It is with heavy hearts that we share this news we received from our dear friends, Nick & Beth Como.
With extreme pain and anguish, I have to convey that our beloved Bella passed away on Thursday evening, 4 August. Bella stepped off her pillow as she has done many times to greet my wife as she came home. In one step, she leapt off her pillow and her right rear leg shattered. We rushed her to our local vet who indicated that no growths were apparent on X-rays, but referred Bella to a surgery center in Richmond. When she was given radiological tests on her leg at the surgery center, the tests indicated that she had osteosarcoma. We were grimly informed that surgery could not save her.
Bella has been my loving dog for 10 years of her 12.5 year life. She has garnered a large circle of friends during her therapy dog work at the “Sunshine House” in Fredericksburg, a nursing home in Tappahannock and at the many wine festivals or just walks in the parks that she attended. Bella provided love to many. We now realize with great pain the gravity of our feelings in the loss of a dog that specialized in unconditional love.
Nick & Beth Como
The following is a blog post that Nick wrote in November 2015 about Bella's therapy dog work.
Bella and her dad Nick have been visiting The Sunshine Lady House in Fredericksburg, VA, every other Wednesday since June 2012 and they have never missed a single one hour session. The Center is a 12 patient facility where each guest has a 2 week stay before returning home. Upon entering the center, Bella immediately goes to a conference type room where she nuzzles up to the awaiting guests. Then she lies down on the floor where each guest gathers around her for her weekly "rubdown." Bella considers this the best spa treatment in the world. The guests are very receptive to her and are in a better frame of mind by the end of the visit. The interaction between Bella and the guests is amazing.
This past October, Bella and Nick were awarded the Behavioral and Health Volunteer of the Year Award by the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. This award is given to a volunteer or agency each year who provides valuable services to the community in the areas of behavioral health and intellectual disability services. It is a great honor to receive this award and we are so proud of Bella and Nick. Here are few things the Board had to say about Bella and Nick.
“What makes Nick and Bella so special to our program is the comfort, support and smiles that they provide each and every visit.”
“Bella is able to sense when individuals really need her and she goes to them to provide them comfort. She doesn't mind people laying on her and endures the occasional tail pull with great tolerance. For all the participants, they find solace in the unconditional love that Bella provides.”
“Nick and Bella are truly an integral part of the guest's wellness at the Sunshine Lady House for Mental Health Wellness and Recovery and are most deserving of the volunteer of the year award.”
BRGA is so proud of Bella and Nick for their commitment to the community. They truly are superstars!