Pit Bull Who Chewed Off Leg to Escape Neglect Finds Loving Home: 'We Intend to Spoil Her Rotten'

Michigan's Saginaw County Animal Care & Control rescued Bella the pit bull from a barren yard and treated her injuries before transporting her to Best Friends Animal Society's sanctuary in Utah

Pit Bull Adopted
Photo: courtesy best friends animal sanctuary

Bella the pit bull's eventful journey from neglected canine to beloved adopted pet has reached its happy conclusion.

According to a news release from Best Friends Animal Society, the formerly neglected dog, who gnawed off her own leg in an attempt to save herself, went to her new forever home on March 24.

Bella's story starts in Saginaw Country, Michigan, where a postal worker found the pit bull terrier painfully tangled up in her tether in a yard with no food, water, or shelter. Before her rescue, Bella chewed her back leg off at the thigh while trying to escape the tether she was stuck in. Saginaw County Animal Care & Control freed the malnourished and underweight dog and treated her injuries.

"Walking into the backyard and seeing Bella that day was unimaginably gut-wrenching," Desi Sage, the animal care and control officer who rescued Bella, said in a statement. "Against all odds, Bella overcame being left for dead."

After recovering from her physical injuries at Saginaw County Animal Care & Control, Bella started working on repairing the emotional damage left behind by the neglect she experienced. In an effort to provide the dog with the best care possible, Saginaw County Animal Care & Control put out a call for a rescue that had experience helping dogs overcome trauma.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest no-kill pet sanctuary in the nation, answered the call and agreed to welcome the pet after reviewing Bella's medical and behavior history. Best Friends has a long history of helping neglected and abused pets, including caring for a number of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's dogfighting ring.

Sage and her colleague Abbe Balderstone left Michigan early on January 15 with Bella on a three-day, 1,800-mile journey to Best Friend Animal Society's sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. The pit bull's road trip was funded by Saginaw residents Bob and Pat Schust, who covered the cost of Bella's 1,800-mile road trip, and Zach Webster of Thelen Subaru of the Thelen Auto Group in Bay City. Thelen Subaru loaned the car Bella and her travel companions used for the road trip and covered the cost of gas.

"I'm beyond thankful to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for ensuring that Bella will never endure such pain and agony again," Sage said upon bringing Bella to the sanctuary, per Best Friends Animal Society's release. "I believe this next chapter in her life will help her move forward and hopefully eventually land her in a loving home with people who truly see how special she really is."

Pit Bull Adopted
courtesy best friends animal sanctuary

Sage predicted Bella's future. In February, Kim Diehl and Jason Reding of Rockport, Illinois, visited Best Friends Animal Society's Utah sanctuary in hopes of finding a new pet after the death of their senior pit bull Roxanne, whom the couple adopted from the same sanctuary. The Diehl and Reding read about Bella before visiting the sanctuary and were excited to meet her when they arrived.

"The rest is history. Bella just has an irresistible face. It was love at first sight," Diehl said of the first walk she and Reding took with the pooch. "We brought her to stay with us at the sanctuary's onsite cottages for a week. She's so energetic and has such a bubbly personality. We grew to love her even more."

Pit Bull Adopted
courtesy best friends animal sanctuary

After this adorable encounter, Diehl and Reding applied to adopt Bella. Once they were approved to be the pup's parents, the couple flew to Denver, rented a car, and drove to Kanab to pick you the pit bull and drive her back to her forever home in Illinois.

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"Her back story is very sad, and it's too bad that she had to go through that, but we intend to make up for all of that," Diehl said of the dog's future. "We intend to spoil her rotten."

Bella left Best Friends' sanctuary with a massive grin and enjoyed her leisurely road trip to Illinois. At home, the pit bill has quickly adjusted to a life of pampering.

"Bella has a bed on the floor next to me and has been sleeping through the night. It's hard to believe that she is potty trained, but so far, no accidents. We have so much love for this adorable girl," Diehl added.

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