Largo, Florida - Everyone who meets little Bella falls in love with her. The tiny Chihuahua pup fits neatly in your hand, her sweet eyes blinking curiously at you. But, don't let her two-pound, fragile exterior fool you.
Bella is a fighter.
"Baby Bella," as she's been nicknamed, came close to dying recently. Two weeks ago, the sweet pup was dognapped from the Petland in Largo.
The owner of the store, Max Kennedy, told 10 News the puppy's returnwas extremelyimportant becausethe caninewas on a strict eating regimen due to her weight. They were still trying to determine which kind of food is best for the very slim pup.
Bella needed to be fed four times a day.Instead, she was starved.
It was apainful wait to find Bella -- four long days. She was not given food or water, and when Largo police found her, she weighed less than a pound.
Bella was critical and close to dying.
"We got her just in the nick of time," said Max's wife MariBeth Kennedy. "Had it been even a half our longer, we would be in a completely different situation right now."
The puppywas nursed back to heath underclose watch at Noah's Place Animal Medical Center in Saint Petersburg. She made a remarkable recovery.
Now, she tips the scale at two pounds, is eating regularly and bouncing around, playfully teething the fingers holding and petting her. MariBeth's daughter, Peyton, lights up when she sees Bella's face.
"We came so close to losing her," said MariBeth with tears in her eyes. "It was awful. We are so glad she's okay. She's won our hearts. We are in love!"
Katelynne Rusk, 24, and Christopher Morris, 39, were arrested for grand theft in the case.
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