happily ever after dec

Once upon a time, a bone-thin pup was used for breeding. When the breeders didn’t want her anymore, she went home with one of the breeder’s co-workers as a surprise for his wife, who didn’t even like dogs. They named her Lucky because they were “lucky they kept her,” but before long, she was surrendered to the Animal Protective Association of Missouri.

When Lucky arrived at the APA, she weighed only 25 pounds and had a protruding rib cage and sunken-in facial features from lack of nutrition. She was petrified, never having known a life of love and affection.

Devan Awtrey, a veterinary technician with the APA, was immediately drawn to the quaking youngster. She sent a photo of the pup, who had been nicknamed “Skinny Minnie,” to her boyfriend.

“An hour later, he said we could foster her,” Awtrey says.

She brought Minnie home to her boyfriend, two stepkids and their other pup, who warmed instantly to the newcomer. Minnie, however, took a bit of time to adjust.

“She didn’t want to do anything for the first 24 hours we had her,” Awtrey recalls. “But she perked up as soon as she got some food in her belly. I think she realized she was home.”

Two weeks after they initially brought Minnie home as a foster, Awtrey and her boyfriend filed to permanently adopt Minnie. and the pup became the newest member of their family in July.

In the months since then, Minnie has made herself completely at home. She’s best friends with Awtrey’s other dog, and they will “lick each other’s faces for hours.” Minnie waits patiently while Awtrey’s 7-year-old stepdaughter paints her toenails and even enjoys bath time when it arrives. Her favorite activities include chasing squirrels and going for car rides.

“She also loves having her picture taken, and she’s got a goofy snaggletooth that catches on her upper lip,” Awtrey says. “She’s looks like a little gremlin. It’s so cute.”

One of Awtrey’s favorite characteristics in Minnie is that she’s a mediator.

“If the kids are arguing, she’s the first one to come in and literally put herself in the middle of whatever is going on,” Awtrey says. “If we’re play-fighting in the kitchen, she comes up out of nowhere and bulldozes us.”

Even though she’s now 60 pounds instead of 25, the 2-year-old pup still has the nickname of “Skinny Minnie” whenever she visits her old friends at the APA. Luckily, thanks to the love of Awtrey and her family and the staff at the APA, Minnie will truly never, ever be “Skinny Minnie” again.

“She’s such a good dog,” Awtrey says. “She just kind of hopped into our lives.” 

FOR YOUR OWN FAIRY-TAIL ENDING …

APA Adoption Center

1705 S. Hanley Road, St. Louis

314-645-4610, apamo.org

Robyn is LN's digital editor and a staff writer. Proud alumna of Notre Dame High School in St. Louis and Eastern Illinois University. Avid coffee drinker, dog lover, concertgoer and word nerd.