Brownie: A True Success Story

Hey there everybody!

I am Brownie, formerly known as Brownie Sunday (yes they didn’t use the right ‘sundae’), and I used to live at Best Friends Animal Society-Los Angeles. I am now a proud member of the Peralta family (a.k.a. Marissa is my momma).

This post is a bit different from the rest, as I am not available for adoption anymore. I’m writing this today because I want everyone to see just how amazing adoption can be, especially for a dog like me.


I met Marissa when she first started working at my shelter last March. When you start working there, you have to pick a dog you’d like to train to pass through C.L.A.S.S., and she chose me. A lot of people asked her, “Why Brownie Sunday?”, and I can’t say that I didn’t wonder the same thing. I mean, I was 8 years old, and I’m not exactly a purebred.

When you live at Best Friends they keep track of your behaviors to ensure only properly trained staff/volunteers handle you. I was something called a “Brown Star” dog. In their classification system, that pretty much meant that I had quite a few quirks. I did not like my belly rubbed, was hard to leash, touch sensitive, people selective, and barrier reactive.

Quite the catch right?

So again, what did Marissa see in me?


She saw that I was more than my flaws.

After passing me in C.L.A.S.S., rather quickly I might add, I started to open up a lot. She always made it a point to stop by my kennel, say hello, practice my commands, and give me some fresh blankets! Over time, we became inseparable.

Shortly after she passed me in C.L.A.S.S., she brought me home for a sleepover through the weekend. I got to meet her dad, and little did I know, we would eventually become family.

The weekend was perfect, I only had one tinkle accident, but it was time to go back to Best Friends!


A couple months went by, and then it came to be the weekend of July 4th. It’s worth noting that I am an incredibly anxious dog. Loud noises like thunder and fireworks completely scare the fur off of me! So anyways, I went to stay with Marissa’s dad for that weekend to give me a break from shelter life, and hopefully make the weekend a little more manageable. Marissa had to close that night at work, so she was taking care of the other pups while her dad looked after me. As the night of July 4th began, and fireworks ensued, I quickly became more anxious and unsettled. At about 9pm, I bit Marissa’s dad. He was a bit frightened of me after that, as it seemed unprovoked. He had never owned a dog before so he had no idea what to do. That night he drove me back to Best Friends where Marissa was, and she set me up with a kennel inside. I noticed Marissa and her dad couldn’t even communicate with each other that night because they were so upset this had to happen.


The next day, things were a bit awkward. Marissa got pretty emotional that day and the whole week after. She still made it a point to stop in and sit with me. I’m a great cuddler, can’t blame her for that. For the next month, Marissa put in the time to do some more training with me, and hopefully did what she could to make me more social.

It came to be the beginning of August and she had to leave Best Friends to go back to school. I was so depressed. I wondered where she was every day, and wasn’t really eating my food anymore. My other volunteer and staff friends at home did what they could to cheer me up, but nothing really worked.

After not being around for two weeks, Marissa came back to volunteer so she could see me. I WAS SO EXCITED. We spent some time together, and Marissa knew she had to speak to her dad. They had a long talk, and it pretty much came down to, could they accept me at my worst?


They decided, that yes, they could.

Soon after this decision, they strategized on what they could do with me during holidays like July 4th and New Year’s Eve. They recognized that there were numerous options. With this, they bought the needed gear for a dog, and went to Best Friends to officially take me home.


This was one of the happiest day of my life (and theirs I’m sure).

I have been in my furever home for 8 whole months now, and they still learn new things about me every single day. 

The first couple of months, I still bit my papa quite a few times. A lot of this was due to him poking my belly, even though he knew he shouldn’t! Since I have been in the home, papa and mom have dog-proofed the back yard, bought double-pane windows to eliminate noise, and even got me a fancy crate.

So here I am, a 9 year old retriever mix. I have a small mass on my eye, and one on my neck from previously being attacked by a dog (I’m still beautiful anyways). I’ve bitten my papa a lot. I’ve gotten out of the yard 3 times, and someone called the cops once. I’m anxious with loud noises, and sometimes I move shoes around the house.

Still, you’re going to ask me, why the heck did these people adopt me?


Some would call it love.

I am more than my flaws, and I have grown to really open myself up. I’m now so well trained I can hike in Griffith Park without a leash. I love meeting new people and some dogs. No matter what you need from me I will do, because I could not be more grateful for the Peralta’s giving me a chance at a furever home.


It’s dogs like me, that need people like you to take a chance on us.

I’m older. I have greys, and some would say I am a little funny looking.

With all of that, no one could love my family more than me, and everyone deserves to experience that feeling of unconditional love.

Next time you look for a pup, consider someone older, a mutt, a tripod, or maybe a dog with special needs. I guarantee you won’t find a bond and love as loyal and pure!

-Brownie Peralta


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