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Bella's Good Deeds Bella came to B.O.N.E.S. needing a new home. She had been greatly loved, but needed special attention to learn house training and overcome some fears. Loving, very smart, and having lots of energy, she made good progress while being fostered.

She was adopted by Vic and Nancy, who volunteer at hospitals, elderly centers, and schools. Bella showed her smarts by passing a series of training classes. She achieved Pet Therapy certification in 2016. Vic and Nancy will share stories about their experiences with Bella on this page.

You can also follow Bella on Facebook.

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May, 2017: Sharing, Smiles, Kisses, Thanks, and Mashed Potatoes!

Bella's Good Deeds - May, 2017: Sharing, Smiles, Kisses, Thanks, and Mashed Potatoes! It's hard to provide an adequate description in words of the reactions of patients and employees when they interact with Bella. You literally have to be by our side when a hospital-bound patient or a busy hospital worker has the opportunity to speak to, touch, or pet her - or look into her eyes. For a moment or a few minutes, the pain, the worry, or the stress or the busy nature of their day is lessened.

Team Bella has volunteered weekly at the Miriam Hospital in Providence and Kent Hospital in Warwick since the beginning of the year. Previously, we told you about the requirements of securing a volunteer opportunity in the hospital settings. Monday and Wednesday mornings are devoted to the efforts. The round trip drive to Kent is 44 miles and Miriam is 66 miles. Approximately 3 hours are allotted and not much else is on the daily agenda. Afternoon naps for both of us after our work are required. The question is: Is it worth it for them and us? YES, YES, and YES!

Dog-owning patients and employees share descriptions, pictures, and stories of their pets very freely. Over the course of our visits at both hospitals, we've heard numerous loving and amusing stories. For a short time, in their hearts and minds, Bella belongs to them and all the emotions surface.

Almost every AKC Breed, from Akitas to Yorkies, have been represented. Every imaginable name has been linked to big and small, smooth and hairy, or cute and formidable dogs. Men, women, nurses, doctors, or vice-presidents all are ease talking to us about their dogs. Bella brings out the good nature and the good hearts of dog owners and she responds in kind.

Whether responding to an emergency situation, just presenting or hearing a serious diagnosis, enduring an intense span of pain, or speaking with an anxious relative, the smile or the glee in their eyes always emerge. It's not possible to pass Bella without responding in some positive way. At the least, her name is silently on their lips. In some cases, it is far from silent - BELLA!

Bella's not a kissy dog, but she seems to sense the necessity of the patients and employees kissing her - sometimes multiple times. She exhibits extreme patience and delivers time and time again. I've received countless words of thanks and many have touched or shaken my hand. I've accepted their gratitude, but it's really me who's thankful. If there are better duties for dogs than serving as Service or Therapy Dogs, then I need to witness it.

Our visits provide an opportunity to converse. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet people and speak with them about a multitude of topics. Dogs of course, but family, sports, work, politics, or local events are fair game. At times, we live in the same community or they recognize my last name. I follow their leads, but am very careful about asking anything of a personal nature. Confidentiality is always a priority.

Bella's Good Deeds - May, 2017: Sharing, Smiles, Kisses, Thanks, and Mashed Potatoes!At times, the patients will share some personal information. I don't interrupt, but I try to guide the conversation elsewhere. Unless it is something I am obligated to share with hospital personnel, it stays in the room.

Mashed potatoes! Oh yeah! We were visiting a patient and lunch was delivered. We said goodbye and continued our rounds. On the way back down the hall, the patient asked us back in and wanted to have Bella jump up on the bed so that he could share his mashed potatoes with her. He told me that his dog loved mashed potatoes and especially loved the beef gravy. It was difficult to decline and not laugh aloud, but I did. Now, veal parmigiana, that's a different story!

Team Bella will continue our work and look for stories that will interest the readers. Perhaps next time I can share some smiling employees' faces.