Bela, the German shepherd, caught the attention and the hearts of many as a result of his bizarre situation. His guardian, Connie Ley, passed away in November, leaving the nine year old dog behind. In her will, Ley stated that Bela was to either be euthanized, cremated and mixed with her ashes … or, if the funds were available, sent to the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.

Animal rights activists and dog lovers from across the world joined behind the #SaveBela campaign, urging Ley’s lawyer to help the dog get to Utah. Thankfully, after much nervous waiting, Bela made his way to the Best Friend’s Animal Society (BFAS). He arrived to excited volunteers, welcome signs and plenty of toys on December 28, 2014.


Not even a month later, staff arrived at BFAS and noticed that Bela had a swollen abdomen and was breathing rapidly. An emergency vet visit revealed that his lungs were full of fluid and he was suffering from a very fast-growing form of cancer. The diagnosis indicated that Bela would not have made it more than a painful day or two. So, sadly, Bela was put down.

“This was a very difficult choice, as it is with any animal in our care, but we approached the decision from the perspective of what was the kindest course of action for Bela,” wrote BFAS in a press release.

Under normal circumstances, animals that pass away at BFAS are buried at a permanent resting area in Angels Canyon, Utah. Bela’s circumstances were anything but normal, however.

“We felt the right thing to do was to fulfill Bela’s owner’s last wishes,” continued BFAS. “Therefore, we are cremating Bela and sending his ashes to Indiana so he can be buried with his owner who passed away in November.”


Although Bela was only at the sanctuary for a month, he made quite the impact. According to the press release, Bela had already made many friends and was quickly becoming one of the most popular dogs at the Sanctuary.

“Our staff had grown to love him as the sweet and wonderful dog he was, and every one of us who knew him is devastated by this turn of events. Bela will be greatly missed.”

It is nice to know that Bela will be reunited with his late owner and that her wishes will have been granted in the most humane way possible.

Rest easy, Bela.