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


  • mylene m. bonifacio

    follow your heart irene…

  • Carol Larnach

    WOW! How exciting to hear this news…. First of all your health is so important and if moving to Portugal will give you a better quality of life you must explore this possibility. Little Belle has taken you on an amazing journey since the day she called out to the universe for someone to love her….(I believe she did). Her courage over the years has made you stronger and eventually led you to Kintana. All these things have been part of a plan for you all, a plan that is taking you on your own adventure and a new, hopefully healthier future…. Follow your inner voice Irene, it hasn’t let you down so far… Can’t wait to see what happens next! xx

  • Deb Rietmulder

    Irene,Robert and the rest of the family,
    Your plan seems well thought out and a good move for all of you. Let Lettle Belle guide you to the perfect location, wherever that may lead. Blessings to you.
    Much love from Pennsylvania, USA

  • Rita Kleinman

    We are wishing only the best for you and your family. We didn’t realize exactly what your situation was and we hope that you find exactly what will be best for each of you in Portugal. We send you all our love and best wishes.

  • Vicki Castleberry

    Irene only you and Robert can make a decision like that it is a big move but if it is your dream then go Little Belle and the rest of us want you to be happy and healthy. We will continue to support you no matter where you are and we know that you always look out for the well being of your beautiful family. I just hope you bring us along in your journey. I cant wait for you and Belles book…God Bless

  • Ana Duarte

    Oh I am so touched <3
    you are magical <3 <3 <3

  • Susan Colley

    Follow your heart, it is a big step for you all but I am sure your health will be a lot better,Little Belle will guide you every step of the way,….I wish you lots of happiness in you future adventures,….xx

  • April Tedeschi

    This is very exciting news Irene. I always say everything happens for a reason. I believe little Belle found you and led you to this new journey way back when knowing it was to be your future. Best of luck to you Robert and the animals. Will little Belles sanctuary follow you to Portugal if it becomes your new home?

  • Donna

    Follow your heart Irene! Little Belle will help guide you! ❤️

  • Tamatha Watson

    I think that you should definately follow your heart. Also do what is best over all for your health, family and the other babies that need your help. If moving is the answer then it is time for that new adventure Irene. We are all with you.

  • Donna

    ♥️ home is where your heart takes all of you. ?⭐️?
    My furry friend Benji and I wish you a blessing on your thoughts of a new adventure ?♥️??♥️? We luv’s you.

  • Beth Small

    This is exciting news! Follow your heart Irene for it will take you were you need to be.

  • Brenda

    Good Luck on your amazing journey..It seems you have a good plan..

  • Linda Williams Tilden

    Dear Irene I believe that everything happens for a reason, and this new adventure will be good all around for you and your family. follow your heart,and everything will be grand. Always.xo

  • Linda Williams Tilden

    Dear Irene I believe that everything happens for a reason, and this new adventure will be good all around for you and your family. follow your heart,and everything will be grand. Always.xo

  • Nancy T. McDonald

    Trust in Little Belle and where her magic journey takes you. She is in close proximity to Our Creator, so Little Belle guides you within His plan.

  • Lea Walker

    Hi Irene Portugal is a beautiful place with warm weather and warm hearts from the locals and I know because as you now I am from Portugal and that is why I feel so close to Little Belle no now Kintana it does get cold in the winter but not as. cold like in the Netherlands the places you have chosen to live are beautiful so follow your heart do what is best for you and your family and I know that little will be watching over you and your family. Who knows maybe someday when I go back which is usually in the summer we will cross paths.

  • Stephanie. California, USA

    Yes, Irene…follow your heart and little belle will guide you every step of the way. We are here with you, and will always have our love and support. I, as well was not aware of your health issues. Prayers for you and that your health will improve when you follow your heart. Stay well. ??????❤️❤️❤️

  • Maria van den Brink

    Follow your heart, follow your dreams. I’m sure Little Belle will be by your side all the time. You and your beautiful family deserve only the best and when that’s in Portugal, then live a happy life in Little Belle’s home country. Love you all.

  • Kris Nicolai

    Wel lieve Irene,
    Als jij je beter voelt, daar waar ????Belleke jou heen leidt, …. dan moeten jullie je hart en Belleke’s inspiratie volgen …..
    Belleke’s magie is nog lang niet uitgewerkt – zij bracht je kleine Kintana in je leven, en zij zal jullie haar wijsheid wel doorgeven, zodat jullie de juiste beslissingen nemen…..

  • Eva Løcken

    Follow you hart, Irene. I know you do the best for you and your family – wich includes all your dogs an animals. I love the idea of you starting writing again❤️❤️

  • Bonnie & Maggie

    I agree you should follow your heart, you, Robert, your horses and puppies deserve the best of everything! We wish you well and hope you find the perfect place for your future and if is Portugal – awesome but if it’s the Netherlands – that will be awesome too. Maggie & I send our love ❤️ and best wishes for you & your family.

  • ellen van Veldhoven

    als jij denkt dat het goed is dan moet je dat doen Irene .Belle zit in mijn hart , en waar jullie met de dieren ook heen gaan ik blijf jullie volgen en steunen , want dat heb ik geleert van een klein hondje met een groot hart genaamd Little Belle xxxxxxx

  • Beth Porter

    I think this is very exciting news Irene!!! If a different climate helps your health then that is something you should think strongly about doing!!! And for you and Robert to have your own place and be able to fix it the way you want it for the horses and dogs would be an awesome thing!!! Your heart and Little Belle will guide you to the right place. I love ALL of you very much and have followed you from the beginning and will continue to do so. Whatever decision you and Robert (and Little Belle) make will be the right one. Much love to you all.

  • Françoise

    Het Portugal-avontuur begon in 2011. Om te beginnen bracht het Little Belle op je pad en zij leidde je naar Kintana en dank zij Queenie vond je de sterkte om, ondanks je gezondheidsproblemen, toch de reis naar Portugal te ondernemen. Je voelde de warmte die beter is voor jou dan het vochtige Nederland en jullie droom om ooit te emigreren kreeg meer en meer vorm. Kijk eens je ter plaatse bent, rustig rond waar het de ideale plek voor jullie zou kunnen zijn. Volg vooral jullie beider hart, doe niets overhaast en weet dat ik er zolang ik leef voor jullie zal zijn, waar jullie ook mogen verblijven. Volg je hart en je intuïtie……Liefs voor jullie allen.

  • Ellen

    You need to be healthy for your family. I hope the climate will be better. Please take care of you, so you can care for all of the souls who love you.

  • Barbara

    You should always follow your heart. Especially if it also helps out with your health. You need to be strong and healthy to be able to do what you do. I am sure that Lil’ Belle will always be with you where ever you go. A house is just a house, but home is where your heart is. Good luck in what ever you decide.

  • Lorena

    Follow your heart I’m sure little belle is guiding your steps <3

  • Michelle Trice

    Your health Irene is the most important thing because “IF” you suffer & or decline then the rest of the family also suffers. I sincerely hope you can find a happy place & keep the balance your body, mind & soul needs to stay healthy! Wish you all the best from United PA & I so love hearing about the adventures. PEACE & LOVE you all.

  • Jennifer Collins

    Dearest Irene: What a big journey you have planned and you, Kintana, Emi, and of course your little angel girl, will soon be on your way. Your heart and Little Belle will tell you if and when you find the perfect home in Portugal. Because it is a dream for you and Robert to move to Portugal I hope you find it. Even if you don’t, I think the time spent in Portugal will be wonderful. You’ll be able to relax, meet new friends, see your friends at the shelter, and best of all – stay healthy. I’ll come and visit you in one my magical dream adventures. Love you Irene.

  • elaine sannicandro

    so happy there will be a book so I cans pass it on grand children and their children any one who doesn’T melt reading about you little Belle and all your beloved animals has no heart waiting patiently hope your health improves thank you for sharing what a owerful little dog accomplished God Bless you and Robert and all your animals!!Sincerley a forever fan of Little Belle and all her friends who will share her lagacy!!

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