Our journey continues…

Today I would like to share some special news with you that might be quite a surprise, but maybe some people already sensed something after our adventure in Portugal. Anyway, I think lots of you have seen how special our time in Portugal was and a lot has happened since then.
What I never shared with you, because it was not really a current thing yet, is that Robert and I were already thinking of moving to another country for years. But, because of my health, we never took actual steps to follow our dream.

We hear a lot of times that we live in such a beautiful place, why would we maybe leave all this?
One of the things that had a very positive influence on my health was the different climate in Portugal. This really was an amazing discovery. In the Netherlands, during summer time and higher temperatures, we always have a very high air pressure which always causes more pain. Also, the many days with rain and wind throughout the year increases the pain.
We also wish a better environment and more space for the horses. The soil we live on is clay, so with the amount of rain we have here, it gets very easily completely rain-soaked with a lot of mud. We have spent already lots of money to keep the ground good for them, but every year it’s the same story.
Another reason is that where we live now isn’t our property, it belongs to Robert his father who lives in the main house. Robert, I and the dogs live above the stables of the horses.
And last but not least, a very special one, with Little Belle’s Magical Sanctuary and my plans to help more dogs in need, we also like to have more space.



Our plan
To be sure that Portugal will really be the best place to go with the dogs and horses, our plan is that I will go back in November and stay there for about 2 months, maybe longer depending on how it goes. I will bring Kintana with me and probably also Emi because she missed me a lot during the weeks I was in Portugal in July.
Thanks to financial support of someone close to me this is possible. It was a big decision though, and I had quite some moments that I was unsure what’s best to do and I can still have these moments. Especially leaving the other dogs at home makes it really difficult for me. But this is the only way to do it, the only way how we can search for a new place to live. Robert will need to work and take care of all the horses and dogs. And in my heart I know the other dogs will feel okay together with Robert, they love him too 🙂 .

In Portugal
In Portugal, I will look into two specific regions, the Alentejo and the Algarve. To investigate and explore different areas and to find out what feels as the best place for us to live.
And one other big thing I want to do in Portugal is starting to write again. To continue with the book where Belle and I had to stop in February this year, the moment when we found the new tumor on her jaw. I haven’t been able to write since then, due to all what happened and so many emotions… And there are so many memories here that I just haven’t been able to start again here. Therefore, I hope I will be able again once I am in Portugal, in another environment and with more time to write everything I still want to write, there is so much to tell (!), with the help of my beautiful little girl Belle.

Of course, nothing is certain yet, we don’t know exactly where it will lead us and maybe we just stay here and we will keep focusing on giving the best care to all our animals. But then we know that we have thoroughly investigated all possibilities.

Little Belle’s Magical Sanctuary will stay in the Netherlands as long as we live here and we will continue with the work we do for our own animals and other animals in need. Your support will always be needed a lot, so I hope you will continue to help us.


Little Belle’s spirit
I strongly believe that Belle played a big role in all of this, she was the one who led me to Portugal and only because of her I had and have the courage and strength to follow my heart. So, I think our always very brave adventurer helps me to become one as well…

She will watch over us:

If you have any tips, advice or perhaps you think you can help us, please let us know via: contact

Thank you!

Irene, Little Belle’s mom

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The beautiful destination of your donations to Bianca

Last week, we promised to share with you the beautiful destination of your donations to Bianca shelter in Portugal. Through my Magic Fund, we are able to help with a recent project at Bianca. They are constructing a building for a wonderful and important purpose. This building will be the place for the dogs who need extra (medical) care. As you could see in the pictures in my previous post, they are now living in a very small building in cages. Like this:

They will have more space in the new building and they will also have access to a part outside. In the following pictures, you can see that they are also creating smaller spaces, Ana Duarte (the founder of Bianca) told us this is necessary for the dogs who need to have an enclosed room for a while. For example, when they need their rest, for dogs who are new, for extra medical care… etc. Normally, the doors will be open so they will have more freedom. It will be such a big change for them!

Some pictures of the construction site:

The building in progress


The outside space for the dogs: 

They will make a door in the wall. Behind the wall is the shelter:

Thank you so much for your support!

We are so very happy to know that you are still helping the shelter where I was rescued.  They do such amazing work with all the animals under their care. And what a wonderful purpose we are now being part of. My legacy will live on and my magic will keep helping the animals in need who need all the support they can get.

Once I was there in Bianca…:

Also because of them, I experienced a life I could have never imagined. Because of friends like you, we can make a big difference in the lives of so many animals.

Maybe one day, my biggest wish for all of them, they will also find a loving home and will smile this big!

Little Belle 


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Our visit to Bianca shelter in Portugal

The entrance of Bianca shelter

During our stay in Portugal we, of course, also visited Bianca shelter multiple times. It was on Saturday, July 29th that we met Ana Duarte, the founder of Bianca, who gave us a ‘tour’ and explained a lot about the shelter, how they worked, the dogs and cats in the shelter, the help of friends of Bianca, the situation for dogs and cats in Portugal in general, their daily routine…, etc. A lot of information that really helped us to gain a better insight of the shelter. The work they do there, day in day out, with around 300 dogs and lots of cats, is enormous and says a lot about the compassionate hearts of the people.

Irene made a lot of pictures and we like to share them with you so that you also have a better image of Bianca shelter, especially for all my friends who donated, so you can see who you are helping and how hard Bianca needs all the support they can get.

They have several groups of kennels and in each area, there is the possibility to open a kennel so the dogs in that particular kennel can experience a bit more freedom outside to walk, run and play. Unfortunately, due to the many dogs (300), this isn’t always possible every day, but the people do their utmost best to provide them the best care.

This is the area where Bianca’s office is located. There is also a separate small building for the cats, a special section for the puppies and one for the elderly and sick dogs.

The cats live in a very small building right now, but they will soon have a much better place to stay in a new building that is almost ready:

Also the puppies and the elderly and sick dogs who need more care, are now in a very small building. But they will also have a new place to stay soon and we will tell more about this special building this week because the donations to my Magic Fund will go to this project.

About once a day they will get out of their kennels and can spend some time in this area:

A puppy very interested in the camera:

Ana Duarte with two of the puppies:

A beautiful old little dog who touched Irene her heart and really needs a home:

Also a beautiful older dog who loves attention:

This was on another day, but also nice to share with you. Here we were walking with some dogs of Bianca, together with our friends Ana & Fernando. The dogs loved to go out of the shelter. The brown dog with the large eyes full of fear felt so much better outside, it would mean such a big difference for him when he hopefully one day will be adopted. And this is, of course, a wish for all of them. Although they are all very well taken care of, it’s still heartbreaking to see them live like this…

Can you see me?


Here I am! It was amazing to visit the place where I once was rescued and spent my first few weeks in freedom. I know it meant a lot to my Irene too, to be finally able to see Bianca Shelter and met all the beautiful animals and people. People who are working very hard to make a difference in the world. Together we can create change and magic for all the animals who need our help.

Thank you, my friends, who help to create a world full of love, compassion and magic.

We are all sentient beings


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Reflections of our time in Portugal. Was it healing?

While we were in Portugal, a lot of people wrote that they loved to see me smile again which was very sweet. Our time there really felt very good and full of  Belle’s magic. Especially, of course, the time I spent with Kintana, and our precious Belle in spirit by our side. The many adventures we shared.
Kintana is amazing, she is such a special, sweet and beautiful soul. Every day, it touches me deeply how Belle led me to her and also to Portugal, the land where she was born. Because of her, we had the most wonderful and magical experiences.


Some friends wrote that our journey in Portugal must have been healing for me. If it was really healing? I don’t know. I don’t think I will ever truly heal from such a deep loss, my everything. It’s more about learning to live with it.
Yes, I did feel happy there, but I miss Belle terribly and talking or writing about her is still not easy. So many emotions I feel. It is that overwhelming deep pain in my heart and no, this intense pain has not decreased since I lost her on April 25th.

The last months I had many days that I didn’t know how to go on without Belle physically by my side and I still have those moments. Moments where I still can’t believe she is not with me, where I can touch her, feel her against my chest. Such strong and heart-wrenching thoughts and emotions …
I talk to her, she talks to me. And what keeps me going is her message to me that she wants me to go on, to enjoy life like we always did. She and I believe we have a choice in how we live life after a great loss. Do we choose darkness or do we choose the light?

Most of the times I can feel Belle so very close to me, she still gives me that special light of love that I treasure with all my heart. She definitely enjoyed the time together in Portugal as much as Kintana and I did. It was very special to be able to share this adventure with the three of us. And again, without her, leading me to Portugal, to Kintana, without her guidance all the way, I would have never been able to do this.
No matter where I go, no matter what I do, she is with me. I can feel Little Belle her beautiful smile, so full of magic, always watching us. Her smile makes me smile too, with tears in my eyes…


I’ve read a lot of comments where people mentioned that Kintana reminds them so much of Little Belle. And yes, they have a lot of resemblances. It’s for a reason why Belle guided me so perfectly to her. But she is different of course, having her own uniqueness, like we all have. There is only one Kintana.
There is only one Little Belle. That’s the miracle of life.



How beautifully Belle taught me that each day is a miracle. And she still does, giving me the courage and the strength to live life with all my heart, with passion, with wonder, with love, with magic.
I can see us standing on top of a high mountain, side by side, watching all nature’s beauty. Seeing the trees, the flowers, the sun, moon, and stars. Hear the soft blowing wind and the birds passing by. Smell the earthly scents and feel inside of us the secrets of life.
Together reaching the sky.
There are no limits.

Love is endless and forever 

Irene, Little Belle’s mom



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Little Belle’s friends support shelter Bianca in Portugal


Next week, on Tuesday 25th I will leave for Portugal. And Little Belle will be with me. The main goal is of course to bring Kintana  home.  But while I am there, I would also like to show Bianca the amount donated to their shelter via Little Belle her Magic Fund since last year.

The total amount that is donated on the Magic Fund page is almost already entirely spend to Little Belle her food and medical care and previous 30% donations to Bianca. So, it’s about the 30% part of the donations that were given since the last update in December. And there were so many again for which we are immensely grateful.
I will give a new update on the Magic Fund in August because I like to surprise Bianca with the amount we raised together.

It will be wonderful to support Bianca again with all the great work they do for so many dogs in need. They can really need all the help they can get.
If Little Belle her friends would like to contribute to this beautiful cause and make a donation that will go 100% to Bianca, please donate to her Magic Fund with the note that your donation is entirely for Bianca (no PayPal account is needed): Little Belle’s Magic Fund
If you have a PayPal account, you can also donate directly to . Also please add a note that it is for Bianca.
This all is possible until Sunday, July 23th.

It would be wonderful if we can raise the amount, so we can continue to support dogs like Belle, Kintana, Noir, Valentin, Vela, Lani, Pluma… and so many more dogs in need.

Can you see Little Belle her wonderful smile? Knowing that we will continue to help the shelter that rescued her. Because of them, she found her forever family with us. And we both found the love of our lives. Each other 
Irene, Little Belle’s mom

/ Little Belle
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