"I started my blog when my ex left me," Fortin Vaillancourt says of her personal blog. "I felt I needed somewhere/someone to talk to. Just to share my daily routine, my little thoughts, etc. I was quite lonely so it helped me link with people."
It's not surprising. She has a personality that's very infectious and makes new friends easily. Though a run-down of "what I did today" would seem boring anywhere else, she has a way of getting excited about even the most mundane tasks that you can't help but admire.
That, and her blog has adorable puppy pictures.
This April, Fortin Vaillancourt became the proud temporary caretaker of a future guide dog form Mira, the Quebec-based foundation which provides services to the disabled. Because dogs need a lot of training before they can be put into service, and that specialized training can't begin until the dogs are grown up, Mira loans puppies out to volunteer foster families to teach them the basics. Volunteers care for the dogs from two months after birth until their first birthday. It's a win-win for both sides: Mira gets training help, and the foster families get to enjoy the presence of a dog in the most adorable phase of its life.
Happy, born Feb. 19, is half black Labrador, half Bernese mountain dog (Mira's preferred genetic makeup), and quite possibly the cutest thing on four legs. Like her owner, Happy makes a lot of friends easily (because she's a guide dog in training, she gets access to places other dogs can't go), and Fortin Vaillancourt's liberal use of photography allows people to fall in love with Happy online.
You wouldn't guess it from reading the blog, which is entirely in English, but Fortin Vaillancourt is a francophone. Originally from Blanc-Sablon, Quebec's eastern-most town with a population of about 1,200 people, she studied at Concordia University and in her four years in Montreal has become more comfortable using her second language. She can now blog in it without it feeling like a chore.
Laurent Maisonnave, a friend and fellow blogger, jokingly described her blog as a "nice summary of this country: a francophone who blogs in English."
Sample post: "Happy really makes people talk to me! For example a few nights ago, coming back from the soccer game, an old lady talked from Henri-Bourassa to Berri. She chatted about her pets, how she lived now, her apartment, etc. ... I’m guessing these older people don’t really have many people to talk with. And with Happy it makes it easy to just start a conversation. I’m glad I can help them feel less isolated."
Tell me about yourself
My name is Christelle (like my blog, not very original eh!), I'm 24. I am originally from a little village called Blanc-Sablon but have been living
in Montreal for about 4 years now.
What's your day job?
I'm a student! I did my undergraduate degree at Concordia and now I'm doing my masters at Université de Montréal in International Studies.
Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog when my ex left me. I felt I needed somewhere/someone to talk to. Just to share my daily routine, my little thoughts, etc. I was quite lonely so it helped me link with people. My first post was back on April 10th 2005, and it was pictures of my trip to Australia, saying how I
missed the city of Sydney a lot!
What do you write about?
I write about me! What I do, what I think, how I feel, pictures I take, etc. It's a personal blog. What makes my blog unique is because it's filled with my own personality! We're all so different! Some readers know me very well because they've been reading for years. It's strange. Also unique is that I like to change my header image often, it makes my blog special! Also, some people write, rework, and then post. I write. And post. I don't over think it. So it's really me on the blog.
Do you have a favourite post or series? One that got a lot of attention?
Sometimes I write about concerts I've gone to, and obviously they get a lot of hits. But mostly it's quite equal the amount of attention on the posts! I love getting comments on what I write!
What do you not write about?
I don't really write about political stuff. I've tried a few times. But I found it boring! I want my blog to be fun/entertaining, a sort of time capsule. I want to be able to go back to let's say May 5th 2005 and see exactly what happened/how I felt.
How has your blog changed since you started it?
My blog might haven gotten a bit more personal as time went by. I got more comfortable sharing my true feelings. I don't spill it all out but I hint at things, like when I'm sad/down.
Anything else we should know to understand your blog?
My main language is French. So sometimes my English isn't perfect. I like putting pictures with my posts, the visuals are as important as the text I think! And I blog for fun, there's no point in blogging if it's a task. So it's things I like, enjoy, and want to write about.