After a chance meeting in 2015 on a Dorset beach and hearing about Schnauzerfest, Anne and Steve adopted puppy farm survivor Bella in 2018. Sadly their dog Toby passed away soon after Bella’s adoption. The DBARC team kicked into action to help ease Bella’s grief and need for a companion and reunited her with Mabel, her kennel sister whilst they had both been awaiting homes a few weeks earlier. Mabel had been with DBARC recovering from double cataract surgery and when she and Bella met once again it was immediately clear they were destined to live together.
While both dogs have experienced great trauma in the breeding industry, their journey together to living a normal, happy life is well underway. Their stories have been published in K9 Magazine (read here) and they are great ambassadors for puppy farm survivors everywhere.
Adopting two special dogs is not easy and there are challenges which Anne, Steve, Mabel and Bella face together, with commitment and courage and a big dose of humour.
“We have had so much help and encouragement from too many to list, but they know who they are particularly at DBARC and Schnauzerfest. What advice would I give? Very difficult for me to answer, as like a new parent there is oodles of advice out there and each dog is unique. I’m a total novice at this and have to watch and be aware of their comfort zones, but I would say if you have the space in your heart the patience and the time for one of these desperately let down special dogs then go for it. Listen to all advice and work out what is good for your dog. Oh, and as they have never lived in a house before, buy a good mop and bucket and be prepared to use it!” - Anne, 2018
A year today Bella went to her new home. Here are a few words from Anne, her adoptive mum.
“I don’t know who had the biggest learning curve, Bella or us. She’s developed a voice (a very big one) from a state of completely avoiding bringing attention to herself. Nowadays she makes eye contact and can be unnerving in how long she can hold it. When in a good mood she’ll march behind us on a walk howling (just because she can).
Bella has an amazing, cheeky sense of humour which is a delight when it bursts through. She waits round corners for Steve, ambushing him with barks and tail swishes from halfway up the stairs. She’s had a massive year. She’s moved from a time where we’ll never know the pain, fear and brain-numbing boredom she must have endured, to having many experiences of great food, walks and holidays. She has been to France, featured in articles, has a big, engaged Twitter following.
Bella has been filmed for TV, been lavished with a better wardrobe selection than I give myself. She’s still not a big fan of being on a lead, she much prefers running free. We’ve attended 2 Susie-Belle Memorial walks, 2 Schnauzerfest walks and attended the Annual Schnauzer walk in Dovedale.
Bella is still learning that life has a lot of good things to offer, slowly replacing her fears and terrible memories and above all being allowed to be a dog that knows what love is.”