If you’ve read my blog before, you know that my family and I are dog lovers. We have a motley assortment of breeds, two of my daughters have teacup Chihuahuas (that’s the smallest size), we’ve had a flock of miniature Dachshunds over the years (really wonderful dogs!!! But they are barky, and I have a hard time with dogs that bark a lot. I like sleepy breeds, so they don’t drive me crazy while I write). One of my sons has always had Boston Bulldog Terriers, who have always been the sweetest natured dogs in our family, two of my other sons have had Jack Russells, one has a Black Lab (the only big dog in the group), another daughter has a Yorkshire Terrier (that looks like a little Teddy Bear), and my oldest daughter and I have miniature Brussels Griffons (who look like Ewoks). Brussels Griffs really work for me because they are a peaceful, sleepy breed, and they’re happy to snore loudly in my office while I work. I had a Maltese once that didn’t work out for me because she was turbo charged and jet propelled and l0 hours later on any given day, she was still happily chewing through the wires of my phone or destroying the room. We had terrible luck with a French Bulldog who killed one of our other dogs, which was awful. And we had an English Bulldog for a short time once, who was too aggressive with our older dogs and didn’t work out either. I’m now into my second generation of Brussells Griffons, so I really do love them. I grew up with Pugs, whom I love too (but aren’t as easy as the Brussels Griffs, and are generally bigger than the Griffs). So that gives you an idea of just how doggy we are!!! Very!!
And as you know, I also go back and forth between San Francisco, New York, and Paris. My dogs live in San Francisco, and unfortunately all of my Brussells Griffons are just over the weight limit for international flights, so if I took them with me, they’d have to travel in cargo, and not in the cabin, and I just won’t do that to them. And for the past several months, I have really been missing having a dog with me in Paris. I started sneaking into pet shops, and looking longingly at the puppies there. I’ve been looking at the really tiny breeds that could travel with me easily in a travel bag, like Yorkies, and Chihuahuas and just haven’t seen any I liked. I looked at some Dachshunds, but they looked like they might get too big too. And I also discovered that the popular dogs now are ‘combination’ what they call ‘Designer Dogs’, which used to be called ‘Mutts’, and have suddenly become ‘chic’. Cockapoos, Lahsapoos, Puggles, and a whole bunch of ridiculous sounding names (and sometimes looks, although most are really cute) combining Pugs with Beagles, Cocker Spaniels and Poodles, Lahsas and Poodles, ‘Morkies” which are Maltese and Yorkies. Some of them are really cute, but they’re a bit of a mystery, since you don’t know which breed will win out, and how big they will get. And Air France is strict about their 12 pound weight limit for dogs in the cabin. I even looked at a really unusual breed that I recently wrote about in a book: a Hairless Chinese Crested, which have to be one of the funniest looking dogs I’ve ever seen. Their body is completely hairless, and dappled with spots that look like polka, and on their head and tail they have a pouf of blonde hair that looks like a wig, and they look a bit like a slightly larger Chihuahua. They are really funny looking and very rare dogs. I also looked at some smaller Japanese breeds, but they looked like they might get too big too. So I’ve been secretly wanting a dog to travel with me, but I didn’t want to just get a ‘dog’, I wanted to fall in love with a dog, and was convinced I’d know “The One” when I saw it. Kind of like romance. So my pet shop and breeder visits have been fruitless until now, and I figured it was kind of a silly idea anyway, since I have dogs in San Francisco, but I’m in Paris much or even most of the time now, and am really missing having a dog.
On my last trip to New York, I visited (again) a place where I have gotten many dogs over the years, for my kids, and for myself. Two of my most beloved Griffs are from there, as well as many of my kids’ dogs. So I took a peek, and have dropped by there every month since this summer. And once again, nothing. Some cute Yorkies. A ‘Morkie”, a couple of very barky toy poodles, some really adorable Dachshunds who looked like they’d get too big, Pugs (which would get to be 20 pounds), a couple of beautiful King Charles Spaniels (also too big). And no one grabbed my heart. I was about to leave the pet store last week, when one of the salesmen took me aside and asked me to wait a minute. I know that they frequently keep special or very young dogs in the back. The salesman disappeared and returned a few minutes later, with what looked like a white mouse, with a tiny face, big brown eyes, and giant ‘Yoda” (from Star Wars) ears, and plopped her in my hands. I have very small hands (since I’m a small woman), and she filled the palm of my hands. She was/is a pure white long haired tea cup Chihuahua. I never saw myself as a Chihuahua person, but Bingo!!! I fell in love!!! She was the sweetest tiniest thing I have ever seen. Tiny, tiny, tiny. She is ten weeks old, and weighs 1.1 pounds, and is likely to weigh 3 pounds full grown. (No problem in the cabin on Air France!!). And I have never seen anything so cute!!! She has tiny little pink paws that she wrapped around my neck and snuggled. How could I resist??? I couldn’t. She was too young and too small to take home with me, so I left her there, bought her on the spot, and she will come home in 2 weeks. It turns out that she won’t be able to go back to France with me this time, as she needs more shots, a special chip, and the French are very strict. (And I will confess that I am having nightmares, worrying that she is so tiny that she’ll get hurt. I imagine she’ll spend a lot of time in my lap.) So I’ve been on a frenzy of buying pink blankets, a tiny pink collar and pink leash, and a cozy little pink bed for when she comes home.
We had fun naming her. I immediately thought of Angel, as she looked a bit like one, Snow White or Blanche Neige in French…..and we decided on Minnie Mouse, because she’s so tiny and it suits her, and she looks like a mouse. Despite her tiny size, from my experience with my two daughters’ Chihuahuas, they seem to be a pretty hardy breed. They’re peppy and spunky as adults, good natured and sweet. And she certainly fits my requirement for a small dog to travel with. So here we are, with a new puppy…..Minnie Mouse!!!….and you really can’t expect a woman with 9 children to be sensible about dogs. So I had to tell you about Minnie Mouse. She is tooooooo cute for words!!!