Burningwood's Good Time Girl CGC, CD, RN RA (AKA Belle)
They don't all have to be shiny showgirls-Some are just great companions and workers-This is Belle's story
In the Summer of 2009 our Ch Beegee had a litter of 9 puppies. They were pretty pups with a great future but one stood out. It wasn't because she was the prettiest (she wasn't) or because she was the best behaved (she wasn't that either). This pup stood out because she was the most precocious, troublesome pup-and proud of it. By the time she was 5 weeks old she had taught her mother and littermates how to climb a fence. She was an escape artist of the first rank.. She was a pup with a mission.
Because of the kind of girl she was, any home just wouldn't do, so she hung around for about 10 weeks until the right forever home came along. She was to be a performance dog in 4H. They named her Bella and she lived with her new family and her friend Munson (a Great Dane) for a few months until one day the phone call came. Could we take her back? She was a good dog but her forever home was breaking up and there was no place for her. So home she came, almost twenty pounds underweight, missing pigment from malnutrition and loaded with assorted doggy vermin but still happy, playful and lots of trouble.
It took about 6 months but Belle responded to medication, lots of love and developed into a strong, healthy girl. It was time for a new home. After careful checking, recommendations from other dog people and training instructors we found the perfect home, again. This time she would do AKC Obedience work and be trained as a therapy dog. Her new owner worked in a dog grooming facility and Belle went to work with her every day. She had a good life for about 7 months until the phone call came. This time there was a stroke in the family and her owner had to move but there was no room for Belle. By now she had been spayed and had all her shots. Could we keep her for a couple of months until her people could find a place that would allow dogs. We should have realized, when she came with her Martha Stewart collar, fancy food holder and a couple of boxes of equipment and meds that she would be here awhile. Belle was sad this time. She would sit for hours, watching out the front door, waiting for her people who never came. About this time her Aunt Velvet had pups and, although Belle couldn't have puppies of her own, she was a wonderful Nanny and loved those babies, especially Annie.
To distract her from the missing family, I started taking her to dog classes. We tried agility for a few weeks but she started showing signs of allergic reaction to something. Eventually we found out, after looking through the paperwork she came back with, that Belle had been given all her shots at the same time and it blew out her immune system. It seemed like she was allergic to everything (except fun and trouble). We moved to other classes and after a few months Belle had acquired her AKC Canine Good Citizen Degree. As time went on she worked on more obedience training and, last year, got her AKC CD (Companion Dog) Certificate.
Another year has passed. Belle decided that Agility wasn't her cup of tea and she really doesn't like the dumbell that she needs to use for her CDX so we are trying something called Rally. Belle has completed her Rally Advanced Title in just 3 shows. We are not sure where she goes from here but Belle will keep doing something as long as it is fun for her. Of course, for Belle, life is fun.
We determined that she is allergic to poultry, beef and air temperature. As soon as the weather gets cold, she starts to break out in hives. I keep her a bit overweight in the winter and, sometimes, she wears a sweater. In the past year we have found, and removed, a number of cancerous mast cell tumors. She is 7 now and has finally found her forever home, right here where she started. Belle was officially retired at the end of 2014-now she just hangs with the other dogs and has a good time.
About a week ago we found another, large mast cell tumor on one of her toes. The toe has been removed and she is feeling OK but the prognosis is guarded. I know she isn't feeling great. She stays on the sidelines now and watches the others play.
It is now Summer, 2018. Belle is 9 years old and still enjoying her life. The cancer is still there, more tumors are growing but they don't seem to bother her. For whatever time she has left we will let her enjoy her days-eat and sleep in the sun.
Sadly Belle passed over the Rainbow Bridge on Nov. 13, 2018. She fought but, ultimately, her once powerful body gave out. She was 9 1/2 years old. As I was told years ago, "Belle made everything special". They were right. I miss her terribly and, probably, always will.
Belle was one of the lucky ones. There are many Bullmastiffs out there that need loving, forever homes. If you are interested in Rescuing one of these special dogs please contact American Bullmastiff Rescue.