L.O.V.E. MADCRUSH! We could read this story over and over again, and our smiles would just keep getting bigger. There’s no relationship like the one between a dog and it’s human, and this Valentine’s Day needed to share one that gives us all the feels. Marla won over Amanda’s heart with just one look and cuddled in to make sure she was never going anywhere else, ever again. Keep reading to hear more about their journey together.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your dog (when did you adopt him/her, is this your first dog, etc.).
I adopted Marla this past November. She’s my first dog. I’ve always wanted a dog and even wrote my mom an impassioned essay in middle school on why we should get one. She admired my effort, but didn’t give in. Now, over 20 years later, I think the timing just wasn’t right back then and everything led to Marla and I finding each other.
How did you know your dog was “the one”?
I moved to LA from NY two years ago. When I got here, a friend stayed with me for a while and brought along their two pitbulls. After a few weeks I was a total goner and I knew when the time came, rescuing a pittie was the only option. When they moved out in October, I missed them, but knew that it was time for me to get my own dog and give a home to someone in real need. I started looking around at rescues and at shelters but wasn’t sure what the best route would be. I was at a birthday party on a Saturday afternoon and we got to talking about adopting a dog. Someone there recommended Wags & Walks and I went on the site that night and as I scrolled through all the beautiful pitties, everyone I thought was ‘the one’ and then I got to Marla. There was something I just new was special about her and so I took a shot and filled out the adoption application on Sunday am. A week later she was in the back of my car and we were headed home on the adventure we’re now living!
Have there been any challenges or setbacks you’ve had to overcome? What was your biggest surprise?
For sure. My biggest personal challenge has been accepting that yes, there are challenges. And that’s ok. There is no perfect dog just like there’s no perfect child or person. Marla is a puddle of love that is gentle and just adores people. In fact, one thing her foster told me that I often think about as I’m constantly reminded of it is “Marla loves hard.” And that’s what makes her so special. She also came from very difficult circumstances and is a very sensitive girl. Everything we do is new for her. I think the first few weeks I got her she didn’t bark once or make a single sound. And now, almost six months later, she’s settling in and finding her voice. She’s becoming the dog and puppy she never got to be before. And with that comes putting in the work to make sure she knows she’s safe and free to do that by providing the structure that allows her that freedom.
What is your favorite thing about your dog? Does he/she have any funny quirks?
Oh Marla! How can I pick one favorite thing about you. I love that if cuddling was an Olympic sport you’d be a triple gold medalist. I love that you’re stubborn. I love that you’re fascinated by birds and obsessed with squirrels. I love that you are a Houdini that learned how to open your crate. I love that you love blueberries. I love that you have the silliest ever habit of winding up for a giant lick and leaving your tongue there as if you’re going to fall asleep like that. I even love your eye boogies in the am.
What is your favorite thing about being a doggy parent?
How has your dog changed you?
I can say that 100%, Marla has made me a better human. I am infinitely more patient and incredibly more calm. Everyday I try to be the best person I can for her. I never had anyone to do that for before.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about you and your pup?
I really wish more people knew the special joy that comes from adopting a rescue dog. Even though Marla is a pitbull, I actually get more negative feedback on her background than on her breed. Since she was one of the Riverside dogs, I know her back story. So when people find out about it, they’re a bit leery. I think there’s as much, if not more, of a stigma attached to her background than to her breed. People think her terrible past defines her future and that she’s ‘unpredictable’ or ‘unknowable’ because of it. And that just couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, her past is why it takes longer for her to adjust to new surroundings but she doesn’t know that. She just knows she’s scared of new things. Yes, her past is why I have to work twice as hard to communicate to her that she’s safe and doesn’t’ need to worry or be anxious about things. But she doesn’t know that’s why she’s worried. Marla doesn’t live in her past. She lives in the present. And I think that’s the most valuable lesson she’s taught me and can teach everyone: Humans let their pasts define them all the time. Dogs physically can’t and have the advantage over humans because of it. I really hope her story can inspire more people to adopt rescues and not be afraid of their pasts.
We know! Such a cute story and the perfect Valentine’s Day pick-me-up. If Cupid has struck your heart and you want a pup of your own, don’t wait. You’re not only saving an animal’s life, but you’re also changing yours for the better! Please visit our website to see our available dogs and fill out an adoption application.