Blog · LA Living

How Fostering Puppies Saved My Holidays


I like storytelling. I like writing. It’s been, throughout my life, a solid form of therapy. Some of my journal entries as a child and teen were so melodramatic. Though, most of you would read them and think, ‘wow, she hasn’t changed a bit.’ Anyway, I penned something personal so here it is.

Last year, I took a few hits, not physically but mentally, from important people in my life. Primarily, from male figures in my life whom I loved. The dynamic we, as young women, form with the men in our lives is very crucial to our identities and how we view ourselves. I know that because when two of them left my life around the same time, I questioned who I was. I don’t consider myself to be a person riddled with self-doubt. One thing I always took pride in was my ability to move forward, so sure of my footing without really knowing where I was stepping. (It’s made me great at enduring haunted houses). Ok so, that happened, right? And, this is going to sound trivial but one thing that scared me most was the holidays. They were approaching and I wasn’t sure what my move would be. I couldn’t go home and face those issues but I couldn’t imagine staying in the city celebrating Christmas, drowning in loneliness and isolation. I knew for my own mental health I needed to recoup, save money and spend some time taking care of myself. However, my happiness exists in others’. I see relationships as symbiotic. To be alone is to not be alive. My best bet at surviving the eminent holiday break in Los Angeles was to, well, be surrounded by puppies. My roommate sent me an ad for border collie puppies who needed foster parents via @barkinbitches. I researched all day long how to tend to them. How to train them. How they’re an energetic and intelligent breed so they needed to be entertained and played with more consistently. I could hardly wait to get out of work and pick them up. I’d worked out with one of the managers that I’d take home two…

That drive from the Valley to WEHO was hilarious. I remember speeding over Mulholland like I was Cruella DeVille, ‘lookin for my pups.’ (Bad analogy, I seriously was NOT trying to make a coat from them). When I arrived, they were being crated and given to someone else. The last of the 5 pups were just within reach, but yet, not quite mine. I hardly made it out of the store before the hot tears started welling. ‘Seriously, Bri,’ I thought, ‘Why are you crying, they are just puppies.’ I got home and had a package at my door. To say the timing was impeccable would be an understatement. It was from one of those individuals I’d struggled to deal with over the last year. And it was the type of present anyone would cry over: A favorite sweatshirt you’d steal from them, freshly washed. I pulled it over my head and laid down on my couch. It was 5pm. I cried myself to sleep. Around 7pm I woke to a call from the rescue shop’s manager, whom I had spoken to earlier in the day. Two of the puppies were returned, ‘could I come over and get them?’ They were closing soon and needed help ASAP. I threw on some shoes, left on my snot-covered sweatshirt and ran out the door.

I spent the next two weeks teaching them to use their pee pads and using positive affirmation as much as possible to tell them how good they were. For Christmas, I boiled them chicken and gave them soft yams. I gave all my attention to providing a safe environment for these puppies—who were initially destined to be put to sleep on Christmas eve—that I was given an opportunity to understand myself again. Loving and being loved fills me up and I cannot be afraid of that. I decided that whenever the overwhelming sensation comes over me that I am weak for that, I remind myself how powerful it can be too. It was hard to allow people to leave, to actually agree that they should leave, because they aren’t loving you the way you need to be loved. I will not apologize for demanding the things I need. Especially if that thing, in that moment, is a puppy or two, to remind me what’s important.

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