Bella's Story

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BELLA’S STORY
REGISTERED NAME: STL’S THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL BELLA


I loved Bella before I even met her...

Back in 2007, my husband and I had to have our rescue dog “Stormy” euthanized. It broke our hearts, we cried for weeks, and agonized over the decision we had made to lead her to the “Rainbow Bridge”. After much soul searching and heart healing we decided to search for a purebred silver labrador. That is when I came across Silver Truffles Labradors. I called and talked to Rebecca, the owner of Silver Truffles. We clicked immediately; she does not kennel her dogs, she loves them, and her children spoil them, it was a match made in heaven-except for one thing. She had an available litter born December 6, 2007, but all the silvers were spoken for and all she had left was a black female, and a chocolate male. It was a disappointment for us, but at the last moment we decided to bring this brother and sister into our lives. And so it begins-Bella’s Story.

We anxiously awaited the arrival of January 25th, the day we would drive to the Cleveland area to meet our new “babies”. During that time Rebecca kept us posted on their development with emails and pictures, we could hardly wait. Finally the day arrived, it was a freezing cold day but a clear one as we started our journey into what would become the best journey of our lives.

pictures We arrived early afternoon and were greeted by Rebecca and our pups’ daddy “Bruschi”, he was absolutely a sight to behold, gentle and regal. Then “they” appeared the little balls of joy we were there to retrieve, our chocolate boy whom we have named “Dakota” and my beloved “Bella”. All was right with heaven and earth, after a lengthy and teary “goodbye” to Rebecca and “Bruschi” we headed home. By the time we pulled out of the driveway we were hooked on our Labradors and hopelessly in love with them forever.

The next 2 months were exhausting as well as exhilarating. Crate training, potty training, manner training, but true to Rebecca’s claims her dogs are easy to train, are gentle, and are everything that one could ever want in a Labrador. They learned quickly, went to puppy school and were the stars of their class. Everyone would ask us how we could train these young pups to be so good. Little did they know, that is just how they were - it is bred into them. On to obedience 1 and no surprises here. They were the stars once again. Obedience 2 started and we knew that our babies would pass the AKC GOOD CITIZEN TEST with no problems, but then it started. Midway through class, Bella would not sit on command, and when she did sit, she had a hard time standing up, she acted as though she was in pain. I was puzzled, as her brother was not having any of these problems. Soon it became evident that she was experiencing pain. It was difficult to arise from a sitting position, she could not jump onto the bed, and she could not jump into our SUV. Even though she was in pain, she still tried with all her heart to please us. She managed to take the CANINE GOOD CITIZEN TEST, and pass it with ease. Both dogs received their AKC Certificates. We were so proud of her as well as Dakota. Because of their training and gentleness, and having passed their Canine Good Citizen test, our dogs have been allowed to visit the nursing home in our area and have brought incredible joy and diversion to their residents. Through all the pain, Bella still has the desire to help others and bring joy to their lives.

One day as we arrived at home, I asked my husband to watch Bella try to get up, he too became concerned that she was obviously having difficulty. The next day we were off to our Vet for a check up. At first the Vet thought that she had injured her spinal cord and gave her medication and confined her to 6 months of “cage rest”. I was devastated, my heart was breaking and every time I looked at my beloved Bella laying in her cage I cried. I prayed that she would get better but she seemed to worsen daily. No more romping with her brother, no more running through the fields, no more swimming in the streams. Her life as a happy Labrador Retriever was fading each day. Something had to be done. My Vet couldn’t help her, but suggested that I take her to Akron Veterinary Hospital so that Dr. Daye could examine her. I called the Hospital and within days, we were on our way to Akron.

Bella was excited to go for the car ride, and sporting her new bright blue leash emblazoned with the gold “canine good citizen” logo, we arrived at the hospital. The staff greeted us, we filled out papers, and then we met with Dr. Daye. He was immediately taken with Bella’s loving attitude and demeanor. He examined her, manipulated her, twisted her in directions that I didn’t think a dog could be twisted in, and all the while Bella looked at him with that loving and trusting gaze, as if to say “I know you are trying to help me”. Dr. Daye looked up at me and said,” I am almost positive this dog has severe hip dysplasia”, but we will have to anesthesize her in order to run a full series of x-rays.” The words barely left his lips, my heart sank, and the tears began to flow. He offered comfort, but it did not mask the fear that began to creep into my soul. He suggested we go have lunch and return in about an hour, by then he felt the anesthesia would be worn off and we would have our diagnosis. It was the longest hour of my life, my husband and I sobbed off and on throughout lunch and could not understand how this could happen to a perfectly healthy well bred dog who wasn’t even a year old. We waited.

pictures When we returned, Dr. Daye was there to greet us, Bella was with him and as groggy as she was she did her best to greet us. He smiled somberly and told us how remarkable Bella was, they never had to restrain her or muzzle her - she was the perfect lady. And then he made his diagnosis. He directed us to his computer and loaded all of Bella’s x-rays. Even to my untrained eye, it did not look good. As calmly as he could, he confirmed that Bella did indeed have severe hip dysplasia. The prognosis was 3 months to 3 years before she would be incapacitated and would probably have to join “Stormy” at the Rainbow Bridge. My husband and I looked at one another; I could see the tears in his eyes and we cried. “What can we do for her? Why does she have this?” We asked through choked up sobs. “It happens”, was all Dr. Daye could say. Even in healthy parents with no background of dysplasia, some pups get this devastating disorder. He offered a shred of hope for our Bella. “If you exercise her heavily, and daily so that her rear leg muscles become stronger, put her on a diet to become as thin as she can sustain, and give her supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin, she may at least have some quality of life.” As we looked down at our beloved Bella, we vowed we would do what ever was necessary to help her with this disease. We lifted Bella into our SUV and as she slept, we drove home in total shock and despair. We cried.

By the time we arrived at home, my husband had formulated his game plan and I had formulated mine. He was determined that Bella would get her exercise, if there was a way to build her muscles, so that they could help hold her hips in place, he was going to do his best to accommodate her; so began the “runs” as we call them. Everyday, my husband packed up Bella, Dakota, Truffles & Casey (our nine year old Weimaraner) and headed for the woods and streams. At first, Bella would walk a short distance and sit down. Encouraged by her pack mates and my husband, she would get up and start to walk again, one paw step at a time. It was difficult and exhausting for her, not to mention that it probably hurt immensely.

My game plan was to search the internet and educate myself about this horrible thing called hip dysplasia. I read everything I could about it. I turned to dog bloggers for their experiences with this condition and became obsessed with this thing. Several things began to stand out about this disease. Natural supplements, weight loss, and exercise were the most successful for most peoples’ dogs.

I dug further, and a particular natural supplement received the highest accolades--” Winston’s Joint System”(dogshealth.com). I was desperate for my Bella, and contacted them. Winston’s was very helpful and efficient, Bella received her supply within days, and as they requested I was to report on her progress in thirty days.

Each day she became stronger. Was it our imagination, or is she starting to run? Two weeks passed, then the thirty day mark. No, it was not our imagination, she is running. Excitedly I made the call (1-888-901-5557) to Winston’s. I could not believe the difference. My Bella was able to run. Winston’s staff was not surprised; they expected improvement, and were excited for me as well as for Bella. I am not giving a sales pitch here; I am only trying to help other dogs by passing on this information, if it worked for Bella, then maybe it can work for another dog.

pictures It has now been 5 months. My husband fulfilled his exercise routine with the pack, Bella lost 7 pounds, has developed strong muscles. He never missed a day and never let her quit, through rain, sub zero temperatures, snow, sleet and ice, he made her run. She swam in the icy creeks, she climbed the embankments, she ran the paths, putting on about five miles a day. She developed muscles. She can now live the life of a retriever, swimming, running, retrieving, and hopping up onto the bed and into the SUV. She can keep up with the entire pack. We rejoiced.

We don’t know how long this miracle will last, but we do know we will keep up her regimen of exercise and supplements. Bella was at the Vets recently and he is delighted, there is such an improvement in her he could not believe it was the same dog. We smiled.

Silver Truffles Labradors (silverlabs.net) owned by Rebecca Daniels, was instrumental in my telling Bella’s Story. Rebecca was also devastated by Bella’s dysplasia, and wanted to immediately replace Bella with a new pup. I couldn’t do that to Bella; she can never be replaced. Rebecca then asked if I would tell the story of Bella so that she could put it on her website. I was shocked. I could not imagine why a breeder would want the world to know that she sold a pup that ended up with hip dysplasia. “I want everyone to know that even in the best of lines, disease can happen, but I also want everyone to know that it doesn’t always mean a death sentence for the dog, and Bella proves that.” I agreed.

Our dogs are our lives, our family, our true friends, they are soul mates who happen to wear fur. My husband and I can not imagine life without our pack, which by the way will be one soul mate stronger, as Bella’s mother “Sable” will be coming to live with us in the near future. Rebecca feels it’s time to retire her and give her the best labrador life she can have, and that’s where we come in. We are anxiously awaiting her arrival, it is not a replacement to Bella in any way. It is in addition to. That will make a total of four Silver Truffles Labradors for us, and complete our “6 pack”.

I truly believe that things happen for a reason. We had to send “Stormy” to the Rainbow Bridge, which set our course for an incredible journey with Rebecca and Silver Truffles Labradors, and the journey will continue until each of us meet at the “Rainbow Bridge” and we cross it together to begin another journey on the other side.

May paw prints tread softly into your heart and fill your soul----

Cookie Bell 5-2009




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