Bella, the Maltese mix who mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago from a home in Durham, N.C., has been returned to her family — and in an equally mysterious manner.
Bella wandered away from home on March 11, and, minutes later, a neighbor saw the driver of a car stop and pick her up at an intersection.
A day later Scott and Kerry Holmes received a phone call from a person claiming to have found their dog. But when they didn’t specify a reward amount, the caller hung up without supplying any additional information.
The family contacted police, and began putting up “lost dog” flyers.
Near the end of last week, a third party contacted the family in an attempt to arrange the return of Bella. The family later met her at a nearby church and picked the dog up.
But neither the Holmes nor police, who have made an arrest in the case, are saying much more than that.
Scott Holmes, an attorney, said Bella was safely returned home Thursday night. “Our family is so happy she is home. We are celebrating her return. She has slept a lot and seems to be perking up today,” he said.
He declined to offer any specifics about the dog’s return, but did say that his family is collecting reward money for a single mother in Chapel Hill who provided information that led to Bella’s return.
Meanwhile, police arrested Amanda Shanese Bynum, 28, of Carrboro, and charged her with extortion, larceny of a dog and felony conspiracy, according to the Durham Herald-Sun. According to police, Bynum threatened not to return the dog unless she was paid $600.
According to WTVD, Bella traveled at least as far as Charlotte during the time she was missing. A photograph of her at a Charlotte pet supply store, wearing some new dog clothes, appeared on Bynum’s social media page, the Holmes family said.
Holmes said that after being returned Bella was lethargic over the weekend, but that she is bouncing back. He said she appeared to be in good shape physically.
“My wife and Bella are catching up on their sleep and are really, really glad to be reunited,” Holmes said. “They’re very close, and they’re doing really well. There’s been a lot of joy in our house since we got Bella home.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, bella, dogs, durham, home, kidnapped, larceny, maltese, missing, mix, north carolina, pets, ransom, returned, theft
Then the family got a phone call that indicated otherwise.
The caller, who claimed to have picked up their lost dog at a Durham, N.C., intersection, asked if there was a reward, and hung up when the answer didn’t please her.
The phone call was made six days ago, and the woman hasn’t called back since, according to the owners of Bella.
“She said she had the dog and asked about money and if we had a reward,” recalled Caroline Wilgen. “I said yes, but we hadn’t decided how much and she hung up.”
Bella, a white Maltese-poodle mix, wandered off last Wednesday as her owner unloaded groceries. She made it to the intersection of Cornwallis and Pickett Road.
“Several cars stopped when she tried to cross the road and the person who was closest to the dog scooped it up and then tried to put it in her car,” Wilgen told WTVD.
The next day Bella’s family received the phone call from a woman who said she had found the owner’s contact information on the dog’s collar.
“We received a call Thursday, around 8:00 pm, from the young woman who picked Bella up,” Wilgen’s husband wrote on his blog. “She said that Bella got into her car voluntarily. She sounded a little worried she may be in trouble. … We have hoped she would call back, but so far, nothing.
“We really hope she calls. We are not trying to get her in trouble, we just want Bella home. Maybe a neighbor or friend will recognize Bella and encourage her to do the right thing.”
Wilgen adopted Bella two years ago, driving seven hours to pick the dog up from a shelter in Tennessee, where she’d been dropped off with matted fur and rotting teeth.
Now Bella needs to be rescued again.
“She’s already been through a lot so if we could bring her home, that’d be great,” Wilgen said.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bella, car, dog, dognapped, dogs, durham, kidnapped, lost, maltese, missing, mix, n.c., north carolina, pets, phone call, picked up, poodle, ransom, reward, wandered
Surely you can relate to what Bella, the German shepherd featured in this video, is going through.
Think about that beach vacation you didn’t want to come to an end, or your toddler’s hissy fit when the time came to leave Chuck E. Cheese, or those potato chips you always need one more of.
Sometimes, when something just feels so good, or is so much fun, stopping, packing up and going home is just unthinkable.
Such, seemingly is the case with Bella, who, when informed that her lake visit was over, whined, moaned and carried on in a way that made it clear that — despite what her owner was telling her — it wasn’t quite time to leave.
In posting the video on YouTube, her caretaker noted that, after her performance, Bella got to play in the lake a little longer.
“No dogs’ hearts were actually broken in the making of this video,” she added.
Two days ago, she posted another comment on YouTube, alluding to all the negative comments the video has received about her “ill-trained” dog.
“I thought it was funny. I didn’t realize at the time that half of the world’s population would know her better than I do based on a 2 min video. The true story is she has severe HD and we take her swimming in the pond just about everyday for therapy (it’s good for her hip, and helps burn all of her puppy energy).
“… She’s perfectly trained and I do know this isn’t appropriate behavior. I have found people nor animals are 100% perfect all of the time. You can tell from the tone of my voice that I’m not serious and she knew it as well. That’s why she pushed the limits and I allowed her to do so. It was fun banter back and forth between her, my daughter and I.
“Even after explaining ALL of this, there are going to be a million “dog whisperers” that still know her better than me. I posted this video 5 months ago, not thinking it would ever go viral. Based on the negativity of people that cannot see this for what it was — just a funny video of a dog — makes me wish at times that I had never posted it in the first place.”
Not to read too much into it, and even though it was all in the spirit of playfulness, it still makes me wonder: As dogs become more like humans, are they getting better at manipulating us?
And, given how much we’ve manipulated them, is that only fair?
And, as for all those nasty “expert” commenters who can’t tear themselves away from negatively pontificating on the Internet — because to them it’s just too much fun — I suggest they go jump in a lake.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 1st, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, bella, dog, dogs, fit, fun, german shepherd, hissy fit, internet, lake, manipulation, pets, play, stop, time to go, video, viral video
Most dogs, when they chase a cat up a tree, leave it at that.
Some walk away, deeming their mission accomplished. Some might skulk away, feeling, or so we’d guess, outwitted. And some might stand sentry at the base of the tree, waiting hours for the cat to come down.
Bella followed this cat right up the trunk — and about two-thirds of the way to the top of the tree — before reaching a point where going any higher would have been dangerous, and getting down was pretty much impossible.
Her owner, Heather Evans, called the Garner, N.C., Fire Department.
Then she took some photos — of her dog’s predicament, and her dog’s rescue.
The photos appeared on ABC11, which reported the dog was stuck for about an hour and a half before firefighters arrived and, with a ladder, helped her down.
Bella was not hurt, and neither was the cat, who we assume got down by itself.
(Photos by Heather Evans, via WTVD)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 5th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bella, cats, chase, climbing, climbing trees, dogs, follow, garner, heather evans, north carolina, owner, pets, photos, tree climbing dogs, trees, up a tree
If you think dogs don’t really love, and don’t really mourn, watch this and think again.
Bella, the dog, is dealing with the loss of her good friend Beavis, a beaver.
According to Bella’s owner, who posted the video on YouTube, Bella and Beavis played ball together, shared living quarters, and ate together. “They lived and loved together for quite a while. Beavis died this morning, and Bella has been in mourning for hours.”
While two other dogs that show up in the video don’t seem particularly bereft, Bella appears — at least to our human eyes — to be taking the death of Beavis pretty hard, licking and nuzzling the motionless beaver and remaining at its side.
Looks an awful lot like grieving to me.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beaver, beavis, bella, bella and beavis, bella mourns beavis, death, dog, dog and beaver, dog mourns beaver, dogs, emotions, friends, friendship, grief, grieves, interspecies, love, mourning, pets, sad, video
Joseph Thomas was pushing his 4-year-old daughter Jada on her swingset when two gunmen entered their back yard in Bradenton, Florida, and demanded money.
Bella, their boxer, and the other family dog, ran toward the men, who fired several errant shots before they ran off.
“If someone offered me a million dollars for her right now,” Thomas said of Bella, “I wouldn’t take it.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, back yard, barking, bella, boxer, bradenton, crime, dogs, family, florida, gunmen, joseph thomas, news, pets, protection, robbers, saves, security, video
It’s not an unheard of kind of mistake, especially with black Labs, who sometimes look so similar even their owners can’t tell them apart.
It was Christmas Day when the Peterson family of Maple Valley realized the black Lab returned to them after a stay in a Seattle pet hotel two weeks earlier wasn’t their dog, Bella. Instead, they were hosting LaiLa, another black Lab who had been boarding at the same kennel.
As it turned out, Bella (left), who belongs to Stacey and Rob Peterson, ended up spending a few weeks in Issaquah with Anne Galasso, the owner of LaiLa (right). Galasso’s dog, LaiLa, spent time in Canada near Stacey Peterson’s parents, and then in Maple Valley when the Petersons returned from a vacation in Europe, according to the Seattle Times.
PetSmart PetsHotel of Issaquah, where both dogs were boarded, is planning on refunding both families’ boarding fees.
Both families suspected something was amiss, the Times reports.
The Petersons had noted the dog they thought was Bella looked skinnier when they got home, barked a lot more and didn’t respond to her name the same way. They figured maybe she was just upset by their absence.
Galasso noted the dog she thought was LaiLa licked a lot more than normal, but she attributed it to a recent move, and her dog having lost her former playmates.
Eventually, the Petersons took a look inside the mouth of the dog they thought was Bella, and saw that her missing teeth were no longer missing.
“Clearly this dog had all her teeth,” Peterson said. “And that’s when things started to make sense.”
Peterson called PetSmart, and took her dog to a nearby veterinary hospital that scanned her microchip, where she found out the dog she was in possesion of was really LaiLa.
The hospital called Galasso and notified her she actually had Bella. Galasso noted Bella had been sleeping at the foot of her bed with her cats, just like LaiLa does.
The two dogs were reunited with their real owners the day after Christmas.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bella, black, black lab, black labs, boarding, dog, dog hotel, dogs, hotel, kennel, lab, labrador, labrador retriever, labradors, LaiLa, lookalike, mix up, mixup, owners, pet smart, pets, pets hotel, switch, switched, wrong