Bella’s Story

We were asked to help with a 4 year old Sprocker bitch called Bella. We arranged emergency foster for Bella, and the couple picked her up and took her home.

Instantly they were extremely concerned with her behaviour, she point blank refused to be touched and backed herself into a corner and messed herself. She stayed in that corner the whole night until she followed the couples own dog into the lounge where she then jumped up onto the sofa next to her foster dad. She allowed him to stroke her but still refused any contact from women. It was then decided that Bella needed a thorough assessment with someone with a little more experience so with the help of volunteers she travelled north and found herself being fostered by myself and my husband Martin.

When I first clocked eyes on her I thought there had been a mistake, she couldn’t be 4 years old she looked like an old dog. Again she refused contact with either of us so I left her in a comfortable kennel for the night and arranged for a friend who is an behaviourist, to come and look at her. This lady showed me invaluable skills in how to interact with Bella without making myself look threatening. So started many hours of me sitting crossed leg on the floor, head down avoiding eye contact with a juicy bit of hot dog sausage in my hand. Eventually she took the tidbit and started creeping closer. I could then see better her overall condition. Her coat was a mess, dull, lank, dry and patchy, I could see the patches where she had scratched herself. She was a small built dog but carrying too much weight, then I noticed her teats, they were enlarged and dark. Now, to me this suggested either this dog had been pregnant or was going through a false pregnancy, it might explain her behaviour. I watched her walk and again something wasn’t quite right, she hobbled as if she was arthritic. By this point Bella would allow Martin to handle her and we saw her nails were that long they had curled round into her pads. We took Bella to the vets, her nails were clipped, her boosters restarted as she had not had vaccinations, flea, ear mite and worming medication all needed. She was walking flat rather than on her toes. Lastly I mentioned her teats, yes, this dog had had a recent litter probably in the last 6 to 8 weeks.

I looked at that miserable dog on the vet table and my heart just cracked. So I made it my mission to get this creature as well as we could. With her issue of not liking women I made a huge effort to turn this around. One evening I was sat on the floor sorting some paper work and she just sat on my lap. I kissed her head and gently stroked her, from this point I think I had finally gained her trust, she then decided her sleeping place had to be above my head on my pillow! I didn’t mind at all I was honoured!

For a dog who didn’t like walks she sure loved them with us. We got her professionally groomed and she looked absolutely stunning. We had a real Sprocker now, happy, looking years younger she just blossomed.

After nearly two months with me we eventually found her a home. Boy did I cry. But, we found her a match made in heaven. Robert is a retired shepherd, he had lost his little border terrier Rosie a few years back. I mentioned we had a dog staying with us and told him all about her. That was that! The partnership these two have is just so lovely to see, Robert is diabetic and registered blind, I truly believe Bella looks after him in her unique way. They walk 3 times a day and keep each other fit. And they adore each other. Best thing for me is Uncle Bob is just up the road so I get to see Bella every Sunday. I am greeted by a body wagging Sprocker usually with her favourite octopus toy in her mouth and jumped on for cuddles.

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