Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Our First Year With Nala

Our First Year With Nala

Our First Year With Nala

As a little girl, I always loved having pets, especially a pup and, to this day, dogs continue to play a major roll in my life. Early last year, our two older pups, Raisin and Plum passed away within three weeks of each other and, as all you dog owners know, it's heartbreaking. I consoled myself by spending a few months volunteering at the local shelter, DAWG and held adoption events at DIANI. I've always been a big animal advocate, so when I felt the urge to have another dog, it only felt natural to adopt. When I first spotted Nala's sweet face, I knew she was the one. Fast forward to today and I can't believe it's been a little over a year since she joined our family. I'm sure you've seen her around at the stores, making appearances on the blog and all over my Insta account, so it's about time I officially introduce Nala and share her story with you all. 

So, it was last spring that I started casually browsing Pet Finder and after a few days poking around off and on, I came across this photo of Nala with a red scarf around her neck. I couldn't handle the cuteness and she looked like a combination of Plum and Raisin. I immediately reached out to Adopt Arsi, a non-profit organization that rescues dogs from the streets in Taiwan that are oftentimes rounded up for the dog meat trade. I initially thought they had her in San Francisco where they're headquartered, but later learned she was in Taipei! They told me that Nala and her two siblings were found in a box in a warehouse where they had been dumped as infants without their mother. She was being taken care of in a foster home that they partner with and waiting for adoption.

I sent in my application and they invited me to have a phone interview. I remember being so anxious to say the right things because I wanted them to choose me and they had already disclosed that they had had many applications for Nala. I was over the moon when they called me a few days later to say they had picked me and then it was the waiting game while she got spayed and vaccinated before she would be able to fly. That was the worst part because there were so many times that she would get booked on a certain flight and it would fall through. I was in New York for work when they were able to book her last minute (they like flying pups out in groups so they aren't so nervous). So I took a red eye from New York to San Francisco and waited in the airport several hours before she landed.

It was the sweetest experience finally getting to meet her even though she was understandably very unsure of me. I took the shuttle with her straight to a hotel by the airport and she snuggled with me all night. We woke up, got the shuttle back to the airport and hopped on a plane to New York for her to hang at the farm for a week or so before coming back to Santa Barbara. She's a pro at flying and will sleep the entire way and she's become quite the traveler this past year... we recently took her on an eight day road trip across the country and she was the perfect co pilot. 

While we haven't done a test to figure out her exact breed, apparently she's part Formosan Mountain dog and part terrier, so she has a good amount of energy that she enjoys burning off while running down the beach and climbing on rocks. The history of the Taiwanese/Formosan Mountain dog is they were trained for hunting. And, she's definitely obsessed with sniffing around chasing anything that moves. She adores playing with dogs of all kinds. She's not sure about water yet. I took her paddle boarding for the first time last week at a local lake and she sat on it easily, which is a good start.

When Jeffrey and I are puttering around in the kitchen making something to eat, she knows to hang around for any bits of food that might hit the deck, especially if salmon is on the menu. She's not very coordinated when it comes to catching a toy and is terrible at fetch, though she LOVES running. She likes hanging out close by her stuffed animal friends and snuggling up in bed is her happy place. 

Having a rescue dog is so different and more special than I ever imagined. I didn't want to be afraid of the idea that I didn't know where my pup came from, but rather excited that I could be giving her a loving home. They are like people in the sense that they have a story that sort of unfolds in their personality as they get comfortable with you. She has come so far in just a year and her character is really blossoming. She's a goofy, funny and loving little fur ball, always ready for whatever the day brings her. Isn't that something we all love about pets? They're so present in the moment.

With so many cats and dogs in shelters looking for homes, Jeffrey and I are big believers in the "adopt don't shop" mentality. Here's a list of organizations that I currently follow, who aim to rescue animals and help provide them loving homes.

Giving furry creatures a loving home is one of the most fulfilling parts of my everyday life and I am so happy to have found Nala. I'd love to hear your adoption stories in comments below and if there are any other organizations you recommend that I can add to the list.

Sending love,



1 comment

Such a sweet story with a happy ending for Nala! Hope her siblings found a good home also. I have two pups and one is a rescue so I too am a big believer in adoption. One of mine is a pug and I follow The Pug Queen on Instagram and she is a pug rescuer and does amazing work. God bless all the little animals of the world who need a good and loving home.

Ann Singleton

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.

    1 out of ...
    How I Do Dat with Caroline Diani: Creating A Cozy Bedroom

    How I Do Dat with Caroline Diani: Creating A Cozy Bedroom

    I often get asked how I do certain things, from styling outfits to designing interior spaces, so in response, I've started a new series that I'm calling, "How I Do Dat" as a way to answer your ques...

    Read more
    How I Do Dat: Creating A Monochromatic Tablescape

    How I Do Dat: Creating A Monochromatic Tablescape

    What better way to celebrate the season than with an outdoor gathering. At our farmhouse in Upstate New York, I don't like to fuss with much when it comes to dining al fresco, instead I'd rather ke...

    Read more