Connie Ley's will specifically spelled out plans for her dog Bela in the event of her death: Put Bela to sleep and bury him with Ley if a designated friend or a no-kill animal shelter wouldn't take him in. Ley died in November, but when Bela's story made its way online, people started campaigning to save the German shepherd's life, even creating a #SaveBela hashtag. Those efforts paid off, because a Utah no-kill shelter that actively promotes its mission of "Save Them All" has now arranged to bring Bela from Indiana to Utah, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. "Merry Christmas Bela!" reads a statement from Best Friends Animal Society. "We are currently arranging his transport to our sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, where he will celebrate a warm, happy holiday with lots of treats, toys, and love."
It may have been the "unfounded social media backlash" against Ley, as her estate attorney calls it, that actually saved the dog. Even though Bela has a history of "intermittent aggression" and Ley had been concerned that no one would properly care for him, Best Friends got wind of the situation from the media frenzy and contacted the attorney and Ley's friend to explain how it could take care of Bela. "Our trainers and animal behavior specialists will work with Bela so that he will have every opportunity to enjoy a full and rich life," the blog reads. "Our first priority is to do everything we can to make Bela's life whole once again in keeping with Connie Ley's wishes for her beloved dog." (A Japanese mixed breed was trained to find landslide victims after escaping euthanasia.)