I wanted to update you on my beautiful Lady Bella. We just celebrated her 4th birthday this past Friday and she enjoyed a tasty buffalo bone for a couple of hours after a great day out at the park.

Bella is doing very well and all her health issues have cleared up. I had her hernia repaired last year when I had her teeth cleaned and other than a trip to the vet when she ate a plastic bag for some reason or other, everything else is good. When Bella arrived here in Vancouver she was a bit underweight at 42 lbs; she is a glowing picture of health now at 54lbs (the vet thinks she could stand to lose about 5lbs so we'll just exercise more). Bella is a great favorite wherever she goes; dogpark, dog daycare, kennel for overnight stays, on walks around the neighborhood, the pet store, etc. The kennel I use when I have to go out of town on business missed her so much that when I hadn't come in for a couple of months, they called me at home and left a group message on my answering machine, asking me to bring her in for a day visit. I took her in a couple of days later and it was as if Bella was a "star"! As I unloaded her from the car, the employees appeared at the front door and I could hear them calling to their coworkers, "Bella's here, Bella's here!". Every time I leave her for a day or two, when I pick her up there are numerous Bella stories to be told. She has a definite personality and is quite autocratic in her ways; she insists very vocally on being permitted into the small dog area of the daycare and when she has had enough of them, she paws at the door to be readmitted into the large dog area. She pulled herself along on her side under the fencing separating the two outdoor exercise areas, something no other dog has ever done and she has escaped from two supposedly escape proof enclosures, again a first. She is extremely irritated with any human or animal that invades what she perceives is her territory (the territory is at Bella's determination, none of us have figured out how she arrives at it), vocally expressing her displeasure at farm workers, coyotes, birds, squirrels, whatever. Cats are a source of extreme displeasure to Bella but also of fascination and she has paid the price for nosiness with some sharp claw attacks to the snoot!

Many people are very impressed by Bella, especially men. I hear from them on numerous occasions that Bella "is a REAL dog". When I ask for clarification on that comment, what I hear back is that she has a "look" in her eyes, that she is not like other "pet" dogs, she's the real deal. It makes me laugh but I actually know what they are trying to say. Bella gives the impression that she is on another level altogether and ready for business at any time. I hear that she is an "old soul" and again, it's there in her eyes and I understand what people mean. I think I have a very special dog.

Bella goes to dog daycare once a week which she thoroughly enjoys. She was there all day today and she is curled up in a tight little ball in front of the fire where I imagine she will stay until tomorrow morning due to play exhaustion! Again, Bella is a favorite and when one of the employees at the daycare retired, she called and asked if she could still have Bella to her home once a week as she loved her so much. We decided to let Bella go on an off-leash adventure in the forest (pictures attached) after she had spent a full year at her daycare, hoping she would stick with the group. On her first try she was terrific, all my concerns were put aside and everyone was happy. Second time out, she strayed here and there and caused a bit of concern. Third time was the charm and I was bluntly told that Bella was not invited on outdoor adventures any further, she disappeared for 20 minutes in the woods causing a lot of stress on her minders. Anyway, we are going to try again in about a year but for now it's leash walks in the park - better than nothing. My best friend has a red bone coonhound from Mississippi and Bella plays with her weekly; it's a pleasure to see the two dogs together.

Adopting Bella has been an amazing and positive experience. She helped me to heal from losing my first Black & Tan, Scarlett, to cancer and Bella has brought that same joy back into my life. She is an excellent advocate for the breed and creates a lot of discussion and smiles wherever I take her. I will definitely adopt another hound when I have the appropriate space, I am hoping to move within the coming year to larger surroundings. I love my Bella and it couldn't have worked out better.

Gail Basaraba

Page last updated on 28 September 2011