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Neglected dog ‘clung onto life’ so she could experience love again

It was ‘touch and go’ whether poor Bella would survive

An emaciated, sick dog who barely ‘clung onto life’ is now making the most of her second chance in a loving new home.

When five-year-old mastiff Bella arrived in RSPCA care in July 2020 she was severely underweight and malnourished. She had very bad skin - due to a flea infestation - and was anemic. Staff spent six months nursing Bella back to health but it was touch and go whether she’d pull through.

Once Bella had gained some weight, staff were able to send her for surgery to remove a mass on her ovary and help her pyometra (a secondary infection caused by female hormones).

Cathie Ward from Southridge Animal Centre, in Hertfordshire, said: “Bella fell into very poor condition after her owner could no longer take care of her. It was touch and go when she came to us and there were many occasions where staff prepared for the worst and even said their goodbyes.

“Shortly after she arrived with us and had her surgery she deteriorated; she became lame when walking and very lethargic. She struggled to lay down or stand up. We were so worried about her and she had lots of tests. Vets decided it was as a result of her anemia which was causing her weakness.”

After round-the-clock care from vets and RSPCA staff, Bella finally started to improve and gain strength again.

Cathie said: “Thankfully, despite all the odds, she clung onto life and we were all thrilled that she pulled through. When it was finally time to put her up for rehoming and find her a new home and a fresh start it was very emotional; we didn’t think we’d ever get that far!”

Bella (now renamed Booboo) was adopted by Katy Fenwick and her family - from Bromley, south east London - just a few weeks before Christmas 2020 and soon settled into her happy ever after.

Katy said: “Booboo is great and we all love her very much. We were drawn to her as it seemed she’d had such a troubled start in life and we knew we could give her the love and care she needed, and deserved.

“When she first arrived home she settled in relatively quickly and made herself comfortable. We’d recently moved into a new house with a big garden for her to run around in; not that she does much of that as her favourite pastime is sleeping!”

Booboo instantly attached herself to Katy but, over time, she’s grown closer to the rest of the family.

Katy added: “Booboo loves her walks even though she can’t walk too far. She needed a lot of training at first as I don’t believe she’d ever been walked on a lead before but, thankfully, she learned quickly not to drag me everywhere!

“She finds it really difficult to socialise with other dogs; obviously something in her past has made her frightened of them, but we know now to keep a safe distance and we manage it as best we can.

“I know it’s not always easy taking on a rescue dog, but it is so rewarding. We feel very lucky to have been able to give Booboo the forever home she deserves. She is so very loving and we would not be without her!”

To Join the Christmas Rescue and help our rescuers be there for the animals in need this winter, please visit


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