January 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Alicia Smith Hollins, 34, says she was never much of an animal person growing up. Her two sisters sisters were always the ones wanting to take care of the family’s yellow lab, Gunner, and brown lab, Penny, while Smith Hollins was “more into getting into trouble.” But something changed when she and husband Trevor Hollins took in Zelda, a 9-year-old Miniature Schnauzer.

Smith Hollins, a sales associate with Omaha Publications and an alumna of Duchesne Academy, thought about getting a dog after she and Trevor moved into their Aksarben Village home, but they never got around to it. It wasn’t until Trevor’s mom’s co-worker was looking for a home for one of her show dogs that Zelda found her way into their care. “Trevor’s parents’ dog had just died, so they had Zelda over for the weekend to see if they were ready for another dog. But then we took her for a weekend, and she ended up staying with us for good,” she says. 20121219_bs_8082 copy

Zelda originally had just been called Z, which was short for another name that Smith Hollins says she can’t remember. “We figured if we wanted to change her name, it needed to start with a Z, since she was already 6 years old when we got her. So we called her Zelda, which Trevor liked because he loves [The Legends of Zelda] video games, and I have always been fascinated with reading about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.”

One of the things Smith Hollins says she and Trevor liked the most about Zelda was that she had been trained to be a show dog, so she was already potty-trained and didn’t chew up all of their things. However, Smith Hollins did worry that Zelda had experienced some trauma during the somewhat grueling training of the show dog life. “Her tail was cut incorrectly, so she actually couldn’t participate in the shows, but she was bred twice. Her second birth was a C-section, and she apparently almost died.” Another issue Smith Hollins encountered with Zelda was her teeth. “Apparently, Schnauzers have bad teeth, so we took her to the doggy dentist a few months after we got her, and they pulled 11 teeth. The next year, they pulled nine, so she doesn’t have a lot of teeth left, but I think she would be in more pain had we not done it.”

Smith Hollins' son, Logan, plays with Zelda in the family's backyard

Smith Hollins’ son, Logan, plays with Zelda in the family’s backyard.

In terms of activity, Zelda is a fairly laidback dog. Smith Hollins says she doesn’t go on walks or play with toys but rather prefers to cuddle and be petted. “She won’t walk on a leash, [and] she won’t go to the bathroom on a leash because show dogs are trained not to do that, so we really don’t take her for walks…She had one toy she played with for a while, but she chewed it up. I tried to buy the same toy again, but she hasn’t touched it.”

Although Zelda is timid, she has become more protective of the family over time, especially with Smith Hollins’ 2-year-old son, Logan. “I think it’s adorable because she really doesn’t want to play with him, but she wants to protect him.”20121219_bs_8030 copy

She admits that, at first, she feared that Zelda would have a hard time adjusting to having a baby around, as she had always been the baby and slept by Smith Hollins’ side every night. But after Logan was born, Zelda began sleeping by his bed every night and even started barking if someone was at the door.

While Smith Hollins thinks Zelda can have really weird quirks that make her seem somewhat high-maintenance, she says she loves Zelda because she is a perfect lap dog. “If you are having a bad day, she will let you cuddle up to her.”

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