Margot & Vivi

Kuochun decided that he would be ready for a new puppy in Spring 2018. For months, he searched online trying to find a female Miniature Schnauzer puppy in the region. Finally, one came up from a breeder in Orangeville IL, a town of 744 people about 40 miles northwest of Rockford near the Wisconsin border. We agreed to purchase the puppy sight unseen and only with this photo:

Our puppy is on the right with her brother on the left. The breeder wasn't sure whether she would turn out to be black and silver or salt and pepper. I asked the breeder "how is her personality?" and she said she doesn't let the other puppies push her around. That is a good personality trait to have in a puppy so we said we'll take her! We just had to wait until she reached three pounds before we could bring her home.

The happy day arrived and Kuochun and I set out to make the 110 mile drive to pick the puppy up. I asked my mother if she'd like to come along too. She had just moved into a new house a month before but jumped at the chance to take a drive out to the breeders' farm. We met our puppy and from the start she was very sweet. She played well out on the grass so it was a done deal. We were making our payment inside the house when the breeder gave us a big surprise. She brought out ANOTHER female puppy! This puppy was absolutely beautiful, jet black with a white patch on her chest and white on the tips of her front paws. My mother and I looked at each other and thought the same exact thing, "wrap her up, we'll take her!" The breeder said she was going to keep her to breed so she would be more expensive, $100 more. She had already given her a name, Dottie after Dots candy because she likes to name her dogs after candy. But how to come up with the cash in a small farm town? We drove looking around for an ATM and finally found one but were only able to withdraw $200. With 8 minutes left before closing, we found a bank who allowed us to cash a check for the remaining amount at the drive-thru. My mother explained the story to the teller and she said I'm going to name my puppy after you. She asked her name and she said "Toni." Then my mother's like, oh no, that's OK but thank you for cashing my check! We went back to the breeder, paid for the second puppy and were on our way. They were both so tiny, they fit in this little basket.

When thinking about names for the puppies, I wanted a French name that didn't have the "i" or "y" sound at the end so it sounded different than Ruby. I felt Margot really suited our puppy's jaunty personality. The other puppy is more serious and knows she's good looking and I've always loved the name Vivienne. I gave Margot the middle name of Bernice after my French grandmother on my dad's side. Since Kuochun and I split the cost of the puppy 50/50 I said for fun let's hyphenate her last name like the Jolie-Pitts and give her the full name Margot Bernice McAlpin-Yu. My mother didn't give Vivi a middle name because she doesn't have a middle name so it's Vivienne McAlpin. Margot and Vivi are half-sisters, they share the same father and are 9 days apart. They just celebrated their first birthdays this month.

What does all this Schnauzer talk have to do with our pop-up shop? Margot and Vivi, although German dogs are our little French girls and our pop-up shop mascots. We plan to include them in our advertising and I'll expand on that more next time!