I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

Just Us Five

As I’m writing this, I am surrounded by an incredible amount of sweetness. I’m on the front porch, music is playing, the robins are singing my most favorite song, children are laughing and playing baseball in their yard, people are walking up and down the street, the neighbor’s bush is blooming in bold purple colors, the trees are awakening in green, my basil plant is swaying back and forth in the breeze and sun, and there are three brown and black yorkies lying on all sides of me.

Although the past months have been like something out of a not-so-great movie, we’ve personally had a bit of good happen to us. For years, Paul has been saying Rusty should have siblings. I’ve been arguing back that Rusty wouldn’t really want to share us with anyone, that he might feel neglected, that I couldn’t possibly share my love with another. But, it was hard to ignore the fact that if we weren’t actively playing with him or petting him, he was bored. He deserved more than us; he deserved a friend. (Don’t we all?)

So, about a month ago I was searching for yorkies for adoption. I knew we wanted a similar sized dog because he/she would fit our house and yard better, and he/she would be a better size for Rusty – big dogs have made him skittish in the past, especially when they get too close to his face. We also were hoping to find a girl. We’ve read that when introducing new dogs into a home it’s best with dogs from the opposite sex.

I believe in fate, luck, what have you. On the first website I clicked I found a 3 lb 5-year-old yorkie from an adoption center located incredibly close to our house. It said she was new and so there wasn’t much information about her. It sounded like she may have come from a commercial breeder. And then I continued scrolling and found another 3 lb 5-year-old yorkie with the same description and photos showing the first yorkie in the background; they were sisters! We submitted our application, trying our best to prove in writing how much we are devoted to our beloved Rusty and would be for our new pups, hoping they would consider us. (Dogs that are that adorable and little don’t tend to stay available for long.)

Do you think he knows he’s loved?

It wasn’t more than a day or two later that we heard from Nancy at Underdog Rescue letting us know they were still available and that she was hoping we would consider taking both – they had never been separated. No hesitation from us, of course we would take them both! How could we refuse? We set up a time for the foster mom, Deb, to come to our home and bring the girls, introduce them to Rusty and make sure we had a safe place for them.

The moment Deb pulled into our driveway and got out holding both girls, my heart melted and I knew there was no way we wouldn’t take them, unless Rusty acted out. Thankfully, Rusty adored them. To say that was a relief would be an understatement. As you probably have guessed, I’m extremely protective over Rusty and I put him first. He’s my everything, besides darling Paul. I knew if he wasn’t okay with it we wouldn’t be able to take the girls. He sneezed like he always does when he’s excited, he corralled them in the backyard as they explored (this was their very first time on grass without leashes!), he tried to get one of them to play, and he didn’t become protective of me when I held one of them in my arms (usually he does, unless it’s Harley – Rusty could care less about us when Harley is over…). Friends, we were thrilled. Deb thought we would be great parents for the girls thus moving us along in the adoption process. Our official adoption date was April 23rd. :) The girls still needed to have their surgeries, be seen by a vet, have their dental exams complete, and then they would finally come home to us.

The girls visiting the house for the first time.

The night before we were bringing them home, I was a bit emotional. Call me dramatic (and I’d agree with you), but I was so nervous thinking about how life might change for the worse. Life with just us three was good and had been for the last eight years. Yes, Rusty still should have a friend, but what if we were making it worse? I held Rusty all night, not sure if the two of us would ever be the same. (Have you called me dramatic yet? Yep, I agree.)

The day we brought them home was one I’ll never forget, just like the random evening we decided to go get a 3-month-old puppy all the way down in Albert Lea and brought back the “most mischievous” of the litter who liked to escape crates and lick car windows.

The night Rusty came home. :)

Nancy and Deb were there as well as another wonderful volunteer from Underdog Rescue. Deb was holding the girls, enjoying her last moments with them. My heart broke for her; I can’t imagine how hard giving up foster dogs must be. All you foster parents of humans and animals, you are just wonderful. Everyone was so kind to us and so excited for us. I wish we could have given everyone hugs, even with all of our masks on. But, we told them they’re always welcome to stop by the house and visit with the girls. (I couldn’t imagine completely losing contact with a beloved animal, could you?) We took photos of Deb with the girls, they took photos of us with the girls, and then we took Lucy and Ethel out the doors to their new home. :)

(Left) Rusty and I before leaving to pick up the girls. (Right) First photo of all three.

The first few days they shivered in our arms, cowered when we looked at them, and rarely made eye contact. They refused to move very much in the backyard, laying there like little adorable potatoes. They refused to climb stairs outside or the doggy stairs inside the house. They didn’t eat their dinner if we were in the same room as them. They stayed away from Rusty, didn’t touch a single toy, and had quite a few accidents in the house. Rusty wagged his tail whenever he saw them, sneezed a lot, but was giving them space, almost as if he saw them as newborns. The girls did however sleep with us since the first night. We decided to take apart our bed so they wouldn’t have to climb/fall off the bed. So, for now our mattress is on the floor and there’s only 8 inches from the top of the bed to the floor. No broken bones for us!

Ethel. Ethel Mae. Ethel Mae Murtz. Ethel Murtz. Never a shortage of names.
Rusty looks like a giant, all 12 lbs of him.
Lucy. Lucy Lu. Lucy Goosy. Goose. Lots of nicknames already.
Wherever Lucy is, Ethel is sure to follow.
My first love.

After just a week and two days of being home with us, they have made such progress. They don’t shiver in our arms. They look into our eyes almost all of the time. They lick our hands and arms. They run outside, following me as I walk through the yard. They lay in the sunshine and bark whenever Rusty barks. They play with Rusty! It is the cutest thing! They sleep cuddled in my arms when we go to bed. They roll over on their backs for us to pet them. They do still cower and shiver when we attempt to pick them up. They do still run away when we walk towards them, but as soon as we turn away they begin to run behind us. :) They haven’t been successful at taking walks yet, so when we do go for walks they are put inside a fanny-pack type of carrier on each of us and Rusty is on his leash. We left them alone for a little bit while we went to get groceries (they were secluded in the kitchen just in case) and when we got back they actually wagged their tails! Before that we had never seen Ethel wag her tail! So thrilling!

Learning to relax.
(Left) Lucy in the back, Ethel in front. (Right) This was a profound moment. Rusty let Ethel lay on him for almost 5 minutes. We were so happy!
Ethel exploring.
He’s so handsome.
I must confess, sometimes I can’t stop staring at them, they’re just so adorable. (Ethel on the left, Lucy on the right.)
Ethel Mae.
Ethel sleeping on tilled grass. While she was relaxing, Lucy and Rusty were chasing each other around. I wish I had my phone on me to record it.
Lucy Lu.
(Left) Their first bonfire. (Right) The girls sleep on my side of the bed, Rusty sleeps next to Paul.
Ethel and Rusty. I’m very thankful they also enjoy sleeping in. :)

We learned the girls were from a breeder, probably barely left their crates, and were neglected. They had so many teeth extracted (better than most rescue dogs, however) when they were seen by the vet, and when they arrived from their rescue they were dirty and matted down. It breaks my heart thinking how these girls spent their first five years of life. We are so thankful to have found them when we did; we already can’t imagine not having them around.

As I’m finishing this up, not one of them has moved. Lucy and Ethel are on my right cuddled in their bed, and Rusty’s pushed up against my leg sleeping and snoring. I’ve stopped feeling like we may have ruined Rusty’s life with this decision; he seems like he has more pep in his step, almost like he has a purpose, caring for these girls. He has a pack now, and watching him play and lick their faces is beyond what I could have hoped for. Life with just us five is pretty good. (As I wrote that I realized it’s like my family of five growing up! An older brother and two sisters. Ha!)

Okay, I’ve written enough. Forgive me if it was too sappy or long-winded, but they are pretty much what occupies my entire brain lately. :) Another special thanks to Nancy and Deb at Underdog Rescue – we are so grateful for you and the love you have given to our Lucy and Ethel. xoxoxo (If you’re interested in adopting/fostering, go check out their Facebook, Instagram, or website. They are doing the work of saints.)

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, friend! Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy! xoxo

I made this too soon. Do you think two more pups could fit in that basket?
  1. cottagelilacs says:

    Congratulations on your new additions! The last picture of Ethel by herself is adorable. She looks like she is smiling and so happy!

  2. Andy says:

    Wow!!!! They are adorable and couldn’t be a better fit for you guys. Gonna show this to Valerie and she’s gonna melt. Congratulations!!!

  3. Cassie Froemming says:

    Hi Nikki! Congrats on your new furry family members! Your puppies are all just too cute. I love the pic where they are sleeping on their backs!! Enjoy.

  4. Tristan says:

    Thank you for sharing as always! What a wonderful thing you guys did. :) xoxo

  5. Linnea says:

    The puppy post is here!! So heartwarming to see two beautiful girls find the perfect forever home. After so many years, they finally have a family they deserve and I’m so happy they’re warming up to you, Paul and Rusty! Not to mention it’s so relieving reading your success story with Rusty being so accepting of his sisters! You’re not alone, as Gatsby gets older, I always think about another pup to be his friend. It’s so hard not having them tell us if they’re lonely, bored or just simply content?! But I also worry Gatsby would hate having someone else take our attention (only child syndrome lol). But your story is so encouraging and hopeful! Especially when there’s so many pups out there that need so much love. Again the biggest congrats to you guys and LOVE Ethel and Lucy’s debut pics! All three of your babies are so sweet and photogenic :)

  6. Nana says:

    I am so happy for all of you. I can’t wait to meet them.Love you more.:)