Similar life experiences can help connect and heal people of very different backgrounds, and even different species, as demonstrated in this remarkable story of a severely abused dog.
The story of the early life of this Siberian Husky was not a happy one. After having been starved, beaten, and left alone for days by his former owner, he was then placed in the custody of the Texas Husky Rescue. When the shelter alerted the Fontenot family of the dog’s arrival, the husky was quickly fostered with their family.
The dog was in poor condition when the Fontenots received him.
“He moved around like everything hurt. He would not make eye contact,” he said. “When I touched him, he would just freeze up, stare off into space, and wait to be hit. That was all Bellin knew of life.”
He was dangerously malnourished, and skittish around people.
Struggling to overcome abuse is never easy for anyone, and finding ways to heal that abuse is no small task either. They resolved to persevere, however, and named the dog Bellin Bellin, after the ancient Aborigine god of the wind.
“We chose that to show how far the winds of change can blow,” said Steve, and it did not take long for the hardy dog to live up to the name as he eventually made a full recovery.
“Both his physical and emotional transformation were beyond anything I could have imagined,” said Dr. Kassia Kubena-Fontenot.
The experience of fostering and rehabilitating Bellin gave the Fontenots an idea: What if they used Bellin, himself a victim of abuse, to help make other victims of abuse smile again?
“It was just a natural mesh,” Kassia Kubena-Fontenot said.
“He loves them and they love him.”
“Like Bellin back in the day, these children now have their lives torn apart,” said Steven Fontenot. “They lost their homes, their families, and they don’t know what’s coming next.” With Bellin, however, their world is a lot more joyful and hopeful, and the shared experiences and connections made with the children helps in their healing.
“It helps them as well,” Kassia Kubena-Fontenot said. “And helps break that cycle of abuse.”
“I can’t think of a bigger gift to give a child, than giving them their smiles back,” Steven Fontenot said.