S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
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S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
When we think of life, many aspects of living present themselves to us. Just how we live this life makes a difference to someone. Right now, I have to remember all the good things about the little life of a special Tzu named Lili. I can’t keep thinking about the tragic way that she died, with the visual memory of watching it happen and being powerless, as that’s not doing anything positive for me or for the memory of this little girl who loved life and everyone in it. The alternative, as hard as that may be, is to exchange the terrible memory with all the good ones-not an easy thing to do, I might add. But…that’s what Lili would have wanted me do, and that’s what I’m trying to do in order to get through the first minutes, first hours, first week and first month after her death.

She was special from the first time I saw her at her breeder’s, just barely 14 weeks old. She had no hesitation in jumping right in my arms as she looked at me wondering if I was going to be her “very own mama” to have and love forever. It was love at first sight for both of us.
And, so, Lili became our first “real” Shih Tzu. She was intelligent, quick, lovey, kissy and eager to learn. She thrived on new experiences and new people. Everyone fell in love with her just as I had.

We started obedience classes where she proved how smart she was. She became my demo dog when I started teaching the classes. She accompanied me to school and was adopted by all the kids in my Kindergarten classes. Later, she became the mascot for our Media Center when I switched to a new position, performing her tricks and skills whenever anyone needed a little dog for a play, interest center or just to love. She truly was an ambassador for our breed showing everyone that a little, fluffy dog could be a “real dog,” too.

Now that her life is over, these are the things to remember. She was the queen of our house. She ruled the roost over all the other Tzu. Within her last month, Dick and I had just said that she still acted as if she were 3 instead of almost 12 years old. Until she was diagnosed with Glaucoma the first of November, she hadn’t ever had a health problem. We doctored and medicated and felt we had a handle on her disease. Since her life had been illness free, we didn’t mind the expense for her eyedrops and oral medication. This was Lili who had given her life to us. What else could we do?
This was the dog that met everyone with a tail wag and a hug. She would jump in the laps of our guests as if to say, “Everyone loves me. Do you, too?”

One of the special memories I have is a memory I’d like to share. We had heard of a Siberian about 6 months old who was going to be given to the pound. The owners had made a “big mistake” in buying this cute, black and white dog from a pet store. He had gotten too big. They couldn’t control him. He lived in a crate without much socialization. What could we do but go get him? Dick drove down to the house, saw the dog, loaded him in the back of the Jeep and brought him home. He wouldn’t come out of the car. When Dick finally lifted him out, he wouldn’t come out of the garage. I came home from work and saw this beautiful, pathetic creature sprawled on the garage floor too frightened to move. I got treats trying to entice him to come into the house to no avail. I lifted his rear trying to get him to move. “No way,” said he.

We got squeak toys, anything we could think of. Then, we got Lili. She met this new acquaintance without hesitation. She jumped around him to encourage him. He moved. I pulled on the lead toward the front door while telling Lili, “Inside.” She bounced toward the door with the Siberian cautiously following. The door was a different matter. He wouldn’t go through it. I said, “Lili, kitchen. Go to the kitchen.” She responded in her “Lili way.” The Sibe finally followed and became our “kitchen dog.” I’m convinced, without Lili, he would still be in the garage.

She also loved those little plastic balls that you can buy in the baby departments. They are clear with butterflies, flowers, etc inside and they roll all over with the inside revolving as they roll. Lili adored them. She would roll them, bat them and fight for them all over the house. When one rolled under something where she couldn’t reach to get it out, she would just stand and bark at the spot until someone retrieved the ball for her. If it happened just before bedtime, I would just leave it wherever and take her to bed. BUT…the next morning, she was back wherever she had left it, barking for her ball. It didn’t matter where it was hiding, she remembered until the next morning and went hunting for it in the place last seen. What a memory she had!!!

Even as she grew older, she would perform her special tricks for anyone willing to give her an extra treat. During her life, she became the performer for many kids along the way. As she got older, she would do them for me-I think it was an extra bonus just for the mama-but perform she did. I taught a puppy Kindergarten class just last summer. Lili went to be my demo dog to show the class all the things puppies can learn with a little time and effort on the owner’s part. On our way home, I hugged her to me and wondered what I’d ever do without my Lili. Well, I’m finding out as I write this eulogy, what life is like without her, and I don’t like it. I still don’t know what I’ll do without her except try to train another puppy to be just like Lili.

Our babies deserve the best, a life of happiness and love. The one thing that keeps me going is that this little dog was loved every day of her life, never knowing anything else. She had her place on the bed, her special sweater, her balls and her wonderful friends. She lived her life to the fullest giving everything she had to those who loved her. She was the most special Shih Tzu ever born. Thank you, Joyce DeVoll for allowing Lili to be a part of our life. She will be in our hearts forever.

I had this dumb little song that I sang to her almost every day since the day she came to live with us. She heard it over and over again as she took her last breath. So, once again, my darling, Lili, here it is for you to have as you wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge.

“Lili Ping. Lili Ping.
Listen, listen while I sing,
About the lions in my family,
The lively, little lion dogs.”

Lili, your life was truly a celebration of everything good and wonderful. I am very lucky to have had the good fortune of a “Lili” to fill my life with love.
Hugs and love forever, Mama Sally
A Celebration
Of Life