I love working from home every Thursday. It gives me a chance to do my job and also spend quality time with my dog, Frannie. I think she likes it too as she cuddles next to me all day long. Spending time with Fran got me thinking of one of my favorite memories and then I realized I haven’t introduced her to my blogging world. So, here you go!

Francis Bernice LaBarbera is my 5-year-old Shih-poo and I call her Frannie for short. No lie, this dog is probably my best friend, next to Sarah Eymard. She came along to Dallas in my move three and a half years ago and is still as sweet as ever.

In late 2007, I decided it was time for me to move out of my mom’s and into my own apartment. I moved in September and by Novmber I was in the swing of this living-on-my-own-actually-with-a-roommate thing. Around Thanksgiving I entertained the thought of getting my own puppy. I had a Shih-tzu named Sasha growing up and she was as sweet as could be so I knew I wanted to stick with a small dog. I researched the new “designer mixed breeds” and was drawn (don’t judge me). There was so many… Malti-poos, Pekapoms, Cockapoos, Yorkie-poos, Bich-poos, Puggles, Schnoodles, Spaghettinoodles, Snickerdoodles (okay, kidding on the last two)… I had so many types of puppies to consider. I was convinced I wanted a Yorkie-poo after lots of reading and looking at cute puppy pics. I did my homework and found a breeder (hopefully not a miller of pups) in Moscow Mills, about 20 minutes Northwest of my mom’s house in the boonies. My brother, Jimmy agreed to drive out there with me so I didn’t end up in a Buffalo Bill, “Silence of the Lambs” scenario. So, on a Saturday morning in late November, my brother and I set out to BFE to find the puppy of my dreams.

We arrived at the breeder’s property and saw his large ranch estate, with an additional smaller house on the side. He came out to greet us and we walked to the smaller of the two houses. Once inside, it was puppy-Heaven. So much cuteness squeezed into one small building, I could hardly stand it. I walked up to the window which separated me from crates of teeny, sweet, squeaking puppies, begging me to take one of them home. Jimmy and I stood there for a few minutes, taking in a large dose of sweetness and then we noticed the breeder had a little dog out on his counter he was taking care of. It was a tiny black ball of fluff, with a little white spot on its chest. I asked what type it was and the sex and he said it was a Shih-poo (Shih-tzu/Poodle mix) and a female… The last female of the litter actually. It was love at first sight… I asked if she was available and for sale and he said she would be ready to go to a new home in a week. The breeder put her in a little playpen with toys so my brother and I could observe her. She played with the toys and eventually let out the smallest squeak, which was technically a bark. I was finished. She was the one. My brother was in love, too and said, “That’s the one. You have to get her.” Done… Deposit paid and I was scheduled to come back the following Saturday to bring her home with me.

Overly-excited and on a puppy high, I realized I had a week to come up with the perfect name for my new dog. Lots of ideas were thrown around…Winnie, Minnie, Bobbie, Daisy, Penny… None of them would do. Then for some reason I thought of my dearly departed grandmas, Fran and Bee (aka Frick n Frack). I talked to my mom about it and she thought they would have just loved it to know they were the namesakes of my new “child.” So, that is how Francis Bernice, or Frannie Bee came to be.

The day came to pick her up and the breeder had given my girl a bath so she’d arrive to her new life in style. Earlier in the week, I purchased a dog-carrier… It was very stylish with pink and white polka dots inside… I was THAT girl. Frannie was so tiny, only being one pound, she easily fit into her glamorous carrier. So, that was it! The rest is history. We rode off into the sunset and have been two peas in a pod ever since. No matter what I’ve gone through in the past six and a half years, Frannie has always been by my side. She loves me unconditionally and I can’t think of anything else that compares. I also love sharing the memory of choosing her, because it was a happy memory I share with my brother. Frannie was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”

– John Grogan, “Marley & Me”





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