Instead of watching the first presidential debate I hung out with a f*****g puppy

Briana L. Urena-Ravelo
6 min readSep 27, 2016
Waking this dog the fuck up #BLM #LiberationNow

I had been looking forward to it all day.

You don’t even have to call it self-care. Hell, you can call it pure selfish naive escapism if you want. It was more like “Oops, I wasn’t thinking about it but honestly I’m not really sorry I missed the stupid ass debate because fuck that”, but still, whatever. But yesterday, I got to forget the sham of a “democracy” that is our white supremacist capitalist state and the two horrible people gunning for oval office for a few hours and spend time with friend’s dog Roza Shanina, named after the famous badass Russian teenage Soviet Sniper who toured during the Second World War.

My friend, who newly moved in with his partner in Ohio, was headed back into town to pack up the remainder of his stuff from his old place and needed someone to watch his husky puppy for a while. The initial plan had been to chill for a bit, but he had a lot on his plate so it just became a “Can you watch over this adorable energy-filled ball of cute while I stuff shit in my car at 9 o’clock at night and then fucking travel off to my next destination at night?”. Who the fuck am I to say no to that?

I had agreed to join my coworkers at the telecasting of the presidential debate happening at the local historic theatre my workplace operates, but when the day came I found it had escaped my mind. I probably repressed it so I could keep the little sanity I have.

I’ve been distracted (well, more so than I typically am) a lot lately, the stress and pressure manifesting as another weeping seasonal eczema flare up (don’t you dare make that face, I refuse to suffer the grossness of it alone, damn it). I’ve been feeling detached and overwhelmed, pulled tumultuously between feeling like I’m either not doing enough or that I’m doing too much, or, probably more honestly, I’m doing both but all wrong. On top of that, though this time of year is my favorite. it’s always rough for me transitionally, both because lots of shitty things have happened in my life during this time of year and because despite having grown up in upstate New York and West Michigan, me and the cold do not get along, and being cooped up when I love to wander and walk messes with my head. Sadistically, childishly, maybe this drama is part of why I love it so much. Inner turmoil makes me brood and reflect, and make changes in my life. Or just set something the fuck on fire. Either way I find release.

Adding to the stress before I get a chance to find some peace, however, is not a good idea, unless you really like arson, and watching a presidential debate could only be just that, stressful and fire-inducing as fuck. Aside from some obvious things even I’m too dignified to do more than merely insinuate (though I’ll name drop arson like it’s no biggie) playing and looking after animals is one of my favorite past-times and I find it very relaxing. So I was looking forward to a puppy playdate.

I spent yesterday afternoon glued to my phone waiting for the updates from my friend on how far he was from the city with Roza, even getting a heart-melting picture of her asleep on his lap in the car. After work, feeling antsy, I walked around, landing at my favorite field and listened to True Widow’s latest album, AVVOLGERE. Then I popped over to the Goodwill with the goal of finding gloves as my fingers were already freezing even though the temperature was just in the mid sixties. With a little more than I had set out to find in hand (I just can’t resist a good velvet mini dress, like, ever), I left the store and made my way back home and watched Gilmore Girls. Finally, my friend made his way to my place and I got to meet the pup.

She was slimmer and smaller than I had thought, but just as pretty, blue-eyed and full of energy as I’d imagined, especially after having been cooped up in a car for most of the day. After chatting for a bit about our day and being officially dubbed the pup’s Fairy Witch Auntie, her dad headed off to his old place to pack and left me with Roza on a leash with a bag of her treats.

Roza Shanina, dimelo pronto!

It had started to rain, so I took her to the side porch and sat, seeing if perhaps it would let up enough for us to walk. But within minutes the puppy got restless and started to whimper, wondering where her parents were and feeling nervous about the stranger clad in black who was minding her. Even though I’m not technically allowed to have dogs in the building and my cat doesn’t like even the sight of other animals outside let alone in her holy space, I led the questioning and worried puppy up to my apartment.

I had closed the divider in my stupid tiny place between my room and the kitchen so that my cat wouldn’t freak the fuck out on the puppy and scar her for life (as that is of course the job of the parents to do). She sniffed nervously, letting out some soft muffled barks. The moment she saw a bowl of catfood and a cup of water, she leaped face first into it. After prying her from the food, her nervousness and whimpering just got louder so back outside we went. Once back outside, we ran into my landlord who immediately started to gush over her and didn’t seem to mind that she was there. The rain had let up, so I decided walking around so she could spend all that extra energy would probably be best.

After almost an hour wandering around my block, being pulled this way and that because secretly I’m a pushover and I was afraid of hurting her, and a playful, jumping shuffle she did before she crashed into a tree and took a dump, Roza finally relaxed and started to walk like she was this well-behaved dog the whole time and not a tiny rambunctious puppy, which is a damn lie and I have video footage to prove it. We took selfies together and she even layed down between my thighs during one of them, and my non-existent heart melted. We made our way back to sit and wait at the front of my house and just as she layed her head down on my boot, my friend had returned and was making his way across the lawn. We chatted for a bit and took another picture of me posing with the pup in front of my building.

After bidding Roza and her father farewell and safe voyage, I went upstairs, took a much needed shower and went straight to bed. I glimpsed at my Facebook feed, seeing snippets of a world that for once I did not feel so heavily weighed down by it because I had spent the last few hours fucking ignoring it for once. There was no need to add stark or clever commentary, or make a joke, or talk about how so-and-so perpetuates whats-it-called, and that’s fine. I’m already wide the hell awake. I deserve a break once in a while.

I’m glad I got to chill with a blue-eyed white husky and play her Juan Luis Guerra instead of tear my hair out over Trump, Clinton, and a country that let it come down to this, because when all else fails, merengue, bachata and small animals always got my back.



Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email: