This year, my journey is full of surprises – one of them being my German Shepherd foster puppy, Layla. Many of you are watching my journey unfold with her on Instagram, but for those who are not, I’d love for you to meet her:
One sunny afternoon, about a year ago, the owner of a local business approached me with a question: do you know of any German Shepherd breeders? I rolled my eyes and responded to him that there are a million dogs in shelters who are in need of good homes. And guess what? A few months ago, he had the audacity to ask me this: Do you know anyone who wants a 5-month-old German Shepherd for free? If not, we will give her away to the shelter.
I immediately called my fairy dog-God mother, Ivona, the owner of Kosma Rescue, and told her about Layla. Ivona shared the risks of fostering a puppy directly from the owner – you know nothing about her behavior or health history, plus she was not spayed.
But I could not stop thinking about her.
Listen, I’ve always been a bit spiritual. And I truly believe her spirit was destined to come into my life before she was even born. Our lives were meant to intersect. So, I accepted the challenge and picked her up.
When I got Layla at 5-months-old, she had never been on a leash. Never been trained. Never been socialized. And never been on the busy, noisy streets of downtown LA. You have no idea how horrified this pup was from bicycles, skateboards, loud buses and all the unexpected noises in the concrete jungle of DTLA. The first night was a shit show!
Next morning, I took her for a walk and as per my regular routine we stopped by at a local Starbucks. The store manager had a total crush on Layla and offered to foster her while we looked for her new home. At the foster, she experienced a new home, new smells, new noises, new puppies, and new people. But after 4 weeks, her foster could not handle her any longer and he apologetically asked for her to be picked up.
I had no choice but to take her in. And Ivona was right – she would require a lot of work! I became her 3rd household in her short beginning to life (actually 4, because she came from the breeder). She settled in and got along nicely with everyone in my personal dog pack. Then, the challenge of getting her adjusted to my environment of living in downtown LA began. With the help of many of you, I was able to sign Layla up to go on group walks with local dog walking / training services.
Then, two weeks later, someone showed a lot of interest in Layla. We made it clear how much work she would need, but the interest remained. We interviewed him twice, he visited Layla twice – on paper as a dog owner, he seemed like her perfect match! We processed Layla’s proper adoption paperwork – signatures, identity confirmation, residence manager approvals - and I handed her off to a stranger. I watched her getting in a car with him. While he was changing her collar and putting on a new leash, she just stared at me and did not break eye contact, not even for a second. All I felt is her telling me – I’ll be back soon as she threw me a west side gang sign with her paw (lol!).
Only three nights later….. he reached out explaining “how triggered she was” to everything, including kids and trash cans. She was too much for him to handle. I know… I know my friends..I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.
But I rolled up my sleeves and committed to be the last foster she would ever have.
Three months have zoomed past from the day I picked her up for the first time. For now, I just know she is already in the right home with me. She gets along with my boy Junior, she loves her bestie Delilah (who got adopted and getting picked up on 16th) and she loves my notorious duo Coco and Romeo. With the love and help of Ivona (Kosma Rescue), Layla was spayed and is searching for her home on Pet Finder. With your donations, Layla attends her group walks for socializing and obedience training. And with the love from “Operation Blankets of Love'', we always have dog food, toys and needed accessories.
Next excerpt is her evaluation and adoption description, written by my dear neighbor, dog mom and newborn mom Sara:
Layla is a beautiful, healthy and energetic 8-month-old, purebred female German Shepherd puppy. She is young, a very quick learner and would be the perfect partner for an experienced, dedicated handler looking for a loving best friend for life.
Sadly, Layla has had a rough start in life. She was purchased as a pet and given away due to lack of time and knowledge of the breed. When she came to us, she had never been on a leash, was scared of loud noises and was reactive to fast passing objects, birds and other dogs.
Today, Layla is currently being fostered by an active volunteer with a pack of 2 small and 2 medium dogs, where she is thriving with the daily training and structure she needs. She has learned to walk on a leash, to obey commands, listen when distracted and is truly transforming into a social butterfly. She is an early bird, very respectful to other dogs in her pack and playful when allowed to express her puppiness and loving nature.
After an evaluation by a professional trainer, it has been determined that Layla would do best with a dedicated and advanced handler. She is not the ideal pet for a family with kids, but rather must be in a disciplined environment with proper structure, adequate attention and A LOT of physical activity/mental stimulation.
Please do not message us about Layla if you are looking for a back-yard security dog or have no knowledge of German shepherd breed. Advanced handlers and owners only!
To see more photos and videos of Layla, check out her Instagram:
You can also find her adoption listing on PetFinder
You can help Layla with training expenses by making payment directly to FitPals invoice, $25 minimum. Or donate directly to my PayPal with note Layla expenses.
Thank you for reading this long ass essay. Thank you for your love and support. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a difference on this planet.
Always remember: ADOPTION IS ONLY OPTION!