December 26, 1999
For more than six years, Bonnie and I helped a single mother raise her two daughters, Sabrina from age 7 on, and Ana from birth on. Starting when Ana was only 4 months old, our goddaughters stayed overnight at our place every Friday night, and whenever they were sick or their mom needed a break.
In the Summer of 1993, after more than 18 years of living in apartments, Bonnie and I finally bought a 4-bedroom house out in the country. One of the best parts of having our own house was that we could finally have pets, which hadn't been allowed in any of the previous places that we had lived. I had always wanted a little dog, and Bonnie had always wanted a long-haired calico cat, like the one that she had had when she was growing up in Ohio.
I also thought that it would be really good for 4 year-old Ana and 11 year-old Sabrina to have pets that they could learn to take care of and love.
So, for a few weeks, I scanned the classified ads, looking for a suitable puppy and kitten. On the weekends, I'd take the girls to local animal shelters, where we'd look at and hold lots of different puppies and kittens.
One Saturday morning that Fall, I saw an ad for Rat Terrier puppies for sale for $60 each, on a farm about 30 miles south of our home, so I packed up the girls to go and take a look.
We were greeted in the driveway by the mother and father dogs, two little white dogs, each about a foot-and-a-half long, with brown and black areas that made them look sort of like "Nipper," the dog in the RCA commercials and ads. The farmer greeted us, and took us to his barn, telling us that only 2 of the 6 puppies were left - the runt of the litter and one other.
The puppies were in a cardboard box. There was a large black male, about a foot long, and a small white female, about 7 inches long. The girls and I were immediately interested in the little white runt, who had a large brown spot on her back and a cute, brown and white face.
We took turns holding the little white puppy, but by the time we picked her up, I already knew that we were going to buy her. The girls immediately fell in love with her, and she quietly licked their faces. Sabrina bubbled, "Oh, she's SO CUTE!"
I told the farmer, "It looks like we're going to be buying a puppy from you," and both girls cheered and laughed.
In the car on the way home, both girls sat in the back seat, with the tiny trembling puppy in a small cardboard box that they passed back and forth between them. We stopped at a McDonald's to get a couple of hamburgers, and the girl in the drive-through window actually gave us a dog biscuit for our little puppy, who was too little to know what to do with it.
The whole time, the three of us all thought of names for the puppy and called them out to each other. We must have come up with 40 or 50 different names, including "Spot," "Snowball," and "Brownie."
At one point, Ana said, "I know what her name should be. She should be Mini." After that, even though Sabrina and I kept thinking of more names, Ana didn't make any other suggestions.
When we got home, Bonnie was both surprised and delighted by our new puppy. We told her some of the names we had thought of, and Bonnie said that she'd want to think about it for awhile, too.
I think it was the next day that Bonnie and I decided to call the puppy, "Mini," which had been the name that Ana had decided upon.
I called the girls to tell them the news. Ana answered the phone. I told her that Bonnie and I had decided upon a name for the new puppy.
"What is it?" Ana asked.
"We decided to call her Mini!"
In a calm, matter-of-fact tone, Ana replied,
"Yup - that's right."
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