Bello is a husky mix, that I'm positive about. I'm pretty sure his other half is a "schnoodle" or schnauzer/poodle mix, but I'll never be able to prove it. He's crazy outside when exploring the world, but super chill inside and acts like a sloth. He loves people like crazy, and can enjoy other dogs, but is reactive at first. I was originally going to name him Bentley, but ended up with Bello which means "handsome" in Italian. I took German in High School and all my friends voted for him to be named Bello after the German movie Herr Bello. For every one out there, don't name your feminine looking dog "Bello." Too easily confused with "Bella."

Bello is my "first" dog. He came into my life on August 23, 2010. At 16, after 6 years of having only one dog (Brittany), I had somehow managed to persuade my mother into allowing me to get a second dog. I had fallen in love with him based on a picture on Petfinder, and for some reason decided that he was worth more than the standard begging. I pestered my mom for days, chasing her around the house, shoving the picture of Bello (then Sammy) in her face promising to pay for everything in his life, from toys to vet bills. A few days later we were in the car driving the two and half hours to Waverly Animal Shelter to adopt him, getting there around 15 minutes before closing time. When we walked to go meet him, I was honestly more drawn to the puppies in the kennel next to him, but I took him out anyway. He choked on his leash, didn't look at us, and smelled horrible because he had been living in a shelter for over a month. There was no instant connection and he barely registered I existed. I adopted him anyway, mostly because I wasn't going to lose my chance at a second dog, but also because we'd already made the drive there.

My mom and I came home to a very angry step-dad (did I mention, we went and got him without everyone in my family being okay with it...). Once Bello was home and that initial excitement of getting him wore off, I suffered from doubts on keeping him. I couldn't believe I had made such a commitment and was wondered what I was thinking, after all, I was planning to leave for college in two years, and while taking Brittany with me wouldn't be much of a problem, Bello was 40 pounds, and another dog, that I would have to find a place who would accept both. The next day at school I realized I liked saying I now had two dogs. And from saying that simple phrase it seemed to calm down all the doubts. Years later, as he lies with his feet stretched up in the air, or pants with that smile forever on his face; I can't believe I ever questioned keeping him. I'm happy I didn't turn him away just because he didn't instantly bond with a random stranger or return him when I started suffering from brief buyer's remorse.

Bello learns quickly and has solved many behavior issues on his own (like food aggression he had when we got him) and makes me look like I'm some world class trainer. His great passion in life is running. Unfortunately when he was around 4 years old he started limping and finally the vets and I realized he had arthritis in his left elbow and a little in his right. It could possibly be the result from an injury when he was young, or (the more likely option) crappy genetics. The pain his leg causes him hurts my heart and prevents him from running as carefree as he used to in the first years I had him. Bello has always been rather aloof. Given the choice he'll sleep in a room by himself rather than on the floor near me. I think he likes the quiet, but I know he loves me even if it doesn't always show as clearly as it does with my other dogs. The most memorable moment of his love showing through was the first time I took him kayaking. A relative wanted Bello to ride with them, so I put him on his kayak. When I went around a bend in the river first and out of sight, Bello started whining rather loudly that his human was no longer with him. When my relative made the bend as well Bello jumped off the kayak and tried to swim to me. He got his wish and rode with me the rest of the trip because any attempts to ride with someone else were met with attempts at escape.

Bello at around 8 months old on his second day in his new home. Notice how much longer his scruff is, and his nose for some reason changed to pink.

Bello with over 50 burrs matted on top of his head. Got them all out with cutting his fur! He's not a country dog though.