Belle & I By Foster Mum Sara Waterson
Updated: Oct 7, 2019
We have just started raising funds for lifer Belle's mass cell tumour surgery. Here is a story on how Belle came into East Anglia Dog rescue and where she is now.
I began helping Holly after transporting a dog or two for her with the Animal Team in 2013. I was still barely walking after badly breaking my ankle in 2012, but was able to run around for her in my car, including shifting dogs from the Council kennels to local fosterers, taking dogs for cat or other-dog checks, and to do homechecks. I even homechecked Leanne, way back then!
I'd had to give up my longterm foster, an oldie whippet Lurcher from SLR, when I broke the ankle, as I was laid up for months. Supporting Holly - who doesn't drive - was a good way to have dogs in my life again...
One Saturday morning she got a call to get Belle out urgently, as the pound kennels were all full, and Belle had been there longest. She's a friendly Staffie but is a big very boisterous girl, which must have put off prospective owners. Holly quickly got three potential foster places lined up, just homechecks needed - so I said I'd drive up to Kennels and get her out, and look after her for the weekend while these were done.
Needless to say they all fell though: one just stopped answering calls, another had omitted to tell her partner who didn't want a dog in the house - and the third had two cats! Belle is definitely NOT cat-friendly, as I soon found out given all my neighbours have them.
On the Wednesday, she came into season, so that was that for a while! As she wasn't much trouble, other than pulling me over a few times - she's still very strong on the lead - and terrorising the local cats, I said I'd hang onto her until we found the right cat-free home, pref with other dogs and older children. She became something of a Rescue Mascot, as we beetled round collecting goodies from supporters for the new rescue shop, and on other errands. She won a lot of devotees, especially the rescue's great friend Jeanette Weddup.
It took a long time to get her spayed as she kept coming into season... She had had puppies in the past although seeming so puppyish herself. I learned from a couple I encountered in a pub a couple of years ago, who recognised her instantly, that they had rescued her from some traveller people who had sold her pups too young - she was in quite a bad way then - and that Belle, then called Daisy, had kept running away from them in Colchester, possibly to try to find her pups. She still gets very agitated and cries when pups come up on the telly - she wants to go to them - and she plays sweetly with puppies she meets out walking (unlike with bigger older dogs, with whom she enjoys much rougher games!).
I'm not sure if this was the previous owner who mistreated her - I doubt it as she seemed happy enough to see him - but when she first came to me she was extremely nervous esp of metallic noises, and painfully hand shy... I would have to be careful not to wave my arms about or touch her head suddenly: she would just drop to the floor cowering and shaking. I think she'd been pulled about a lot by small children too: she's fine with them and would never hurt one, but makes it clear she's only tolerating them. So for one reason and another as the months went by she didn't find her home, and eventually after 20 months when a big job I was trying to work on fell through, I said she could stay with me, provided any vet costs were covered. It seemed wrong to us all to move her at that point, if we ever found a home - but I'm a pensioner on the minimum pension.
Belle is a great companion: she follows me everywhere - in fact she's always under my feet, inc often in the middle of a field! Country walks are her great passion, or a gallop round our village Rec and a game with her friends there. She adores other dogs, which is a great boon, and is fine off lead: if a dog takes a pop at her she just backs off. We've been to the beach a bit this summer with her little pal Coco, since my neighbour (who buys Belle's food) got a beach hut at Frinton. She's learned to love the waves and the sand - although like most front-heavy Staffies she can't swim and won't go out of her depth.
She is very playful still - and extremely opinionated. I hardly had a peep out of her for a year or so, but now she's mighty vocal: I get barked at for all kinds of reasons but especially if I'm busy during 'six o'clock playtime' or if supper is late. We have great barking conversations - I hope the neighbour's don't mind. They think I'm dotty anyway.
Belle hates being left out of anything: demands to come on all expeditions. She still loves to chew things and destroys toys and balls pretty fast - but she's always been careful never to destroy *my* things - it's always her own. And since the first year, never her collars, leads or harnesses! Nor her companion Tiger, downstairs, nor Digby Dog who lives upstairs. Good Girl!
Yes, she's my very good girl, and we are everything to one another, living on our own as we do. Please pray to your Gods that she pulls through, and we've caught this in time.
Belle has a lump on her chest which has been diagnosed as a mast cell tumour. This is an aggressive form of cancer which is fast growing.
Belle needs surgery asap to remove this lump as it will continue to grow and the surgeons need to ensure that they can get good margins all the way around to get all of the affected tissue.
The cost of such surgery has been quoted at around £650 which is what we are needing to raise.
You can see more on Belle's needed surgery here.
The tissue will then be sent of to histology where we will find out what grade of cancer it is, and whether or not it is the type that spreads.
Please Share Belle's story and if you can, please donate. Every £1 really can make a difference.
If you would like to make a donation to help towards Belle's costs please click here.