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Well Heeled 

Tuffy and Muffy are well heeled. But not just in the post-obedience school sense of the term. This 5-year-old brother and sister tag team are pure pedigree, tenth generation English Wire-Haired Terriers. Their hobbies include being fawned over by the hands that feed them and treeing squirrels.

They're also part of the estate of Howard Emrich, a Broadmoor native who passed away in 2001.

Last year, local real-estate broker Mike Mulvihill indicated his interest in adopting the pups. He had no idea they came with their own trust fund.

"I just got down on the floor and started playing with them," Mulvihill recalls, adding that he was the third or fourth person to interview for the dogs. The next day, Katherine Emrich, the executor of her father's estate, told him that Tuffy and Muffy belonged with him.

A New Orleans native, Mulvihill is a near-compulsive adopter. In his home off Fillmore and I-25 he points out the goldfish, parakeet and plants he's liberated from neglectors of all sorts. "It's not a throw-away world," he says.

In his back yard, Tuffy and Muffy run frenetic figure eights, yipping and nipping as their paths collide. Tuffy is the dumb one, Mulvihill explains, while Muffy is the observant and protective sister.

Despite being in charge of doggies, Mulvihill said he has only once had to utilize their endowment. On the phone late one night, a neighbor knocked on his door.

"Dude, your dogs are munching on a skunk," he was informed.

Mulvihill said that Katherine Emrich insisted on helping out, that it was her father's wish that the dogs be provided for.

"It was enough to buy their food and treats for a year," Mulvihill says of the check he received shortly thereafter and tried in vain to return.

When asked how they felt about living a life of leisure, Tuffy said, "Grrruff." Muffy declined comment, preferring to lick her brother's ear before taking off to bark at the neighbor's beagle.

-- John Dicker

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