Letter from the publisher: Puppy love

We love dogs at Tampa Bay Business and Wealth magazine. 

Except for Hanna Gade. She likes cats, which is OK. We have a trend where our cover story subjects are surprised to find their fur babies highlighted on the table of contents page, the month their story runs. We love meeting their pets because a person’s pet tells us a lot about who they are. It’s just one more way we get to know them, before sharing their stories with you.

Our office is dog-friendly and, if you find us at brunch on the weekends, chances are, you will find us with our dogs. 

Managing Editor Jo-Lynn Brown had a red nose pit bull, for 10 years. Tora was a handful but she loved that dog. Losing him was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve seen her endure. 

Associate Publisher and President Jason Baker has two dogs, Max, a 16-year-old springer spaniel, and Maggie, a total mix. Maxi is getting up there in years, but hanging tough, and Maggie is a young rescue from the Puerto Rico hurricane, a few years back. 

Wes Clay, the newest addition to the TBBW team, is our multimedia market manager and his fur baby is George, a German Shepherd, who is 6 years old.

One could say TBBW has gone to the dogs.

Me, I’m a proud momma to a Yorkie, Sir Bentley, who is 8 years old. And now, his sister, a 3-year-old Yorkie mix, of sorts, Tini, short for Martini. Not because of the drink but because she came to us named Queenie (there’s room for one queen in my house) and we didn’t like her name but also, didn’t want to confuse her. And, weighing in at just under 6 pounds, she is quite teeny. So, it stuck. (Bello puppies pictured above)

Tini is a rescue that was living, along with her siblings, in a crate in the backseat of a car. She was matted and undernourished, her eyes couldn’t be seen and her limbs couldn’t function, due to matting that limited her mobility. She was loved, her owner just could no longer care for them, having found herself homeless.  

So why am I taking this page to share my journey of adopting Tini? I hope our story helps other would-be adopters rescue other needy animals. I also hope to spark change in the rescue/adoption industry that, I believe, has serious deterrents for those attempting to save a pup’s life.  

Our story took us almost five months. Not because we were choosy. Having lost our beloved Marley, last October, we were searching for a friend for Sir Bentley who was sad, not ever having known life as an only child.

It took five months because of the rescue organizations we attempted to work with. When I tell you it seemed they would rather the dogs spend their lives in a crate than have them adopted by a loving home, I’m not being facetious. 

We were turned down because we live on the water. Because we have a pool (who doesn’t in Florida?) Because we have a dog door—a door that allows our precious pups the opportunity to sun when they want, which they often do, and allows them to use the restroom, if necessary, instead of crossing their legs in hopes we’ll be home soon. When a girlfriend attempted to rescue on our behalf, out of complete frustration with the system, she was told the dog prefers men. C’mon, people, did the dog tell you that? 

It seemed, in my opinion, easier to adopt a child than a dog.

I understand the argument, I understand the need for protection. I understand there are bad people who do bad things to dogs. I get it—there should be rules.

However, one look at our home, and our Bentley, and no one could fathom a dog would be anything less than overjoyed there. There are more dog beds than people beds. Three overflowing toy bins, just for our furry friends. Lavish vacations and weekends where our pups are the center of attention. They want for nothing and are in a safe place where they are loved, played with, walked, fed well and spoiled. It’s certainly better than a crate in the backseat of a car, wouldn’t you agree? 

I’m calling for change. The pendulum has swung too far. Want the puppy mills to go away? Do your homework and learn about the people attempting to adopt. See my post on Facebook, there are hundreds of stories just like mine. Other loving would-be homes with the inability to adopt. It shouldn’t be so hard to save a dog’s life. 

Rant over, for now. 

With love from here,

Bridgette Bello,

CEO, publisher and proud pup mom


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