Reality Barks

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Here in our home, where Miniature Pinschers out number the humans, reality may not bite, but it barks –  a lot!  Raising three reactive Min Pins has brought much more noise into our lives than I could ever have imagined.

Barking is definitely one of the hardest challenges we have faced while raising this litter.  When you have multiple dogs, one barking dog can create a domino effect. A “woof” is all it takes to get the party started. Every dog is eager to chime in and let her bark be heard. And it is heard, indeed.

With an uncanny ability to hear a sound from far off in the distance, I believe my Min Pins can hear a leaf falling from a tree ten miles away.

Equal opportunity barkers, my girls will alert me to any suspicious activity happening in our neighborhood.  A plastic bag blowing down the street is cause for concern, as is a squirrel climbing a tree in our backyard. Of course, the loudest sirens are saved for people walking their dogs and the neighbor’s cat who teases the girls with her tantalizingly slow stroll past our front windows.

My Min Pins are always on high alert while standing at their “window on the world”.

With sunset, usually comes peace.  The few hours before bedtime is the calmest and quietest time of day in our house. The girls usually burrow under blankets, even in the summer, and snooze until we announce that it is “bedtime” and herd the crew upstairs to their crates.

Once the girls are tucked away for the night, I am eager to crawl into bed and enjoy the sounds of silence.  If only Bob didn’t snore…

For Keeps

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Did you ever want something and get more than you hoped for?  Well, that is exactly what happened to me.  All I wanted was advice on dealing with mouthy puppies, but I got so much more.  In one short afternoon, my life went from trying to find a solution for a minor puppy issue to thinking that we may have to separate our litter.

What were we going to do? What was best for our puppies? After going back and forth, Bob and I still did not have answers to these questions.  It was kind of strange to think that we would even consider taking advice from people we have never even met.  But how could so many people be wrong?

Having had the litter for a couple of weeks now, the realities of life with three puppies was beginning to set in. “Your new puppy will sleep about eighteen hours a day”, stated one of the puppy training books I had recently read.  Well, the author of that book obviously had not based her information on a litter of Miniature Pinschers.  Sleep deprivation was yet another issue we were dealing with since the pups seemed to be awake more often than not.

Bob and I talked for hours on end and made a pro/con list in an attempt to reach a decision. The deck was clearly stacked against us if we based our decision on our pro/con list.  Basically, our “pros” for keeping the pups together included the fact that they were related to our first dog, Twinkie.  Also, we did not want to separate the litter. Our “cons” list was longer: three dogs are more expensive than two, traveling with multiple dogs is difficult,  taking care of three dogs during their geriatric stage could be challenging, and if the information we received was accurate, the puppies could grow up to be aggressive towards one another.  The problem with pro/con lists, in my opinion,  is that I am never able to weigh my decision according to quantity.  One “pro” alone can be far more significant than all of the “cons” together which makes the list useless.

After much discussion, Bob and I made the heartbreaking decision to rehome Malibu. Hoping that we could place her with a family we knew, we began making phone calls.  I  wrote a letter that would be posted at the school where I taught.  How perfect it would  be if a colleague adopted Malibu.  This would allow us to remain in Malibu’s life and always know how she is doing.  Bob also had a co-worker who was considering the possibility of taking Malibu and we were waiting to hear back from him.

Once we had made our “final” decision, Bob and I continued asking each other if we were making the right choice.  We did not seem to be 100% committed to the idea of giving away one of the  pups.  It was time for the puppies to visit their veterinarian again, so we figured that it was a perfect opportunity to get another opinion. In fact, Bob and I decided to let the vet make the decision for us.  We were too emotionally involved and needed the assistance of an impartial individual with experience in such matters.  Basically, we planned to ask the doctor if he believed that our puppies would grow up to become aggressive dogs with the potential to seriously injure or kill one another. His answer to this question would determine whether Malibu would be rehomed, or remain with Aspen and Quest.

Feeling hopeful on the drive to the vet’s office, but also prepared to do what was best for the puppies, Bob and I were anxious to hear the verdict. “Pure silliness”,  is what the vet said when we relayed the negative information we had received about raising litters together.  He discounted the theories regarding the likelihood of serious dog aggression and totally put our minds at ease. Bob and I felt like a weight had been lifted and were ecstatic to learn that our litter would remain together. Whatever the future held, we would deal with it together.

pups at high point

Meet the Crew


King of the Toys with fearless animation and spirited presence is how the American Kennel Club describes the Miniature Pinscher.  The Miniature Pinscher Club of America calls this breed “dynamite in a small package”.  If that is the case, my house could explode at any moment!  Life with Min Pins is both entertaining and exhausting. Min Pins will keep you on your toes and have you laughing at their crazy antics.  While my Min Pins share common breed traits, each of them has their own unique personality.


Aspen is my stag red Miniature Pinscher and the most hyperactive of the three.  She is also the loudest, barking at her sisters, the neighbor’s dogs, birds, squirrels, and anything else that grabs her attention.  Aspen is my bravest Min Pin, truly fearless, attempting courageous acts that have her sisters standing on the sidelines watching with wonder.  Extremely affectionate, Aspen loves to snuggle.  She tends to be a loner and independent, marching to her own beat.  Aspen makes me laugh and I cherish my time with her.


Highly suspicious of strangers and slow to warm up to people, Malibu is my cautious canine.  She is clever and gets into the most mischief.  One of Malibu’s favorite activities is digging up rocks in the backyard.  These “treasures” are then brought into the house by Malibu via the doggie door. Malibu is also our resident shredder.  Please don’t have the misfortune of dropping a scrap of paper or any small item on the floor.  Malibu will grab it and run in the other direction before you can even blink!  Malibu is my buddy and we share a very special bond.


Quest is my tiniest Min Pin, weighing just 6 lbs., but don’t let her diminutive stature fool you.  A wolf in sheep’s clothing, Quest does not let her larger sisters push her around and will challenge dogs ten times her size.  Quest loves playing with toys that squeak.  After receiving a new squeaky toy Quest will drag it into her den (crate) and usually  “kills” it within minutes.  Quest’s chief goal in life is to please me as she continuously seeks reassurance and my approval.  I adore Quest and spending quiet moments with her fills my heart with complete joy.

My Min Pins may be small, but they are mighty!    With larger than life personalities, my girls have turned my world upside down, but I could not imagine life without them.

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