I am in the newspaper!

  article-newspaper-hollands-kroon-little-belle-20102016-1-pdf-kopie   Dog Little Belle conquers the world More than 23 thousand followers on Facebook Nieuwe Niedorp – She’s old and blind, and the first twelve years of her life were horrific. But this little fighter is so spirited and happy and she is enjoying all the pretty little things in life. Little Belle, a little dog from Nieuwe Niedorp, touches via her Facebook page thousands of hearts around the world. The life story of Little Belle (17) inspires people from Japan to America, from Spain to Costa Rica, from Germany to Australia. More than 23 thousand followers regularly visit her Facebook page, curious about her experiences. Since 2011 Little Belle lives with Irene and Robert Raadshooven at the Langereis in Nieuwe Niedorp. Before that, she lived in a puppy mill in Portugal, where she had one litter after another. “Belle lived for twelve years in a cage,” Irene says. “When she came to us she was sick, scared and skinny. She had glaucoma in her eye, dental problems, ingrown nails and she had no muscles. She did not know how to move. At first, she was startled by any sound, no matter how small. For example, a spoon in a coffee cup. Both physically and mentally, she was in a bad state. It is terrible that puppy mills are still allowed in many countries. And that so many people are still buying puppies there.” Little Belle turned out to be a brave, happy and curious little dog. Slowly but steady she became stronger and grew more confident. Irene: “She is very curious about the world. She loves to have adventures in nature. Especially in the summer, she just loves the sun. I remember the first time that she felt grass under her feet. First, she walked with cautious steps, then she went faster and eventually she ran, it was almost like dancing. Really amazing. All those little experiences she gains daily. The things she discovers. Her zest for life is very special. ” Once again, fate made an appeal to Belle’s strength when she lost her last eye due to glaucoma. She had to explore the world in a whole new way. Irene: “With the help of her hearing, her smell and with feeling and touching, she was able to make a map of her surroundings again. I remember one moment very well, it was about a month after she became blind, when she was in the garden and found the entrance of our house all by herself. She had to walk around bushes and trees,  past two fences and had to change direction three times. With a big smile, I followed her. When she finally stood at the entrance and heard my enthusiastic voice, she was so happy, and cheerfully and proudly she wagged her tail.” article-newspaper-hollands-kroon-little-belle-20102016-2-pdf-kopie Little Belle is not the only animal that found a loving home in Nieuwe Niedorp. She shares her home and yard with eight other dogs and nine horses. Robert takes care of the horses. He is a farrier by profession. The dogs are Irene’s passion. Many of them have a mental trauma or physical disabilities, due to mistreatment or other causes. “Noeska, a German shepherd, had the last 2 years of her life a wheelchair because her hindquarter was paralyzed. There are people who find this ridiculous, a dog in a wheelchair. Animal unworthy. But what we experienced was so beautiful. Once she had the wheelchair, she went running. She just got her independence back. You should have seen her, she was able to do everything with it, even swimming. This is also what I want to share together with Little Belle. If you are disabled, or ‘differently abled’ as I prefer to say, you can just as well live your life fully. ” Belle’s followers on Facebook feel and share her message. Irene: “There are so many people who are inspired by her story. They write to Little Belle: if she can enjoy life, grasps life like this, I must be able to do so as well.  People who need a wheelchair who write: Because of Little Belle I can smile again. She also taught me a lot. No matter how you are or how you are feeling, life is beautiful. Look what every day brings you. And enjoy the little things that come your way. ” Photo caption: ‘Also without eyes, you can see the beauty of life.’   Would you like to get to know her better? Those who like to know more about the brave, inspiring dog Little Belle can take a look on her Facebook page: LittleBelleDog. There is also a heartbreaking video, in which she tells her life story. Little Belle also has a website: www.littlebelle.org      
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