It just takes one special dog for us to see the huge impact these canine companions can have on our own lives and the lives of others. On the blog, we’d like to share the story of a dog near and dear to our hearts. In 2002, Ortho Dog co-president Elizabeth adopted a one-year-old puppy through the Animal Compassion Network, now integrated with Asheville Humane Society. Elizabeth named her Bella Mia, meaning my beautiful girl in Italian.
When Bella was diagnosed with canine hip dysplasia, Elizabeth explored non-surgical treatment options for pain relief. When she didn’t find quite what she was looking for on the market, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
An Early Diagnosis of Canine Hip Dysplasia
Gentle and big-hearted, Bella was loved by her new family immediately after adoption. Her home included humans, another dog, a cat, chickens, two Tennessee fainting goats and even llamas! She embraced her family of friends, reciprocating their immense love for her.
One of her favorite things to do was check on the llamas—visiting them several times throughout the day, and playing chase with them in early evenings.
A mixed-breed, Bella had a boxer mother and German Shepherd father. This combination resulted in an intelligent, loyal, and lovable pet. However, it also put her at high risk for genetic hip problems. Bella was three when the vet diagnosed her with canine hip dysplasia. Boxers and German Shepherds are two of several breeds predisposed to canine hip dysplasia, an inheritable canine skeletal condition that occurs from malformation of the ball and joint socket of one or both hips (the hip joint is called the coxofemoral joint).
Acupuncture for Dogs
Acupuncture can help treat dog hip dysplasia. It certainly worked for Bella! After doing some research, Elizabeth found a veterinary clinic in town that provided gold bead implants, a more permanent form of acupuncture that can help treat canine conditions such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, traumatic nerve injury, and urinary incontinence.
Bella underwent the implantation procedure and the implants would last five years. Though the gold bead implant was helpful, Elizabeth sought out another way to help aid her hip dysplasia long term.
Our Orthopedic Hip Brace was Born
Elizabeth knew that dog leg braces were highly effective in stabilizing and supporting joints. She knew exactly what Bella needed. Elizabeth and Karen Hartman designed and created the Ortho Dog Hip Hound brace. Bella became our Hip Hound model, and the first dog to wear and benefit from the brace for the majority of her life.
Alternative Therapies Helped This Therapy Dog
Because she was now pain-free, Bella worked as a certified therapy dog through an organization called Paws With A Purpose based in Asheville, NC.
Her beautiful spirit provided healing and comfort for people of all ages in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, rehab centers, and even elementary schools, helping children build confidence while learning to read.
The gentle, intuitive nature of our canine companions fosters a myriad of benefits through animal-assisted therapy. We’re lucky to experience the special care dogs can provide, and strongly believe in the power of pet therapy. We feel so fortunate that we were able to treat Bella’s canine hip dysplasia, so she could hop onto the laps of so many people.
We love you always, Bella. Your legacy lives on, beautiful girl.