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Don Rands is a portrait artist with only one muse: his pet Chihuahua, Bella.

RUNTIME: 00:09:38

At the age of 50, Don Rands learned how to paint. His goal? To create a portrait of his best friend, a four pound Chihuahua named Bella. But Don didn't stop at one Bella painting, or two or even three. The paintings just kept coming and coming. 

Bella & Don explores Don's motivation behind his unorthodox series of pet portraits, but what emerges is a story of the healing power of art and eternal friendship. Bravely, and for the first time publicly, Don shares the details of his devastating brain injury, how it affected his life and his young family, and the years of deep depression that ensued.

As Don's paintings come to life on-screen, we learn how a chance encounter with a tiny dog changed his life forever — and how Bella's own health issues, fighting spirit and sense of humour inspired him to pick up a paint brush and get his own life back on track.

Their story is as bold and colourful as Don's canvases, and goes to show that you can always teach a dog new tricks.

For more, check out Don's artwork (

Credits (Click to expand)

Don Rands as Himself
Bella the Chihuahua as Herself
Written, Directed and Produced by Morgan Rhys Tams
Edited by - Shiraz Higgins and Morgan Tams
Camera Operators - Shiraz Higgins and Morgan Tams
Animations by - Don Rands
Artwork by - Don Rands
Art Instruction and Support - Patty Patching
Production Equipment provided by - MediaNet Victoria, BC Canada

The director would like to acknowledge that the production was filmed on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish people of Southern Vancouver Island.

Gaye Tams, The Tams Family, Carly Anne Mersereau, Vera Rands
The Rands family, Sam, Brooke and Juniper, John, Melissa and Owen,
Liz and Sandy, Quinn and Danielle, Clint and Elaine,
Duncan Gidney, Melody Woodnutt, Aaron Kopff, Kimara Brilling,
Sadie Cote, Paul Henry Oppers, Clive Beal, Lindsay Beal,
Patty Patching, Mike Emme, Mat 'Silver Fox' Clarke,
Jessi-Anne Reeves, Shiraz Higgins, Judi Heron, Sarah Kolasky,
Fran Haspect, Leslie Rewega, Christine Atkinson, Discovery Coffee, MediaNet


His beautiful wife Vera
His children Candice, Drew and Bryce
His Grandchildren, Lennox & Daisy
and of course his beautiful little girl forever, Bella.

His Mom and Dad

Family & Friends
Chris & Dee
Les & Irena
Lorraine & Laurie

Special thanks to Patty Patching for all your help during this film.

To Morgan Tams, his good friend, thank you for all your help & support
and for allowing me to share my Bella with the world.

His Doctor
James Stockdill

Bella's Doctor
Tom Frisby and his wonderful wife Margaret

Dr. Deb Allison, Barb Reynolds, Jill,
and the staff at the Gorge Road Hospital

Special thanks to all his Rainbow Bridge Friends
for all your support.

His art teachers Patty, Katusha and Lindsay
Pandora Arts Collective Society
The Little Fernwood Gallery
Victoria Brain Injury Society