Meadowood's Bella Mayhaus, CGC, is my partner in developing Dogs Can Dance. Bella is a 14 year old rottweiler who continues to be my inspiration. Despite crippling physical limitations, Bella proves just how beneficial dance for dogs can be.
Bella began life with a diagnosis of a severe case of hip dysplasia. At 8 months old, Bella had the better of the two hips replaced. At 6-1/2 years old, and over weight, Bella began a diet and light daily exercise. Each day she would walk anywhere from 1/4 or 1/2 of a mile. Her food intake was slightly reduced and broken into 2 meals instead of 1. Bella successfully lost 1.5 pounds per week for a total of over 20 pounds. Despite the weight loss, her skin sagged and she needed toning and strengthening. At 7 1/2 Belle developed painful arthritis in her fore leg causing a limp. At that point, I changed her diet to only fresh human grade food. This allowed her to discontinue all pain medication and begin her new career of dancing.
Dancing several days a week and walking the remaining days allowed Bella to build up her strength and endurance to anywhere from 1 to 1-1/2 mile walks several times a week. At the time this web site was developed, Belle is dancing 2 days a week, warm water swimming several days a week, and walking the remaining days to further increase her muscle tone. From the dancing, Bella's figure has tightened up, she maintains her new weight easily, and looks half her age. It is Bella's "job" at Dogs Can Dance to make the other dogs feel comfortable and to demonstrate all of the moves with me. The combination of Dogs and Dance has opened up a whole new, exciting adventure for both Bella and myself.