Bella’s Picks With Christopher Obetz

What can Bella say? She is sad the summer is coming to an end. Where did the expression “endless summer” come from? They seem so short here. Bella wonders if that is true everywhere.

I rode out on the Jitney today in my favorite last seat, on the aisle, next to the loo…Of course, Bella knowing me and I can’t spell to save my soul, asked my seat mate if he could give the formal spelling for bathroom. Blessed, to my joy, he was English and could spell “loo.” Who would have known? Not me.

After thanking him for the correct spelling, I explained I was writing for Bella and her column for the Southampton Animal Shelter. I wondered if he had any good animal stories to share. To make things better, Julian, turned out to be a Brooklyn resident on his way to Amagansett. A huge dog lover, but someone who can’t have a dog of his own, Julian visits the Barc Shelter to walk the shelter Pit Bulls. Julian explained how important it was to him to give the shelter’s dogs a walk, exercise them and take them to the park so they can feel the grass, smell the trees and enjoy the open space. [expand]

What a perfect example of someone taking time out of his life to help animals in need. Just this morning, Julian sent Bella a photo of a gorgeous slug he rescued and helped find its way back into the garden. We traded a few photos of Bella and exchanged e-mails. On those long Hampton weekends, Bella hopes she will be able to share her walk with Julian and some of the Shelter Pit Bulls she will soon come to know and play with. Nothing better than making a new friend, and most importantly a new friend and voice for the shelter.

Sitting down for lunch with Melba and Sabina, Bella’s surrogate mothers, we were talking about the impending storm, Irene. What Bella didn’t anticipate this weekend was an unexpected visitor. I had to explain to Bella, Irene wasn’t an invited house guest. She saw all the activity around the house, didn’t like the scale of the waves on the beach, although a sunny day, and didn’t understand why the shutters were being taken down so early. “Who is this Irene?” she proclaimed. I had the unfortunate news to inform Bella, it was a hurricane.

After living in Nassau, Bahamas and witnessing the devastation year after year, Bella knew we needed to spread the word to everyone on how to prepare for the impending storm. Wildlife of all kinds feel the impact like people. Homes, nests, sea life and stray animals are all affected.

This is only the beginning of hurricane season, so let’s take the time to plan for the future. Bella wanted me to remind all pet owners to make sure they have proper pet carriers for transportation and relocation. Always a must, everyone should have recent photos of their pets, just in case they get lost. One can never be too prepared or protective of a loved one. Updated shots are a must, just as if you were going back to school. Always have an ample supply of water and food. Lots to think about to avoid the loss of life during what could be a time of crisis. Also, make sure you have a back-up friend and a place to stay that is safe. Unfortunately, Red Cross Shelters and the Health Departments do not allow animals at the safe house shelter. There must be a contingency plan for your pets.

After the storm, please check in with the Shelter and our web site,, to see if you can lend a hand. More than ever, the animals will be in need and require a helping hand on the most basic of levels.

Bella asks that her readers check in with the shelter web site, maybe even make it a homepage or bookmark, so you can be updated on the special needs of the shelter that arise out of the blue or stormy weather, as well as the special events and new items at the Thrift Shop.

A fun and inexpensive way to meet other animal lovers and help the shelter is the Boardy Barn Benefit in Hampton Bays, September 17. Lots of people, live music and dancing with Vivian and the Merrymakers, complimentary buffet and cash bar make it a must-do, post Irene, get together.

Bella has many picks this week…too many to feature and all 50% off until the end of Labor Day weekend. There have been incredible donations, all making affordable, chic decorating a possibility. Come visit Nancy, Jack and Joe…nowhere else can you shop, make a new friend, get an incredible deal, knowing you are helping an animal in need.

As this article comes out after the storm, Bella wants everyone to know she is thinking about them, and hopes that this storm will soon pass and we can all focus on the future. There is no doubt in her mind, she lives in one of the greatest communities in the world. We all hold hands and paws as one. Together, united, all things are possible.

Pay it forward, Bella.

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