What is 'The Bello Project'?

January 20, 2017

By now you may have stumbled across our facebook page or our pages of the website and are curious as to what The Bello Project is or why it came upon it's name?

 

The Bello Project was named after Founder Tracey Robertson's dear boxer, "Bello Koko". As an animal lover and owner Tracey often reflected about the question of what would happen to Bello if anything ever happened to her?

 

The Bello Project is a service provided through the Home Hospice Association caring for the pets of people with terminal illness.

 

 I first became aware of The Bello Project while I was walking alongside a friend who was battling cancer. I am a  Registered Veterinary Technician and much of my life, friends, and activities involve animals. Naturally, we find people in life to be friends with when they have similar loves in this life, and so this particular friend and I enjoyed each other's company by looking after, talking about, and spending time with our animal friends.

During my friends' illness, I was awakened to many things in life that were new to me. One of them being faced with the very difficult and real questions that illness puts in your face when you least expect them or want them. One of those questions for animal lovers is what will happen to our pets in the event that illness risks our lives?

As advocates and caretakers to all creatures, and especially those we invite into our homes and our families we feel responsible for their lives. We view them as friends and family and they engulf our hearts.

My friend struggled with making these difficult decisions;

 

Who would look after her animals in the way she wanted them to be looked after?

 

On the days where chemo and radiation were utterly exhausting, and she could barely look after herself- who would look after her animals?

 

Who would watch her animals if she had to make a short(or extended) emergency hospital visit?

 

Who would help her keep track of maintaining her animals health and social well-being?

and eventually....

 

Where would her animals go if she were to pass away?

 

These are very difficult questions.  As her friend, I struggled to help her find answers. I believe that if a service like the Bello Project had been available to her things would definitely have been easier on many occasions. I hope to take some of my experience to help others going through these very difficult times.

 

When I saw the Facebook post about The Bello Project I was intrigued and after learning a little more about it, I admired what it was offering to people like my friend.

My friend passed away in April 2015. Her animals are all being looked after thankfully, but since then, I have felt motivated to do something more.

 

When a person walks through an illness journey, there are so many ups and downs, so many things to look after, and often so little time, or energy to work through it all. Sometimes friends and family are absent, unable, or already overwhelmed with the care of their loved ones, or their own lives that the questions of the pet does not even come to mind until it is critical that decisions are made.

I joined as a volunteer with The Bello Project in May 2016 in the hopes that some of the burden of illness could be lifted from a person already dealing with so much. That in any way, by lifting some of the responsibility of pet ownership, the person could still enjoy companionship and love from the pet without feeling bad that they can't care for them.

 That we could work together to ensure that a person's wishes were respected, the welfare of animals upheld, and that the human animal bond could be maintained between pets and people with terminal illness. People need their pets and pets need their people. The relationship is so powerful, especially with healing and relieving anxiety.

 

The Bello Project will work with human case workers to ensure that the patients needs are met, and animals are looked after including(but not limited to);

litter cleaning

dog walking

feeding and watering

socializing

emergency care provided in the case of the patient visiting the hospital

discussion about the care and re-homing of the pet when the pet parent passes

 

I am excited to help bring this project to the Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge areas. We hope to be able to offer our volunteer services to the first family in this area in the spring of 2017.

 

With our specially trained volunteer program I think we can provide the relief and expertise needed to ensure someone can feel confident that their beloved pet is well looked after.

 

The Bello Project is run by volunteers, and funded solely by donations from generous people who believe in the human animal bond and its great importance to the health and wellbeing of both the pet and person

.

We really appreciate any help you can provide in the way of volunteering your skills, or in the way of a monthly contribution, single donation, professional probono service, or general donation to the Bello Project.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about us, and make sure you check back often for updates.

 

Sincerely,

Kim Hutten

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