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Dear Bello Koko

I hope this letter finds you well. You might be surprised to hear from a scent you can’t recognize, but I wanted to thank you personally for all the hard work you have been doing on earth. You must have been an amazing dog because you have left a paw impression on your human’s heart so big that it inspired her to dedicate a whole fundraising campaign named in your honor.

Your campaign is part of the Home Hospice Association and focuses on terminally ill pet parents and their fur babies to keep their relationship united for as long as possible for the duration of their care. The program also takes care of the needs of the pets and finds them loving and adoptive homes after their loved ones have died.

And your human has been busy. She is gearing up to participate in a big event that I know she is extremely excited about. It’s called Muddy Paws Wine (and food) Festival. Here, humans and their pets are invited to take part in a weekend of activities that is hosted by Vineland Estates Winery and Featherstone Estate Winery in celebration of “all things canine.” I had the opportunity to speak with Louise Engel, the owner from Featherstone Estate and I absolutely loved what she had to say. Her heart is in the right place and there is no wonder why this event is a sold out success every year. When I asked her what inspired her to come up with a pet friendly festival, her answer was simple, she noticed that there was an increasing interest in people wanting to spend time and do things with their dogs. She said “there is a jazz band, and that folks enjoy summer relaxing with wine and food, and having their dogs close by at their feet – it’s as good as it gets.”

Photo Credit:  Karen Black

People like Louise understand how animals play an important role in people’s lives and it shows in every detail. Louse and Treesje give the gift of space which allows family (dogs too) to spend the day together to have fun and enjoy life. She also helps other businesses showcase their products or talents by inviting them to set up booths and be present to mingle with pet owners. But you will be really happy to know that Muddy Paws loves what you are doing too – and they have decided to support the Bello Project as their charity of choice! How grateful HHA is!

I think you would be surprised at what I have learned over the past week thanks to you. So I would like to share some meaningful thoughts I have acquired.

I have a deeper respect for pets. There are so many ways you enrich our lives. I promise to never take you for granted and I will protect you fiercely.

I googled the top 10 most important things in life as stated from people at the end of their life. The most common top 5 were love, family, friends, happiness and music/food and drink. Muddy Paws encompasses all these things. It is an elixir to success in life, festivals and fundraisers – I will remember to incorporate these principals when planning – for it is the experience that must be at the heart of any event.

Good things happen when people are inspired for the right reasons.

Thank you Bello – you have inspired me – keep doing what your doing!

P.S. you are kind of a hero down here and quite the role model – my dog Mr. Fritz would love to meet you some day – so if you don’t mind keeping an eye out for him – he would like that.

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