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I have always had a dog in my life. We had recently had to help our Bear dog over the rainbow bridge after 13 years of unconditional love. Soon after that we adopted a black lab mix pup from animal control who, due to health reasons, left us way too soon at the tender age of 1. I was hesitant to get another dog after that. It seemed like too much heartbreak to endure in such a short time. However, my daughter who was in Kindergarten at the time, came home from school telling me that one of her classmates was moving, and that they were going to take their beagle to the shelter . I had always been a big dog person, and never in my life imagined I would have a beagle. But I just could not bear the thought of someone leaving their dog at the shelter. So, I became a beagle person.

Bella was two when she came to us. We soon discovered she had had a pretty rough life with her previous family. She had not been spayed and the family moved without getting me the promised vet records. The first time I got a broom out to sweep, she tucked her tail between her legs and cowered in the corner. Her paws had been frostbitten and cold temperatures were painful She did not know how to play. No ball, no toy, no running or jumping. It was the saddest thing. After many months of patience and training, she learned to trust me, and my husband could get her riled up enough to run a bit in the yard. She was very gentle and mostly just wanted to curl up next to a warm body on the couch. She was a constant companion to our daughters, patiently enduring hours of playing "dress up" and cuddling. She was with us for 13 years and this past August we had to help her over the rainbow bridge at age 15. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to open our home and hearts to her.

Batavia, IL

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