Bella’s Gift

Posted on Jan 2, 2014 in Bella, Blog, Featured Dogs

A few months ago I shared a link about a woman named Jeanine Mioton who ran the 2013 New York City Marathon as a way to raise money for Bella’s Gift, a fundraiser dedicated to helping disabled dogs get wheelchairs from Eddie’s Wheels. Bella is part shepherd, part mastiff mix and has DM. I thought it was amazing that Jeanine ran the NYC marathon for DM so I emailed her to ask her some more questions.

Ten years ago Jeanine and her ex-husband adopted Bella from the ASPCA when she was two months old. She was the cutest and sweetest puppy they had ever seen. From the time she was a puppy she was full of life and love, and had so much spirit and energy. And, Bella could work those puppy eyes like nobody’s business. Before DM, Bella was full of energy and was very active. She would always get a spurt of energy and do laps in the hall way until she wore herself out. She would chase the pigeons and squirrels in the park. Bella was friendly with other dogs, and at times a little too friendly. She would sniff their faces until they got annoyed. Bella’s favourite part of the day was always when Jeanine came home. She would wait by door and then as soon as Jeanine came in she would run, grab her chewy, and stand in front of the bedroom door, ready to go to bed with her mom.

Jeanine and her husband realized there was something wrong a little over a year and a half ago when Bella started dragging her left paw on her hind leg. They took her to the vet and he said “not to worry, it was probably a sprain and she would heal in no time”. A month went by and it did not get better. It actually got worse and she started knuckling. At this point, Jeanine and her husband knew about DM because they googled her symptoms. They took her for a second opinion and started the “ruling out” process. First, they tried pain medication in case it was something with her back. Then, they tried steroids in case it was a tumor. Finally, they decided to test for DM. As usual, the test was inconclusive so they took her to a neurologist who pretty much confirmed what they already knew, she had DM. It was devastating, Jeanine was not ready to lose her little girl. They did everything possible to maintain her quality of life. She had acupuncture for a while, weekly swimming therapy, organic homemade food, and she was on low dose of naltrexone.

In dealing with the situation, they felt that improving Bella’s quality of life was the sole primary option to offer their dear family member. It was that simple. And luckily, they found Eddie’s Wheels. Bella was given a second chance with her cart. She was as active in her cart as she had ever been. With her wheelchair, Bella could endure long walks at the beach, the park, or simply around the block.

This is why Jeanine chose the 2013 New York City Marathon as a platform to raise money for Bella’s Gift, a fundraiser to help disabled dogs get wheelchairs/carts from Eddie’s Wheels. Running the marathon had been a dream of hers for a very long time. When she decided to run she knew she had to start Bella’s gift. It was the only way she could accept what was happening to Bella and that losing her would not be in vain. This was a way for Bella to live on and for Jeanine to pay forward all the joy and love that Bella has brought her.

Jeanine reached out to Eddie’s Wheels and told them she was running the NYC Marathon and raising money for them.  Amazingly with the nearly $3000 Jeanine raised, Eddies Wheels was able to help five dogs and a goat receive new carts.

Bella’s personality has not changed, she is still as loving and sweet as the day they brought her home. When she is with her dad, she still goes for long walks in her cart. Boy, does she love that cart. She comes to life when she is in it. However, her health is unfortunately changing for the worse. On top of all the DM symptoms, her hind legs no longer working, being incontinent, and having urinary and vaginal infections that will not go away, Jeanine also found out a few months ago that Bella now has cancer.

After writing back and forth with Jeanine and learning all about Bella I received the very sad news that Bella’s battle with DM and cancer is taking it’s toll and Bella will be laid to rest to tomorrow Friday the 3rd of January. I wanted to write this article to thank Jeanine for raising $3000 for dogs with DM and also as a tribute to Bella.

Thank you for everything Jeanine!!