Bella’s Story

From Tin Pan Alley in Kyrenia to a new life in the UK

By Anne Woods….

When our last Golden Retriever died my husband always said –  “if we have another dog it will have to find us. The Golden Retriever is a big dog and prone to Hip Displacier and to purchase another retriever has got ridiculously expensive”  That was all said of course before that day when we found Tin Pan Alley in Kyrenia.

‘Tin Pan Alley’ is well named. It is a very narrow street with shops on both sides and cars parked cheek by jowl on one side of the lane and metal workshops on the other.

I said to my husband “Did you just see something black dart out from underneath that car? “No, and I haven’t got the time this morning to investigate something black darting out from under a car, and, whatever it turns out to be the answer is a big NO!  I promised I would meet Jim at 10am to pick up the things I’ve ordered. Let’s meet up again at 12 noon, where do you suggest”? he said. “Well I have some shopping to do myself in the vicinity so let’s meet at UGLEY’s restaurant at the top of this road”, “ OK, see you later“. And now down to business I thought, whilst rubbing my hands together with glee.

Almost immediately a 4-wheel-drive vehicle came out of nowhere and slammed on his brakes. The little puppy had come out into the middle of this narrow alley but immediately ran back into its protective place underneath the same car. In the meantime the driver of the 4 wheel-drive vehicle had got out to try to grab the puppy but then had to move because traffic was building up behind him. I shouted “you go I will take care of it“.

Bella as a Puppy 1
Bella as a Puppy

I suddenly saw my opportunity. I stepped out and held my hand high indicating the car had to stop, fortunately he did, which gave me time to grab the puppy and keep running to the other side. I looked down into the puppy’s sad, tired little face and I said- do you want to come home with me and this adorable little face looked up and said  “OOH Yes Please!” and so the long saga began!

Little Bella and I started up the hill to Ugleys with Bella tucked securely under my arm. UGLEY came rushing out with an opened umbrella to keep us cool, a bowl full of cold water for Bella and small pieces of meat, and a sandwich and a long cool drink for me. Bella and I had experienced a very busy morning.

Finally my husband showed up and after he had been fed and watered we set off firstly to the Vet to check Bella over and buy wormer, tick, and flea powder and shampoo.  We also bought a red collar and lead and a variety of puppy food, not forgetting a few toys. Puppies always need to play. So after a good bath and administering Kar logoall the medications we settled down for a quiet evening and little Bella drifted off to sleep on my lap. “Do not forget we are taking that little dog to Margaret Ray at KAR first thing tomorrow morning” said my husband. I said nothing.

After supper we were both shattered and we decided to have an early night. So we started to get ready for bed, and suddenly I heard shouting coming from one of the bedrooms and my husband shouting “come and look at this” Bella was having a grand old time tugging at my husband’s pyjama bottoms. He said, “SHE STAYS! – it’s been a long time since a young lady has tried to get my pyjama bottoms off !”

So early the following morning off we went to Margaret’s office to start the adoption and Pet Passport proceedings. After completing all of that we decided not to take Bella back to the house until we had to leave for the UK, and we slipped away whilst she was playing with Margaret’s little white poodle so that she would not see us leave.

Bella was to serve her quarantine in Cyprus for the full 6 months. Much better for her with all her doggie friends and for us financially. However fate was to interfere with that arrangement. We received an urgent email from Margaret early one evening to say that the Pet Passport rules had been changed by the EU and that DEFRA was no longer in charge of the Pet Passport Scheme and that we had 3 days to get her out of Cyprus and still be covered by the scheme. So it was all systems go!  We did what we could from this end but Margaret had the full brunt of getting all her “refugees” out before the deadline. The first aircraft was full, the second was not pressurised in the hold (of all my years in the airline business I have never heard of that one before) with all fingers crossed we managed to get her booked on the third and last flight.

I then contacted our quarantine kennels at the UK end, with all Bella’s arrival details. The owner of the kennels phoned us to say that he had arrived at Manchester airport and the flight was delayed. He phoned us again at 2am to say that he had Bella on board and that there had been a further delay as Cyprus had put the wrong stamp on the paperwork but was now leaving for the kennels. I called Margaret to let her know the latest and apologised for waking her up. She said she was awake anyway waiting for my call.

I cannot praise Margaret Ray and her ladies at KAR highly enough they did a fantastic job for us and are still working away at taking care of the homeless, starving and injured dogs and cats in Cyprus. Not to mention the lucky few that find homes overseas.

A Mature Bella 1
A Mature Bella

Our beautiful little Bella served her remaining months in England and we started counting the days when we could bring her home with us. We visited regularly so she would not forget us. She has quite a following of dogs on her daily walks who have become her friends. Even the postman loves her and makes a fuss of her every day. She runs to the door as soon as she hears his Land Rover.

All of this took place in 2003 and my husband and Bella are inseparable:-

Bella has her favourite place on the sofa next to him, she goes to bed at the same time he does, she sleeps at the foot of his bed, she snores as loudly as he does, so I have had to move into another bedroom to get some sleep! Ahh! well as long as our Bella is happy that’s all that matters. She is all so well worth it. I really do believe she was waiting for us on that day!

We are all still waiting for Cyprus to wake up from its lawless society. The caring for Dogs, Cats, Birdlife and wildlife in general is an essential quality to show the rest of the world your commitment to living in a civilized society. No one wants to come to Cyprus on holiday and witness mindless animal cruelty at every turn. Tourists just do not come back again to what could be a very beautiful and wealthier island. Think about It!

A friend of ours in the US sent us a copy of a poem by Virginia Beck after our last Golden Retriever died.  Melissa has also owned many dogs in her lifetime and the postscript is written by her. I sent this to KAR many years ago so some of you may have already read it.

 Poem