Kimberly Robinson
Maria Pettinato and her dog Bella are a bonded pair with Bella, an English Bulldog, ruling the roost at home. Bella is a dog of particular habits like loving her rear toes tickled and demanding to go to bed precisely at 8:20pm every night.

Pet of the Week: Bella is a one woman Bulldog

Maria Pettinato got her dog Bella, an English Bulldog, as adoptee, "from a woman up in Lynnwood who got her from Oklahoma. She wasn't in very good shape when I got her. She was full of mites."

Bella only has one ear, "So she has kind of a wierd perception, one sided hearing."

"When she was two years old, we got her Sophie, who is a Labradoodle," Maria said," and she went from being a puppy to being an adult in one day. She watched Sophie grow and was pretty revolted by how big she got but they still love each other and play with each other."

Bella has a big personality and as we watched she rubbed along the edge of the bricks at the Alki Bathhouse and drank from the foot washing spray as if it were put there just for dogs.

"If she's demanding attention and not doing what we want to do, like read the paper, there's one way to make her stand still. She flips on her back and I'll tickle her back toes and she'll stay there forever. It's the only control I have over her. Other than that she rules the roost."

Maria described a special trip they took with Bella, that was unusual for that breed.

"My partner Laurie Cray and I were on a river rafting trip on the lower Salmon River, for a week, and Bella was at the bow of the boat with a life jacket, being a water dog and she got a lot of attention from all the other river rafters because the only dogs were Labrador Retrievers or Border Collies. She was the only English Bulldog."

Bella is bonded to Maria, she's a one woman dog, Maria explained. But Sophie belongs to both of them. Both dogs get the same food Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Food. For treats she gets "2 calorie cat treats," to help control her weight. "She doesn't know they're for cats."

Maria added some other unique things about Bella via email.

"She can tell time as in her bedtime…she goes to bed at precisely 8:20PM every night. She sleeps downstairs in a crate and will not go down there and take herself to bed, but needs an escort at 8:20PM. If I am even as much as a minute late, she comes and finds me, sits down in front of me with her tongue sticking out, and stays there until I stop what I am doing and take her to bed.

That leads to the second unique thing about Bella…her tongue... when she gets tired, she cannot hold it all in her mouth…the vet told us it is the longest tongue he has ever seen in a bulldog…so the more tired she gets, the more it sticks out the front between her teeth."

She assessed Bella's meaning in her life as, "She's a clown and makes me laugh no matter what kind of mood I'm in she will snap me out of it if it's a bad one. She's a source of unconditional love and always makes me feel like I'm the best thing on the planet."

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