Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alexa Ashenhurst & Bella and Minnie

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Alexa Ashenhurst. I am an Event Planner working in Higher Education. Bella, a Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie) is a 10-year-old Diva. Minnie, a Pomeranian, is a 6-year-old puppy mill rescue and total sweetheart.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We have recently been given a reprieve from our usually scorching Midwest summer weather, so we took the opportunity to enjoy some time in the back yard.

What's brewing?

I’m a simple Midwestern girl, so I enjoy drinking plain old black coffee.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

My girls are spoiled and are almost always guaranteed at least a little of whatever breakfast I am eating. Today we are enjoying some Toast with just a little butter.

How were you and your dogs united?

My family always had Old English Sheepdogs when I was growing up, I have never met one that I didn’t love and while I enjoyed our very large family dogs (so much so I am hoping to add one to my fur family in the not too distant future), I wanted something a little smaller, which lead me to do some research into small breed dogs. I found Bella [photo left] right as the Morkie craze was hitting and I knew I just had to have her. She’s been an amazing companion following me from high school, to college and now into full blown adulthood!

Minnie was found at a no kill shelter about 45 minutes from where I lived, by my boss at the time. My boss showed me her picture, because she was interested in adopting her. As soon as I saw her, I knew I had to have her. My boss graciously allowed me to fill out an application and in a matter of days I was on my way to pick her up. She was a puppy mill rescue and had a broken leg, which eventually had to be amputated (yep, that’s right, Minnie only has three legs!). She had to have 7 teeth removed, had open sores on all of her paws from the wire cage, which she was never let out of, embedding into her paw pads and causing infections. By the time I got her at the tender age of 4(ish) she had already had multiple litters of puppies. I was familiar with the horror of puppy mills before I found Minnie, but after seeing what had been done to such an extraordinary dog, I have an even more fiery hatred for them and pet stores that sell animals from mills (which is almost 99% of them). The shelter told me she would be timid and terrified but as soon as we got home, I quickly found out she is quite the opposite. She is fearless, adventurous and so loving!

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

There really was no special formula when naming either dog. It was simply looking at them and thinking, they just strike me as a….

Bella’s name is sometimes shortened to Bell and every now and again I refer to her as Boo. Minnie generally stays Minnie, but when I’m feeling lazy I might call her Min. When I am talking about them collectively or posting pictures to Instagram (which is an almost daily occurrence), I use the hashtag MinnieBells.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Anything that makes any sound, they are unfortunately very vocal dogs. Barking is a constant at my house.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Sock Monkeys; they have about 5 and take them everywhere they go. If you tell Bella to go get her Monkey, she knows exactly what to do.

Do your dogs have a special pet-pal?

While they are certainly each other’s best friend, they also enjoy spending time with Sophie, a Bichon Frises mix, and her sister Lola, a Shih-Tzu.

What is each dog's best quality?

Bella is so in-tune with my emotions, she knows exactly when I need an extra snuggle or kiss. Minnie is just such a lover. She is still discovering all the advantages of life outside of a wire cage, so watching her explore, learn to play and create trust with humans is so amazing to witness.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

They would probably ask me to stop taking so many pictures of them. It probably gets annoying when I am constantly calling their names to get their attention for a photo-op. Unfortunately for them, I will never stop taking almost constant pictures of my girls!

[photo left: Minnie]

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I would ask them if they were happy and thought they had a good life with me!

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should voice them?

Chelsea Peretti would voice Bella for sure and Jenny Slate would make a great Minnie.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

They would probably tell me to worry less and try to live in the moment more.

--Marshal Zeringue

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