Still, no tail wag. I was beginning to wonder if she might have a damaged tail. I texted Ellie, the woman who had Bella for a month before me. Ellie assured me that during the first few days in her household, Bella was playful. She shared a short video, and sure enough, Bella is playing with Ellie's two Berners, and her fully functional tail is wagging happily. Bella even does the bow/invitation thing, urging the other dogs to play with her.
So the mystery is, what is the source of Bella's depression, and why did it emerge after a period of playful connection with some other dogs? Ellie said "When she first came she was so excited that she wasn't locked up and had other dogs to be around and play with but then she just slowly went back into herself with every noise and every time my son would run or yell." She adds that Bella "seems to like stuffed animals as she stole my son's a few times to sleep with."
In my home Bella can listen to my therapy sessions and doesn't have any 6 year old boys running and yelling. There are, alas, no other dogs, but she does have peace and quiet and plenty of walks. Could it be that despite the initial excitement that came with her liberation from the puppy mill, Bella just feels lost and traumatized? Does she miss her puppies that were taken from her? My poor Bella.