Aoife Rupee- my beautiful white Bull Terrier. Her first name (pronounced Ee-fa) is taken from the Gaelic, meaning beauty. The spelling is unusual because it’s Irish, and most assuredly will generate amusing and entertaining pronunciations. I find this perfect, for it’s very much in keeping with how amusing and entertaining I find Bull Terriers.

Rupee was the name given to her when she was born. “The Money Litter” her breeder called the lot, and siblings were christened Florin, Shekel, and Lira. In order to honor all the incredible work and love Grandma Annie put into raising her for 10 weeks, Rupee remains as her middle name. My dogs have always had middle names: Piper Lawre, Finnegan Moose, Bess Boo, Enzo Henson. Middle names are important. Surely you remember your childhood? The usage of your middle name let you know that stuff was about to get serious. Fast. I’ve no doubt Aoife’s middle name will be used. Often.

I fell in love with her at the Puppy Party. Quite surprising to me as I have always been partial to the brindles. But Aoife changed that. When I visited the puppy pen, she would rush to the side, sit eagerly, and wait to be petted. She made eye contact with me. She attacked my slippers. She hopped. She bounced. I was head-over-heels. When I realized what had happened, I was aghast. I was to be neutral: I was Sweden! And because she was absolutely gorgeous as well, I went home more than a little nervous that she would be chosen by either the breeder or co-breeder.

All the puppies were lovely. I knew I would fall in love with whichever puppy was deemed to be mine. But then I would remember Aoife’s dark eyes, her bold, sprightly bounce and I would take a deep breath and repeat: “If it’s meant to be…” Four (very long) weeks later, I got the word from Annie. My eyes began to fill as I read down that Aoife Rupee was to be mine. The heart wants what the heart wants.

My eldest daughter and I prepared for “Operation Puppy Pick-up”. It seems we have started a tradition: when I pick up a puppy, it must fall on a holiday so that traffic is horrendous. The two of us traveled the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for Enzo. That traffic was so bad, we were delayed to the point of having to call the breeder to tell her that we would not be arriving at 4:00 pm as planned. In fact, according to Google maps, it would be well past 9:00 pm before we arrived. We were forced to stop for the night, staying at the dog-friendly hotel I had reserved for the trip back. Collecting Aoife wasn’t nearly as bad, but the Columbus weekend traffic did waylay our initial arrival time so that Sara was forced to jolly me on more than one occasion due to bumper-to-bumper 30 mile-per-hour travel on the highway.

No motel this time around as Annie has become my friend. My daughter and I stayed in her lovely home. Sara met Aoife’s mother Naboo–who entertained us with her clever trick, “Order Up!” On cue, Naboo runs over to a dinner bell and pounds paws it to make it ring. This wasn’t just any dinner bell either- heavy and brass, it looked to be an antique. It wasn’t, but it was beautiful. Annie admitted Naboo had destroyed several smaller bells while learning the trick, so it was necessary to find one sturdy enough to withstand the brute gusto only a joy-filled Bull Terrier can deliver. We laughed, picturing smashed plastic bells after only one ding. Sara later commented Naboo’s trick alone was worth battling traffic.

The trip home was uneventful. Aoife was a wonderful little traveler. We stopped often in order to let her out for walks and potty. Absolutely nothing we encountered fazed this little white peanut–eighteen wheelers, teenaged boys whizzing past on bicycles, men in hats, toddlers in strollers, women in sunglasses, it didn’t matter. Tail up and wagging, bully grin wide, Aoife took everything in stride- eager to investigate, make friends, and conquer the world.

That same self-confidence and swagger stood her in good stead when she met my boys. As expected, Finn was resigned. At 12 years of age, he is done with puppy antics, puppy teeth, and puppy nonsense. I knew he would tolerate her, but he would not befriend her. I was okay with that. He’s earned his retirement. As expected, Enzo was delighted. At 2 years of age, he is eager for a parter in-crime compadre, companion, and napping buddy. I placed Aoife in the den with my husband, whereupon she commenced greeting him like a long-lost relative. I had Enzo in the kitchen, gate between the two rooms. When Enzo spied her, he barked, and loudly! Unperturbed, Aoife turned, bounced once, and “Rrruffed!” right back at him. Enzo turned to look at me from under his furry brows as if to say, “What the…??” Amused, I laughed. Years of entertainment had only just begun.