I love dogs. Any time I’m around one I have to pet it and say, “Hi puppy,” in a high-pitched voice.

I have a dog of my own, Mimi, who I still call “puppy,” even though she’s getting to be a senior canine. It took a long time to find her, and my family had several other less favorable dogs before she was adopted.

My family’s first dog, Gus, was a yellow lab mix who was adopted before I was born, and adopted out not long after. Thus I don’t remember him, but there are photos of us watching each other through the glass sliding door.

Reportedly he was a good boy, but my parents didn’t have the necessary time to care for him.

Our next dog was Benji, a little disobedient terror that didn’t stay with our family for long. He was all black with little white paws, a cute baby, but he grew into an unruly teenager. He spent a lot of time digging to China in my sandbox.

Benji never listened to instruction, tore around the house like a mad dog and jumped on the couch, where he was not allowed. My parents didn’t have much tolerance for naughty dogs, and Benji went back to the pound from whence he came.

Several years after Benji, my dad decided to let me get another dog, a mutt who got the name Gus. Later he became known as Gus Number Two, to differentiate between him and the first Gus.

Gus turned out to be a very big dog when full-grown, and a very bad dog. He got his thrill from jumping over our six-foot fence to attack neighbor dogs and cats while terrifying the little girl next door. My parents elected to take Gus to the pound, hoping someone with a bigger back yard would adopt him.

After Gus Number Two, we didn’t have a dog for a long time, despite near-constant begging on my part.

When I was 14, my parents finally agreed to let me get another dog. However, this one would be carefully selected after a long search. In other words, no more unruly or large, fence-jumping dogs.

So the search commenced. I made calls and checked ads; it had to be the perfect puppy.

One day I stopped by a Petco to review their cork board of ads listing adoptable dogs. I picked out several, but one in particular stood out. It was an ad for a sweet, black and white dog named Mimi, who was looking for a good home. There wasn’t a picture, just a hand-written note and phone number.

We called and set up a time to go meet Mimi, who sounded like she may be a good fit. She had been abandoned as a puppy and a woman had taken her, and her brother and sister, home until she could find someone to adopt them.

A day or two before I met Mimi, I dreamed that we had gotten her. So I decided that was a sign and she was going to be our dog.

When we met Mimi she was very shy and timid. Her current owner, Melody, thought that Mimi had been abused by her former owners. Melody had guessed that Mimi was a Dalmatian-terrier mix, but she wasn’t certain. I wanted her right away, but my parents had to think about it.

It didn’t take too long for them to decide that if I wanted Mimi, I could get her. So a few days later she came home with us and has been here ever since.

Mimi has always been a sweet, obedient and good-tempered dog. We’ve taught her to say “I love you,” and to give a “high-five.” She likes to have her tummy rubbed and lay in the sun. She loves to eat cheese and go for walks. Mimi has gotten less and less shy over the years and isn’t afraid to approach strangers anymore.

So next time you’re thinking about getting a dog, make sure to take your time and think through exactly what kind you want. The mixed breeds and mutts need homes the most and can make the best pets, just ask Mimi.

Elise Loyola is a staff writer for the Clinton Herald. She has been here since November 2008 and she can be reached at eliseloyola@clintonherald.com.

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