Four year old Bella is a Bichon Frise with a natural instinct for recognizing when someone needs support. Her owner, Barry Coare is a veteran who suffers from PTSD. He rescued Bella when she was a puppy who had been badly beaten.

According to Barry, it is hard for him to trust because of his PTSD but having a dog helps, making it easier to relax. Having someone depend on him gives him a purpose.

And Bella takes care of Barry.  She wakes Barry when he is having nightmares. When he is having a panic attack, Bella sits on his feet and stares him in the eyes to ground him. She also has a soothing effect on other people.


Despite her rough start in life, Bella is trusting and has a calming effect on people.  Her gentle, calming nature led Barry to volunteer their services to Pets as Therapy, a charity that sponsors therapeutic visits to hospitals, nursing homes and such.

Barry and Bella regularly visit the hospital. Her presence comforts stroke patients and others, but she is really popular in the children’s unit.

Being a veteran with PTSD, Barry likes to give back by visiting the Combat Stress charity that helps veterans with PTSD, anxiety and depression. Bella helps them relax and be open to therapy.

Pets as Therapy hosts a therapy dog of the year contest to honor PAT volunteers.  Nominations are made and voted on.  The contest is sponsored by HiLife Pet Foods who supplies the prizes.

For her good works, Bella was nominated and won the HiLife Pet Foods Pets as Therapy Dog of the year 2019 at Crufts. Barry is very proud of Bella but is happy to shine a light on the Combat Stress charity.

Barry is retired from serving 14 years in the military and understands what other veterans are going through.  Bella’s win will hopefully help raise the awareness of the Combat Stress charity that helps veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Source: Pets As Therapy



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