Monique Bonnaffons and Kendall Jenkins, co-owners of Fini (6250 Gen. Diaz St., 504-304-0633, www.finiboutique.com), have two passions in life: helping women leave their boutique ready for a night on the town and raising awareness of animal abuse. It's fitting that their quaint Lakeview shop houses two small dogs most days. Amelia, a 9-year-old teacup poodle, is "a people lover who thinks she is a person," Bonnaffons says. Kiki, the 11-year-old Yorkshire terrier, "loves clothes and is an avid Saints and LSU fan," Jenkins says.
Ever since Amelia was eight weeks old, she has been her owner's little shadow.
"When I got her, I put her in my purse and I took her everywhere, so she thinks she is supposed to be wherever I am," Bonnaffons says. "I put her down and she walks right next to me. If I leave the shop for a while, she waits right by the door the entire time."
Amelia has grown accustomed to her loyal followers at the boutique. She also was shop dog for Bonnaffons' first shop, Maison du Soleil, which was renamed and rebranded when Jenkins came aboard as co-owner. "When we have our fashion show, people love to come in to see Amelia, and when she comes to market with us, people come to the booth just to pet her," Bonnaffons says.
Kiki does not visit the shop as often as Amelia, but the two easily adapted to each others' presence. Even though Kiki is blind (she had her left eye removed because of cataracts), she still knows where to find her favorite spot. "She loves to find sunlight," Jenkins says. "She knows her spaces. She just feels the warmth, and she'll sit right in the sun for hours."
Jenkins rescued Kiki from a puppy mill in north Louisiana. "There were walls of puppy cages with bird cages on top of them, with almost 50 dogs in the entire place," Jenkins says. "The owners wanted to keep her to breed, but they said she was too small. She was only nine months old, so they didn't want her anymore. ... At that point, I would have done anything to get her out of that disgusting position. When I got her home, I scrubbed her down three separate times, and she still smelled. I got her straight to the vet, got her groomed and got her shots."
Though Amelia is not a rescue, Bonnaffons has two rescue dogs at home who are too big to visit Fini. The boutique features trendy, vibrant clothing and accessories (some by local designers), Stila cosmetics and airbrush tanning. When customers come into the store in need of a fix-me-up, they often comment on one unique sound.
"(Amelia) sleeps and snores under the desk, loudly," Bonnaffons says. "We clarify very quickly that the noise they're hearing is Amelia snoring, but by now, most of them already know her."
favorite things ...
Sleeping and snoring
Lying in the sun
Parmesan-flavored Goldfish crackers