I took the kids to the local PetSmart in Newport News yesterday, due to a serious lack of dog and cat food, and for a first summer adventure. Captain Comic is currently obsessed with pets because he wakes at the crack of dawn and watches funny pet trick shows on Animal Planet before the rest of us rouse out of bed. Mr. Cynic was willing to carry the big bags, and Toots is even more easily entertained than Captain Comic. Captain Comic likes to meet every dog in the store, check out the lizards and birds, and the cats from the local no-kill shelter.
There is a wonderful employee there named Stephanie, who brings in her dog Bella on Thursdays from 1-9pm. Bella is a rescued pet, a big beautiful black lab mix, and just about the sweetest dog I've ever seen. In my family growing up, I have loved the sweetest dogs, so I'm an expert on dog sweetness.
Bella is very affectionate and being trained as a therapy dog. Stephanie brings her in every week on Thursdays, so she is exposed to a wide variety of people and circumstances, and therefore more calm in new situations. Bella is used as a way for children who are afraid of dogs to come in and see that even a big dog like Bella isn't necessarily scary. Bella will put up with her ears being pulled, being laid on, etc. She's very easy going.
Captain Comic and Bella immediately hit it off. He gave her what Stephanie refers to as a Zen belly scratch. Bella took one look at Captain Comic as he got down to her level, rubbed up against him and rolled right on over, offering him her belly. Stephanie said, if he wanted, she can lay like this for hours for that belly scratch. And she gives hi-5s, too.
Stephanie is training Bella for therapy in kids' cancer centers, etc, but she loves for anyone to come visit Bella. So if you're in Newport News, and want to meet the sweetest dog, ask for Bella on Thursday afternoons to evenings.
A side note: please remind me to stay off my ankle. I'm being a bad girl and it's not healing because I do stuff like drive to go get dog and cat food, and walk around entire stores meeting fish, lizards, birds, cats and dogs. I think I'm doing something small scale, but I keep pushing myself past where I should stop.