For the record, there are many animal shelters in the Bozeman area. If you are thinking about adopting a pet, you don't have to look far.

However, adopting a pet comes with a lot of responsibility. It's a full-time commitment, especially if you adopt an animal with bad habits.

When I decided to adopt Bella in 2018, I already had a black lab named Galena. The reason I wanted to adopt another dog was so that Galena didn't have to be alone all day while I was at work. I wanted her to have a friend.

I checked animal shelters in the Bozeman area for a couple of months before I found Bella at Heart of the Valley. She was a Wolf Point Reservation transfer. When I first saw Bella, she was incredibly spunky and full of energy. When I asked about adopting her, I was informed that she had already been adopted and returned twice. The first time she was returned, it was because she didn't get along with another dog that already lived in the home. The second time, it was that she was not a "cuddle dog."

I decided to take a chance on Bella, and I'm really glad that I did. Sure, she had quite a few behavioral issues. She liked to chew on things she wasn't supposed to, and she definitely got in trouble a few times.

I worked with her on her issues and made sure she had plenty of chew toys. I rewarded her for good behavior and practiced positive reinforcement. Training a dog requires trust. If a dog doesn't trust you, you'll have a difficult time teaching it anything. It takes time for a dog to develop trust.

Fast forward almost three years and Bella is literally the best dog you could ask for. She doesn't chew stuff up anymore, and she is the ultimate "cuddle dog." She likes to be right next to me at all times. She is full of love and gets along great with my black lab, Galena. She has brought more joy to my life than I ever thought possible.

Jesse James

If you are interested in adopting a pet, check out the Heart of the Valley website for more information.

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