The Story of Belle “Scarlet Firefly Dances with Wolves” by Scott Gibbons

belle-2Today is beautiful Belle’s second birthday. She is a White Swiss Shepherd, or Berger Blanc Suisse. In these two short years Belle has become an essential and wonderful part of our family. You can probably tell already that I believe a dog to be more than just a pet, to us they are wonderful, sentient beings with a life force that, if nurtured, trained and acknowledged, can bring so much joy to our lives.

It was the middle of the night, during the summer of 2013 that my wife, Cheryl said something mysterious in her sleep. She seemed fairly determined and agitated, but spoke clearly, “I want a white shepherd girl!” She repeated it several times.

The next morning I asked her about it, and she remembered the dream associated with what she had said with such determination. It was a dream about our young little chickens. A week or so before, we traveled through scenic South Park, Colorado and brought home four little chicks to raise into hens. I built them a cozy little chicken coop and was excited to share them with our family and Cheryl’s clients. She is an occupational therapist and developmental psychologist with a treatment center on our residential property. Some of the children Cheryl works with love to see the chickens and collect the blue, green and coral colored eggs.Belle1

We named our chicks Columbine, Clover, Tiger Lilly and Persephone. They were happy, chirpy and hungry and seemed to like their new home. However, being novice chicken ranchers we had left a tiny gap in the coop, just enough for a raccoon to reach in and grab little Persephone and kill her. This was quite upsetting and what Cheryl was dreaming about when she said she wanted a “white Shepherd girl.” She wanted a strong, smart girl dog to be a protector to our chicks and
home.

This was a non-starter for me. I was not interested (or so I thought) in more dogs. We already had two 11 year olds, a 6 pound Toy Poodle named Dinah and a slightly bigger Chihuahua, Zorro. We love our little ones, but the thought of a big dog seemed like a lot

of work to add to our busy schedules. We discussed it briefly that morning, and then didn’t mention it again, until… a chance encounter in Provence.

Just weeks later, Cheryl and I traveled to the South of France. While walking through a quiet alleyway in the village of Gordes, we saw a young couple round the corner ahead and come in to view. They had with them a beautiful white dog. Cheryl said, “That’s my dog, that’s my White Shepherd girl!” We were quite far away, so even though I could see it was probably a Shepherd I didn’t have any idea if it was a male or female. But, as I have learned over the years, when Cheryl knows something, she knows. A conversation began. They were from Holland and they happily told us about their (of course) girl, a Berger Blanc Suisse. We had never heard of the breed, but she was so beautiful and sweet and we were very interested. She was two years old.belle-3

I researched the breed and discovered a wonderful breeder in California at Dances with Wolves Ranch. When we returned home to Colorado, I called Simona and we had a conversation about the breed and her pups. She informed me that it was a six month to a year wait after your reservation to get a pup. I didn’t talk to her again that autumn or winter.

In early March of 2014, Cheryl and I went across Fifteenth Street to have dinner with our friends and neighbors. We were gone only a couple of hours and were home by 10:00 p.m. When we returned home, we were shocked to find that someone had broken in and tramped through our entire home with muddy boots! A few items were stolen, which was far less consequential than the ugliness of just knowing an intruder had smashed a window and gone through all the rooms in our home.

My wife said what feels so true when this happens, “I feel violated.” And it was a violation. A couple of days later, Cheryl expressed something different. “I’m done feeling violated, now I’m just angry that some creep was in our home!” Then she looked at me and said, “I want my white girl Shepherd.”

I called Simona the next morning and she had amazing news. “We had a litter two days ago, and…” this is the best part, “…we have a little girl that hasn’t been spoken for.” This seemed like a miracle, a newborn pup, “Scarlet Firefly Dances with Wolves” born the day of the break-in! I told Cheryl of this amazing circumstance and she said, in a matter of fact manner, “I know, that’s my girl.”

I made arrangements with Simona and our little Belle was reserved. Two weeks later Cheryl said to me, “You know, I want this dog to be a therapy dog working with my children.” I called Simona to ask if this was a possibility with our new pup and she said, “Well, both of her parents are therapy dogs.” Another coincidence, but again Cheryl replied, “I tWSS-Photo-4hought so”!

Belle arrived in May and was happily received. Our adult children visited and were so excited.
Belle is such a wonderful addition to our family, and so great with kids.

Today, Belle has an active life as a family member and participant in Cheryl’s therapy practice. She explores the Chautauqua, Flatiron and other Boulder Mountain trails and loves the pine forests, meadows, greeting hikers and making new dog friends. Belle is absolutely crazy about the snow that can fall during any season in Boulder, Colorado.
We can’t imagine life without her. As Cheryl says, “Belle is a dream come true”! And she truly is.