Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2013, 9:00 pm

Lucky Vino has a big circle of family and friends

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By Vino Bello

Photo: Submitted
Vino Bello, left, an Australian shepherd/border collie mix, has eggs for breakfast alongside buddies Bailey and Rusty. Vino Bello lives with Kimberly Spain and Todd DeBruyn in LeClaire.
Quad-Citians show off their pets in Creature Feature, appearing Sundays in the At Home section and Mondays in the Neighbors section. This story was submitted byKimberly Spain and Todd DeBruyn,of LeClaire. If you want to share your pet's story, email your submission to features@qconline.com and attach a photo in JPEG form. Or, send a story and photo via regular mail to Creature Feature, Features Department, The Dispatch/The Rock Island Argus, 1720 5th Ave., Moline, IL 61265.

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My name is Vino Bello, and I am an Australian shepherd and border collie mix. My journey in life did not start out so happily, and it was a rough road until I was rescued by my mom and dad a little over a year ago.

I was just a baby. I remember the day they came to get me; they ran at my kennel as if they were in a race -- Mom in the lead, of course. Dad walked away for a minute, and next thing I knew, I was in Mom's arms, and she was crying. We were both very excited.

Once Dad had everything taken care of, we went outside, where my Uncle Chris was just as excited to meet me. We then headed off to Pet Smart, where we bought a lot of stuff. I remember because the cart was full.

We went back to Uncle Chris'and played outside for a long time. I was so happy. I was running in circles and throwing my stuffed elephant Uncle Chris bought me in the air.

That was when I started sneaking sips out of Dad's drinks. He had pop and ice in a glass on the ground, and I was thirsty, so I helped myself. They thought it was funny; I wonder if they still think it's funny?

Anyway, after a long day, I was wiped out, so Dad took me in and gave me my first of many baths, and then it was nap time. We stayed overnight at Uncle Chris' that night, and I guess I was a very good boy because I woke up Dad every time I had to go potty. I have never had an accident in the house.

The next morning, we headed home to LeClaire, where I got to meet all of my new friends and more aunts and uncles. I was a little scared meeting everybody because there were a lot of dogs, but now I consider them my family.

There is Goliath, who is a Great Dane; Milkshake; Rusty, an Irish setter, who has become my big brother and partner in crime; Jax, a chihuahua/terrier mix, who acts like he doesn't like me but wags his tale while growling at me; Scooby, a rat terrier, who is the boss and king of us all; Rajah, a chihuahua/terrier mix, who is the little princess; and Bailey, a golden Lab.

Bailey was really nice to me when I first came home and was almost like my dog mom. She would let me jump all over her and bite on her, and she never got mad at me. She was very gentle with me, and I would get so excited to just hear her name. We still play like that to this day! She is also a big princess.

Then there is Uncle Dave and Aunt Christine. They're pretty cool -- they give me treats and let me walk in and out of their house whenever I want. They also don't mind when I just want to hang out in the mornings before they go to work.

Uncle Denny and Aunt Patty are pretty awesome, too. Uncle Denny takes me to work with him sometimes when Daddy is traveling, or we hang out in the woods, and Aunt Patty lets me come in and lie on my favorite kitchen vent at her house. Sometimes, I sneak into Aunt Patty's room and wake her up.

They also let us play around their pool in the summer. Bailey and Rusty go swimming. I don't like to swim, and I don't like them to swim, either. I get in trouble for running around the pool barking.

They all puppy-sit me whenever Mom and Dad have to go away. Because we all like to play together so much and run all over, my mom and dad and aunts and uncles decided to put an invisible fence in that surrounds four houses and about a half block of timber where all of us can play. We have a lot of room to run and chase each other.

I go to work with my dad every day and get to play in the shop and out by the pond. I really like to chase the geese around, but sometimes, they end up chasing me. I also like to play with the big frogs around the pond. I don't hurt them, just bark when they start jumping around. Sometimes, my cousin Buddy, a springer, is there with Grandpa, so I get to play with him, too.

If I get tired throughout the day, I can take a nap on my bed in Dad's office or lie out by the tile. If Dad has to go somewhere throughout the day, I just hang out with Carol, who works with my dad. She is really nice and lets me in and out, and in and out, and in and out!

I love going to work with Dad every day, but about 4 p.m., I get antsy to go home and see my friends and my mom. I usually paw at Dad, letting him know I am ready to go home, and every night I run over to Rusty's or Bailey's house to get him or her to come out and play.

Mom usually gets home a little after that, and we all run to greet her with love and kisses. I play outside until Mom makes me come in around dark. Sometimes I don't want to come, so Mom will bring out my favorite treat in the world -- sugar-free Popsicles. Cherry is my favorite, and orange is my least favorite.

When I am not out running with my friends or heading off to work with Dad, I like to lounge on my bed upstairs or hang out on the tile downstairs. I also like to play with my toys. Usually around 8:30 or 9 p.m., I get a second wind and want to play. Mommy says I play too rough, so usually it is Daddy and I playing tug-of-war. I usually win, but sometimes I let Daddy win so he doesn't feel bad.

On the weekends, we usually just hang out, but sometimes we go for a ride, and they take me to a little bakery where I get to pick out my own treats or Pet Smart to get a new toy. Almost every weekend I get breakfast at either my house or one of my friends' houses.

My dad always says that I am one spoiled puppy, but I think I am one of the luckiest. I have a loving mom and dad, the best aunts and uncles and the seven best friends!