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Joy Unleashed: The Story of Bella, the Unlikely Therapy Dog

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In 2007, Mary Eldergill, a volunteer member of Amigos de Los Animales (Friends of the Animals), discovered a group of newborn puppies on Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico. Mary rescued and rehabilitated them and, three months later, they flew to Newark, New Jersey, to be placed in their forever homes.

Jean Baur and her husband adopted one of Mary’s rescues—a dog named Bella—and
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by Skyhorse (first published August 2nd 2016)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  151 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog, dog-read
This book is crazy similar to experiences I’ve had with all of my dogs. One of my dogs even picked my husband!
We are so used to getting asked and asking, “What do you do?“. We should be answering, “ I’m a mother with a wonderful husband.” Maybe, “I also work for _____.” “I travel and volunteer a bit and love to read.” I myself answer, “ I’m retired so I do pretty much anything I want to do.” I read a lot, do crossword puzzle‘s, enjoy my two doggies, have lots of friends and travel a bit. In the
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
After reading the reviews, I was disappointed. The author spent too much time repeatedly discussing how difficult forced retirement was and not enough on the joy of owning Bella. I understood the first five times about retirement. However, this fundamental loss may have given the rest of the book meaning. Bella, rescue dog, is full of life and spirit. The story is enduring and heartbreaking. If anyone has ever dealt with training and living with a dog, they will fall in love with the story.
Hope Hill
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
I don't normally read nonfiction but the cover caught my eye and I decided to check out the blurb. This book was better than I'd hoped. The writing was fast paced, witty and I found myself laughing and crying throughout. It was fascinating to get a glimpse at how just how much difference a dog can make. Bella was indeed an unlikely heroine but she survived the odds. She's done more with her second chance than most people. I hope that more dogs like Bella and Shelly steal hearts and lighten loads ...more
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jean's stories were so real. I felt her emotions and understood Bella's behaviors. I found that I could not put this book down. I have had some similar experiences and appreciated Jean verbalizing her feelings.

Life does not always work out as we plan. As teacher and counselor, Jean found it difficult to hear what she knew best. With Bella together they grew and healed. Many others benefited from their visits. Thank you for writing and sharing.
Michele Pariseau

Would have scored higher but I do not condone hitting a dog for any reason except to ward off an attack! She did not did deserve to be hit as she was learning and a correction and chew toys would have made the situation clearer to miss Bella!.

Susan Santangelo
For dog lovers...

This is the well written story of two journeys, one of an abandoned mutt who became a successful therapy dog, and the other of a fired professional woman who found her calling in volunteer work. I enjoyed learning about training the dog, but I thought the events in the nursing home, although often touching, became tedious.

C Bradley
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written andmoving

I really enjoyed this. Uplifting and informative about therapy dogs and their value to so many. The only negative was the weird timeline. I'm not sure why it was not chronological, as it made it difficult at times when it referred back to a minor character you heard about several chapters ago and potential on.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having trained some difficult dogs, I loved hearing about her successes and her setbacks. I’m thinking of having my current pup become a therapy dog so I was really interested in the topic. She was very honest about her own failings and I appreciated that also.
Carolyn Yardley
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely read and very inspiring

A lovely read and very inspiring. I loved the way it captured you as you found out how bella and the owner learnt all through
Francis Dohm
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read

All the training involved for a therapy dog. And all the joy they provide to the l patients makes it worthwhile
Leanna Williams
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a good book
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story of training a therapy dog and using the dog to visit schools, nursing homes, and hospitals. Uplifting!

This is about a woman and her friend who train their dogs to be therapy dogs. They take them to different people who need comfort
Jan Crossen
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A tender story about overcoming challenges, persistence, finding one's calling, and the amazing healing power of dogs. ...more
Jackie Davie
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written, relaxing read

I know first hand the power of therapy dogs, and also rescue dogs or family pets. Each leave me with a smile on my face, despite being in the same four walls of my room in the nursing home where I live.

I stumbled accross this book by accident, while in pain and sleepless. Reading it in one gulp, Jean's writing was so absorbing it was like having a visit from Bella herself: different, comforting, and has made me smile!
Cynthia Keene
Nov 06, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story about Bella, because my dog is also a rescue from Puerto Rico. In fact, she looks just like her, except she is black.

The many heartfelt stories of Jean and Bella’s journey to help comfort people of all ages brought tears to my eyes. There is no love like that of a dog!
Angela Jr.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I used to work at a dog training facility where we, amongst other things, had courses for training therapy dogs. If done right, this can be a very rewarding thing for both the dog and its owner! The story of Bella really shows what can be gained, learned, experienced when participating in these programs.
If you're thinking about starting therapy dog training with your dog, I would highly recommend reading this book! It will give you even more reasons to start doing it.
Mike Pate
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Jul 20, 2019
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Oct 29, 2018
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Mar 23, 2017
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Feb 21, 2019
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