little things, and talking to strangers

After trading in my gas- guzzling 7-passenger SUV for a much smaller and more fuel efficient Fiat, and after adopting what I think is the world's most adorable Chihuahua puppy we named Nala, I realized I seem to be trending towards small, compact, efficient, cute, and fun.

While the car purchase was certainly a conscious decision to downsize and economize, the puppy just kind of happened. After our beloved Beagle, Hunter, passed away just before Christmas last year, my family was discussing the breed of our ideal next dog.

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Hunter was such a sweet boy, but he hated other dogs, had terrible separation anxiety, was pretty lazy, and not the sharpest tool in the shed. Don't get me wrong; he was the love of our lives despite what could be seen as "shortcomings", perfect in his unique, Hunter way, and we miss him terribly.

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But if we could dream up an "ideal" next dog, what would he or she look like? We planned on going to the local shelter, and hoped we would come across a "real" dog: ideally a Lab or Golden mix -- something trainable, friendly, energetic and smart.

I met Nala's mother Stephanie in a CVS as I was waiting in line, and just happened to look down and see her scrolling through pictures on her phone of 4 one-week old Chihuahua puppies. Of course I had to ask her about them, and the next thing I knew I was in her house seeing them first hand.

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Ok, forget the "real" dog idea; we needed to have one of these adorable fluff balls.

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To be perfectly honest, I didn't think I would ever be able to love a dog as much as our quirky, unique and loyal Hunter, and really wasn't sure I would ever be able to open my heart up to another canine companion. But here we are, 9 months later, and this furry little pint-sized girl has crawled right into a heart that thought it was closed for business (as far as dogs go). Nala has been an absolute delight and has brought so much joy to our family, and I couldn't be more grateful for the serendipity in meeting her mother that day in CVS.

Sometimes little things are practical choices we make to downsize or economize, sometimes they are memories of the wonderful bond we once shared with an old, "hurtful" and somewhat broken-down rescue Beagle from Florida, and sometimes they come in the form of an accidental encounter with the owner of a perfect little puppy.

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What little things make your life a little brighter?

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