My partner Skyler and I found Swamp Haven three months after we lost our beloved lab, Sam. While there are plenty of great rescues locally, Swamp Haven made us feel so comfortable during an emotionally trying time. Skyler and I had never actually adopted a dog before (all of our previous pups found us) and meeting dogs in a casual, social setting felt so normal to us. After seeing a handful of dogs we asked to meet Bella Blue, the beautiful blue tick coonhound we kept seeing on social media.

Lindsey was honest with us and let us know that a few other families tried her out and decided she was too much for them but we decided to take her home on a trial week anyways. Bella was rambunctious, needed a lot of training and had a difficult time finding a rhythm with us at first. That first week was so trying, especially after years with senior dogs. I was exhausted but right when I was at my wits end Bella would do something to steal my heart. We could tell she wanted to listen and learn but was never given an opportunity and in the end we just couldn’t give up on her.

Fast forward five months and neither Skyler nor I could imagine our lives without Bella. She is constantly learning and growing, filling our lives with humor, purpose and happiness. In the end, her rough edges and idiosyncrasies are what made her a part of our family. Nothing is perfect, but the bond of love that forms when you dedicate your life to an animal (flaws and all) is pretty dang close.

-Shelby and Skyler
Owners of Dog Day Gardens

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