In a beautiful first-person account on CNN.com, Lesli Contreras tells the movie story of the relationship between her 8-1/2-year-old son, Nathan—who suffers from cystic fibrosis—and a sweet Pit Bull named Bella. In April, 2012, Contreras’s husband, Pat, saw Bella on Craigslist and was immediately drawn to her, even though she was a “scared, starved abused dog that was skin and bones.” Since Bella was already scheduled for euthanasia, there was no time to lose.
So the family hurried down to the shelter in Tucson to adopt Bella, but they received some bad news: she had valley fever, which would require expensive medical care. Since Nathan’s illnesses already stressed the family’s resources, Lesli and Pat had to make the agonizing decision to leave the dog.
But then two amazing things happened: when they told Nathan that he’d have to pick another dog, he said, “No mom, I don’t want a dog to die because of me.” At virtually the same time, a woman from Phoenix, who had also seen the dog, called the shelter and made a remarkable offer:
She said if anyone comes in to please give them her contact, she’d help if they would just take the dog. The receptionist told her we were there right now, and she had that woman give us her number & call right then. We did. I told her about how much we wanted to take her home but it just didn’t make sense financially… she said that her name was Pattie, and that she felt this was a very special dog, and we were a very special family and that if we would take her that she promised that she had a network of people she knew who would help out, and that she felt we could be the perfect family for this precious dog. My son was in tears, we both were, we brought her home and we have been SO BLESSED.
Since Bella has been with the Contreras family, Nathan has been much happier and better able to handle his various discomforts. Contreras started a blog to chronicle the relationship between the boy and the dog: Life’s Mixed Blessings.