Best Friends Animal Society Adopts Out Bella the Tripod Pit Bull, Who Chewed Off Leg to Escape Neglect, to Couple Who Vow to “Spoil Her Rotten”
There were smiles and cheers all around at Utah’s Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on March 24 as Bella, an adorable young pit bull terrier with a tragic past, went home with adopters Kim Diehl and Jason Reding of Rockford, IL. The biggest smile, of course, was Bella’s own.
Though she’s a tripod, Bella zoomed around the play yard with the speed of a top athlete as Diehl, Reding, and Best Friends staff enjoyed the scene.
“You’re just so darn adorable, aren’t you?” Diehl said joyfully, cupping Bella’s face as the dog cuddled up to Reding.
It was hard to imagine that just the summer before, Bella had been found tethered in a yard with no food, water, or shelter by Saginaw County Animal Care & Control in Michigan. She had been there for 3 weeks. Worse yet, Bella had chewed off her own back leg at the thigh in a desperate attempt to free herself after getting tangled up in the tether.
Bella was very malnourished and underweight when she was found, adding to the dire state of her condition upon being rescued by animal care and control officer Desi Sage, who sought immediate veterinary care for the distressed dog.
“Walking into the backyard and seeing Bella that day was unimaginably gut wrenching,” Sage said. “Against all odds, Bella overcame being left for dead.”
After Bella came to the attention of a Best Friends’ employee, she was selected for admission to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Sage and her colleague Abbe Balderstone left Michigan early on the morning of January 15, to make the three-day, 1,800-mile journey to deliver Bella to Best Friends.
“I’m beyond thankful to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for ensuring that Bella will never endure such pain and agony again,” Sage said upon bringing Bella to the sanctuary. “I believe this next chapter in her life will help her move forward and hopefully eventually land her in a loving home with people who truly see how special she really is.”
That’s exactly what happened when Diehl and Reding visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in February 2022. The couple had adopted a senior pit bull named Roxanne from the sanctuary in 2015. When Roxanne passed in October 2021, the couple knew they wanted to eventually adopt another pit bull. Diehl was touched when she read about Bella on the Best Friends website and thrilled when she and Reding were able to take Bella for an outing during their stay at the sanctuary.
“The rest is history. Bella just has an irresistible face. It was love at first sight,” Diehl said. “We brought her to stay with us at the sanctuary’s onsite cottages for a week. She’s so energetic and has such a bubbly personality, we grew to love her even more.”
They applied to adopt Bella and made a plan to bring her back to Rockford as soon as they could. The day before her official adoption, Diehl and Redding flew to Denver and rented a car to drive Bella back so that she would be comfortable during the journey.
Bella was thrilled to see the couple, exuberantly going back and forth from Diehl and Redding before walking to their car. As she settled in the back seat with Diehl with a wide grin on her face, it seemed that Bella knew she was finally home.
“Her back story is very sad and it’s too bad that she had to go through that, but we intend to make up for all of that,” Diehl said. “We intend to spoil her rotten.”
Bella enjoyed the trip to Illinois, Diehl said, and is acclimating to her new home quickly. “Bella has a bed on the floor next to me and has been sleeping through the night. It’s hard to believe that she is potty trained, but so far, no accidents. We have so much love for this adorable girl.”
According to Julie Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society, Bella’s story really embodies the spirit of animal welfare.
“It’s only by working together that shelters and rescues can save pets like Bella,” Castle said. “Everyone at Best Friends is thrilled that Bella found wonderful adopters and we are very grateful to have played a role in her getting a second chance at a beautiful new life.”
Big dogs such as Bella are part of the most at-risk groups at shelters across the country. It’s estimated that there are 100,000 more pets awaiting adoption now versus a year ago due to declining adoptions, staffing shortages and increased intake. To foster or adopt a large dog near you, visit www.bestfriends.org.
About Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society is the leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 347,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,600 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.