hope for Bella and more. As we had, they immediately fell in love with her and were willing to continue to  work with her and provide her with a safe and loving home for the rest of her life.

And boy does Bella love her new life with Lynsey and Erica and her new doggy siblings. She continues to improve and to get stronger every day and even went on vacation to Kentucky Lake this Summer. Lynsey and Erica really get what rescue is about. They have never seen  Bella's limitations, just her potential and her huge capacity for love.

We knew that saving Bella was well worth the expense of surgery and the hours of rehab when Lynsey and Erica came to take her home. We reiterated that Bella would never be 100% perfect and Erica simply responded, "What do you mean, she's perfect already".

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Buddha, Bella and Molly
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