The Shih Tzu!

Ray has, over a considerable amount of time, convinced himself that not all dogs are a cause for concern. He has also appeared to have developed a quite sensitive strategy when greeting other dogs, based on his perception of them.  He can be quite aggressively friendly, or very slow and cautious. Caution on his part could be because he is unsure of the other dog or, more recently, because the other dog was unsure of him! Smaller dogs tend to be more of a challenge for Ray, because he has had a few turn very aggressive when very close.

Earlier this week we were out on a routine walk, when we saw a lady coming towards us with a Shih Tzu on a leash. Once we were in conversation range, she immediately commented on Ray and asked if the Shih Tzu could greet him. The problem was that the Shih Tzu had not had too much social experience and so was rather nervous of other dogs, and probably more so with Ray and the size difference.

We really didn’t see any problem with Ray, but were a little concerned as to how the Shih Tzu might react. We allowed them to get closer and watched for any potentially negative reactions, but there were none. Ray went through the correct greeting procedure (rear – underneath – nose), but he was very cautious and seemingly quite relaxed.

Once they both seemed to be fine with each other, we started chatting and the Shih Tzu was apparently adopted from our Humane Society in early  2013. Ray was there from November 2012 until we adopted him in March 2013. Did they remember each other perhaps? Ray seemed to sense that the Shih Tzu was nervous, and went about the social business very gently. What a great meeting!

We learned that the Shih Tzu had been originally picked up by the Humane Society, having been reported being seen just wandering around and with no obvious signs of knowing where home was. The Humane Society did a microchip check and found it, and so called the owner to let her know that her dog was with them.

The lady apparently explained that she was too busy to pick it up that day, but could in 3 – 4 days! The Humane Society explained that they would keep the dog for her, but there would be a charge on a per day basis. The response was an astounding “Oh… keep the dog!”

There are regular circumstances a lot worse than that, but this one puzzled me. I am guessing that while people own dogs for many reasons, surely the most common is the desire for a furry, affectionate, canine buddy! They give so much, but take so little, that they are the perfect friend! If my above assumption is correct, then that Shih Tzu owner  acquired that dog for its cute, cuddly and general canine traits.

For a dog to be affectionate, it must have some form of attachment. If it is capable of getting attached to somebody, then it must have feelings. If it has feelings, how can anybody say “Oh… keep the dog” pretty much on a whim? What kind of mentality makes the conscious decision to suddenly abandon their dog, knowing that it is going to be an emotionally traumatic experience for the dog?

My conclusion is pure ignorance. They have thought no further than their own convenience. I would not wish bad experiences on anybody, but a part of me does think that perhaps these people should experience an equivalent level of being abandoned. Of course they probably would not be able to associate the experience with dog ownership but… there is saying here in N. America which is self explanatory – “What goes around comes around”. For that Shih Tzu’s original lady owner, I sort of hope that it does!

32 thoughts on “The Shih Tzu!

  1. I’ve volunteered with various rescues for a number of years and I don’t think I will ever have a handle on these sort of people. In my opinion there really is never a just reason for a dog to end up at a humane society. Some are understandable i.e. “elderly person got sick”, but when dogs end up there on a whim like this it just breaks my heart.

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  2. Due to allergies to most breeds, I have been a Shih Tzu Mom since grad school (many years ago now). My stomach hurts any time I read about anyone who treats these adorable little cuddle bunnies like old toys to be tossed away when they are tired of playing with them. Shih Tzus were bred to be “companion animals” since their early days in China’s Royal court, so abandoning a Shih Tzu is at least as cruel as forbidding a hunting dog access to the outside.

    I try to avoid judging others, but I cannot DO it where mistreatment of children or animals is concerned. I hope that karma is swift and shows no more mercy than they exhibited to those poor little Shih Tzus (speaking here also of Kate’s comment).

    Good for you and Ray, btw. Tho’ he loves ALL people, Tink still barks at dogs (not a fighter, just a barker), so I’m sure the Shih Tzu’s current owner is so grateful for a bit of socialization time. The manager of the bar down the street has a Pitt that is a darling, so he has been helping me acclimate Tinker, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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    • Hi Madelyn. Getting some friendly help re socialization issues is invaluable (as you well know). We also had to teach Ray that being friendly would usually get him treats. He used to lunge and bark at anything that came close to him and apparently it was “fear aggression”. We had to teach him that people and dogs were no threat to him… in fact good things happened! People were generally very good, but he has met a few dogs which put his training back 2 or 3 months!

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      • Boy do I get that one!

        That’s why I’m thrilled to have found a “chill” Pitt – Tink got away from me just outside the apt. door as I was putting his leash on as a baby — eager to greet a couple of Pitts being walked by the girlfriend of the owner (who could NOT control them). That started off his barking at dogs – probably “fear aggression” as well.

        Having to separate the dogs scared me to death too – and Tink ran for the door as soon as he was free (fortunately unharmed – his fur protected his skin for the most part)! We now do NOT even open the apt. door without leash firmly attached.

        Til that incident Tink was pretty much a friend to all (tho’ he will always bark BACK if the other dog starts it – we’re working on that too!).

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  3. I certainly understand your attitude.Unbelievably, some people see animals as nothing more than possessions. Look at backyard breeders, for example. Unknowingly, that woman did this dog a favor. Oh, it’s also called “karma.” 🙂

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  4. Well done Ray. Poor Shih Tzu. Better off without that apology for an owner.
    Maggie is a little twitchy with smaller dogs due to her age and blind side. However, those that are bigger than her seem to be no problen at all!

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  5. My husband always says – you have to go through training to get a driver’s license – you should have to do the same to get a pet! Most people who “rescue” a fuzz-kid understand what that bond is – most think long and hard and review the website before adopting! Volunteering at the shelter has really lowered my view of humanity and raised my view considerably of the poor animals that are dumped/seized would we do as well considering what their circumstances were? Don’t get me started I will be on a soapbox forever! #AdoptDontShop! 🐶🐱

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    • Just a couple of perspectives Kim:
      I believe that there are far more decent, compassionate and thoughtful people in our world, than there are ignorant ones. It’s just that working in a shelter environment brings you into contact with more of the “undesirables”! I had a friend who worked in the Metro (Toronto) Police Force, and for a while he was getting more and more disheartened with people in general. He had to change his perspective and acknowledge that the nature of his work dictated more interactions with the “delinquent/criminal” element.
      We should also consider that so many children are abused/exploited or otherwise treated irresponsibly, and if people can do those things to their own species, I guess we really should not be surprised at what they do to another species.
      Don’t forget all the good people out there, and keep up the excellent work. So many animals would thank you if they could. 🙂

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      • Great perspective on how our environments can contribute to the exposure of certain behaviors or situations. Working in healthcare there can be days where there are few good outcomes, so we are forced to find the good in whatever we can. The good for this Shih Tzu was finding the family that deserved him.


        • We should really be thankful for our culture, where Humane Society’s (and other animal rescue shelters) can exist by virtue of the “volunteer” mentality, and regular financial support.


  6. So glad that Ray and the Shih-tzu had a friendly meeting.
    How the Shih-tzu’s former owner could do what they did… my mind is baffled! So sad! But glad that the Shih-tzu was rescued and is being cared for now.
    “What goes around, comes around,” That is a quote I may have heard a time or two. 🙂 One that I have to agree is very fitting for your story.

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  7. I’ve known people like that. There is a family in the ‘hood. The college age son wanted a golden retriever puppy (who they never really trained!). They had an old shih tzu. After a couple months they were talking about getting rid of the old dog. Haven’t seen it since last summer so I don’t know what happened. The bond I form with a pet is so strong that I not only couldn’t do that, I mourn for deceased pets. I can recited the names of all my pets with their idiosyncrasies. For some folks, it’s just a possession. One only needs to see the joy when you come home to know that yes, it would be a painful abandonment for the pet.

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