Through the early part of my teenage years my parents got us a Boston terrier. It'd been a while since our last dog (a really bad Cocker Spaniel that wasn't much of a kid-dog anyway), and we'd been bugging for one for years. One day, by complete surprise, a little puppy appeared in our house. They had done some research about this breed's personality and tenacity and had decided to call the dog Rambo (I had nothing to do with this, and although the name sounded stupid at first, it grew on us). This pup in particular fit his name perfectly. He was a great dog, but he was extremely protective and fierce when it came to engaging in conflict with other dogs or even people. Unfortunately, this characteristic became a liability and we eventually had to send him to my grandparent's place in the coast where he lived the rest of his years – the first few with his half-sister Brownie and then on his own. Despite all the drama, I had found the perfect dog for me. As I grew older, at some point, I made myself one promise: when I'm out on my own and standing solid on my own two feet, I'll get a Boston terrier. That day came in Spring of 1998.
It was a mild Saturday morning in March – I remember it quite clearly. I had already been kind-of looking for a dog, calling the local Boston terrier rescue and casually looking around in some papers, when I found the one. In one of those free newspapers found in random racks around the city – this one God-knows from where – I turned to the "For Sale" section and to my delight I saw a posting advertising Boston puppies. I immediately got on the phone and called the printed number. A gentleman answered and I asked him if he still had dogs for sale left. He answered he did, if I was looking for a male – which I was. I asked for a price despite there being one printed on the classified. To further my delight, he quoted me a price below the printed price. The stage set and within minutes, we were dog-bound.
The trip was long and complicated, taking me to parts of the city I'd never been to and I wouldn't return to since. In what I would easily describe as a trashy white neighborhood, in a trashy house, I found my dog. I don't remember being nervous or scared. I was a man on a mission. We walked in and in a penned up area, with newspapers all over the floor were two puppies. The dad and mom were also close by: Newman's Don Juan and Rose Cotton (he's AKC certified, so that's his pedigree… or lack thereof). One was completely black and definitely larger; the other one had the typical Boston markings and was considerably smaller than his sibling. They were so cute. Briefly, I pondered getting both. Perhaps the lack of money at the time kept me focused on just the one. As the story went, the little one was the next to last born, and the last one to survive birth. He was the de facto runt of the litter. He was exactly what I wanted.
After another price negotiation and driving close by to get cash and dog supplies, we drove back and got the puppy. On our way home, the small creature nervously sat atop a little blanket they'd given us. I was nervous he'd pee all over the car, but that never happened. His name came to me almost automatically – Junior. He was my little boy, the smallest one of his doggie family (and an homage to my favorite soccer team back home). The name fit fine and it worked.
I brought him home and gave him a bath. His white paws were black from standing in newspaper all day. Afterwards, I remember bringing him out to the living room and laying him down on the carpet. The little thing just sat there, shaking. He was scared and confused, helpless. I felt bad for removing him from his mom, but that was going to happen anyway.
Not much later that day we went to visit a friend on our way to a birthday dinner party that night. There, he was subject of his first photo shoot. Our friend had a Sony Mavica digital camera (the one with the floppy drive in it; 640 x 480 resolution) she'd named "Digi." The image below is Junior's first picture ever.
Junior has been a great companion for many years. He's incredibly expressive and it's easy to know in what mood he's in just from the look in his face. He'll give you a sloppy kiss on command unless he's pissed – he'll turn his face and not give you anything if he's upset. He's gentle and kind, playful and sweet, smart and disciplined. I can't begin to tell all the stories that Junior and I share, all the experiences we've lived together. There's no doubt he will leave a huge void when he's gone. For now all we can do is enjoy the time he's still with us; enjoy every day for one day he won't be around and those small things that today are insignificant, tomorrow will be priceless.
I love my dog, my friend, my baby with all my heart. I remember the day we got him with great joy and fondness.
A dog by any other name...
During his life so far Junior has taken on many colorful nicknames. Here are some that come to mind: June, June Bug, Bug, Junesy, Scoon, Joon, Boom, Boom Boom, Little, Li'l, Snoopy, Snoopy Dog, Lookie, Canicuri, Canicu, Jujuby, Junior Herrera King of Saipan, Gingie, Canoodles, Noodles, Dirty Dee.
Sidney, an older much more serious dog has some AKAs mostly related to his bouncy ears or his nippy nature. Here are a few: Sid, Floppy, Snips, Snippy, Commander Snips, The Commander, Mr. Snipsalot, Skippy, Bad Biddie.