In our lively historic neighborhood, we entertained Bella, a lovable Yellow Lab, with long walks, museum visits and lots of socializing.
It’s always a treat to host pets at our house in The Fan. They love the energy of the area. Centrally located, The Fan is home to a diverse group of people spanning all generations and backgrounds. It’s not uncommon to have students, couples, families, empty nesters and retirees all living on the same block.
The Fan gets its name from the “fan” shape of the streets that extend west from Belvidere, a main thoroughfare running through the expansive campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. As the largest intact Victorian neighborhood in the U.S., it’s primarily comprised of rowhouses, many of which date back to the turn of the century.
People tend to pass by, say hello and wind up spending a few minutes chatting. It’s the way all neighborhoods should be.
One of our favorite places to walk by is home to three adorable Basset Hounds that keep watch on the front stoop. We imagine there are easily as many dogs in The Fan as there are people.
Bella, who lives in the suburbs, was clearly excited to have the opportunity to be a “city dog” for the week. Judging by all the sniffing and tail wags, she loved the new and different sights and smells. Plus, she got lots of attention from passerbys. With her striking white coat, big, brown eyes and sweet disposition, she’s one of those dogs who has lots of instant admirers.
Always affectionate, Bella typically greets total strangers with lots of licks (whether they want them or not.)
Even “non-dog” people seem to be smitten with her. Many mistake Bella for a puppy with her petite frame and enthusiastic nature. But at nearly 10 years old, she’s very much a senior dog. Much like Hannah, another Yellow Lab we petsit, she shows no sign of slowing down.
After exploring the neighborhood, we took Bella to our favorite spot, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. On a beautiful day, there’s no better place to be than the Robins Sculpture Garden. The grounds are perfect for strolling and contain a myriad of interesting art exhibits including a glass installation by Chihuly.
Our favorite piece is Chloe, a sculptural head of a young woman with her eyes closed, by world-renowned Spanish artist, Jaume Plensa. She brings a sense of calm and serenity to the whole venue — even with Bella’s rambunctious running up and down the waterfall stairs.
In the evenings, Bella finally mellowed out. Curling up on her bed, she’d be fast asleep within minutes. A country dog clearly content from her action-packed day in the city.