The Bello Project Facts

What: The Bello Project lessens the worry of what will become of a pet along their loved one’s illness and offers a smoother and less stressful transition while the pet grieves their loss.


Who: As many as 130,000 pets, per year, will have an owner diagnosed with a life limited illness. 


Why: Nothing is more important than the unconditional love a pet provides when someone is sick. 


The HHA Way


Today’s family dynamic: people choosing to not marry and have children; people living longer and subsequently outliving a spouse; people divorcing and choosing not to remarry all mean a pet may be acting in the role of primary (emotional) caregiver / companion. 

There is no doubt that a person’s pet is both part of their family, and is profoundly affected by the passing of its master. A sudden death leaves no time to prepare a pet for the loss, but in the case of a terminal illness, we can plan and care for the needs of both the pet and their master. Nothing should prevent the pet and master from staying together until death has occurred. Home Hospice Association eases the worry of “what may happen” for the master and “what just happened” for the pet. 

One day we, or someone we love, may need the kind of supportive care the Bello Project offers.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give some happiness to a person who is at a time in their life when they need more care than their friends or family may be able to provide.


Details of Service


The Bello Project works with an owner to lessen the worry of what will become of their pet at the time of their death and to offer a smoother and less stressful transition while the pet grieves their loss. This is neither in the best interest of the person or pet . The goal is to keep this bond of unconditional love and support together for as long as possible. 


As a general overview; a life-limiting illness can be broken down into three stages; Initial, Intermediate and Advanced.  The Bello Project organizes care for all three stages


Stress and inability to cope with the additional pressure of illness may result in a decision to remove a pet from the home of someone who is terminally ill; against their wishes.  The Bello Project is designed to support the basic care needs, along the illness journey, so that they don’t become a barrier for the pet and owner to stay united.  Basic care may include transportation of the pet for appointments (medical / grooming), maintaining appropriate standards of care pertaining to feeding, walking, cleaning (cage, litter box, aquarium, yard cleaning) and temporary overnight care when short hospital stays are required or if the person is well enough to make a final trip to see family. 


When the owner is told; “There is nothing more we can do, it is time to put your affairs in order”.  The Bello Project assists the dying person in finding a new and suitable home for their pet if family members or friends are unwilling or unable to provide that home.  There are many reasons why someone may not be able to accomodate a dying person’s pet; a place of residence that has a no pet policy, too many pets currently in the home, family members or other people living in that place of residence with allergies are all examples.


This investment of the new owner(s) time, instead of the payment of an adoption fee, ensures the dying person has an opportunity to witness the bonding of their pet with the new owner(s). It further ensures the pet has an opportunity to bond in an enviroment that is safe and comfortable. Extended visits in the new owner’s home are also arranged to help mitigate unforseen challenges in their home. When death occurrs, the new owner(s) is called; no emergency measures and no cages!  The new owner and grief counselor work to ensure that the pet’s grief journey is respected, often facilitating opportunities for the pet visit the funeral home and attend the funeral.


The result is a more peaceful death for the individual already facing many stressful decisions and changes as their dying takes place.  For the pet, the result is an awareness of the loss of their owner resulting in an acceptance that helps it recover in its new home.  For the family of the dying person, especially in the situation where much guilt and remorse is felt due to an inability to take over the care of the pet, there is a sense of comfort knowing that the pet is going to be residing in a loving home of their loved one’s chosing.


All of this must be done at no cost to the dying owner or the re-home family.

Risk Management

Here Waterloo Region Chapter Champion explains the benefits to both HHA and an RVT in support and to reduce possible risk for The Bello Project  Read More About RVT Mentors and Their Relationship with The Bello Project  

Costs and Funding


A special thank you to Indigo Pet Photography for hosting our first Pet Photo Fundraiser!



June 2016 was a launch year for public awareness for The Bello Project – Bubbles For Bello was great fun


June 2016 thanks to Turner & Porter we also had an opportunity to honor the memory of our pet loved ones


September 2017 Home Hospice Waterloo Region hosted it’s first Blessing of the Animals is 2017.  Plans are underway for the 2018 event on May 26.

December 2017 was a Milestone Year for The Bello Project in Home Hospice Waterloo Region (and beyond)