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 . . .
She was a good friend!
People that knew Dollias Musselman talk of a strong, outspoken, often tough woman. She made her own way in this Shih Tzu thing doing it “her way.” There are those who strongly disagreed with her, were afraid of her, were taken by her strength and were in awe of her at different times throughout her life. She was often extremely opinionated, but…she was an icon, a matriarch, and an inspiration to some of us.
Those of us who competed against her can tell the story of the times when she wasn’t chosen the winner. She was so competitive that her response always was, “I’m finished. I won’t be back. This is disgusting.” Yet, back she would come for more of the same. Showing and her dogs were so much a part of her that she couldn’t stop until her health made it mandatory. Then, on my visits, she would ask all about everyone, what was happening in the ring, who was winning, how was so and so, and let me see that new kid you have. The dogs were her life; the sport was something she missed terribly.
Friends who know me well, know that except for the dogs, Dollias and I had very little in common. Yet, we were good friends. For some unknown reason, she let me inside the hard shell she kept around herself, taking pity on me during my novice years because I couldn’t put up a good topknot for the life of me. One day after a show in Detroit, she told me to put my dog on her table and watch. She proceeded to do his head again turning him into a “real” showdog. “Now, you do it just like that,” and she made me take it all down and redo it in front of her. I was all thumbs, but somehow, the topknot went in looking better than any I’d ever done a topknot before.
Why was I allowed inside this woman who mainly kept to herself? Who knows? It’s just something that happened cementing a friendship that continued until her untimely death from cancer on November 16, 2002.
Dollias had so much knowledge inside her head about our breed and the dogs of the past. In retrospect, I wish I’d kept a diary of all those stories, secrets and facts. One just never knows when it will be the last story that we hear from someone we care about.
Dollias finished many champions, took her special J.C., Ch. Chi-Nees Shome, to the top 10 several years ago, bred many beautiful puppies and shared her studs with those she trusted. How lucky I was to be able to breed to Ch. Chi-Nees Zohio I’m So Sexy, aka. Jean-Claude. He gave me Ch. S’Dandi’s On Loan From God, Rush and Ch. S’Dandi’s Kylemore Abbey, Abbey in one litter, Ch. AmaDandi’s Shoot For The Moon, Mikey in another and on Oct. 19, 2002, he produced 3 females that are just beautiful. They will be named S’Dandi’s Heart of Chi-Nees, Valerie; S’Dandi’s Gift of Chi-Nees, Dolli and S’Dandi’s Legacy of Chi-Nees, Lacey. My hope is that they will all become champions as a tribute to Dollias, my friend with a big heart.
Some comments that I’ve received since her death have been, “I remember her spark and the smile and the curiosity,” and “It looked like sparks were coming from her heels when she showed her dog at Cobo Hall,” and again "Although you are greatly missed, you are not truly gone as we will carry you in our hearts forever. Your legacy will live on. We love you mammasan."
Whether you loved her or hated her, Dollias was an entity that couldn’t be denied. She loved the breed and did her best to preserve it. Ch. Chi-Nees Zohio I’m So Sexy, “Jean-Claude” and other dogs she bred or finished under the Chi-Nees kennel name will live in the pedigrees of some of our dogs adding that “special” something to those they produce. She will be remembered.
Someday when I am standing ringside, I wouldn't be at all suprised to hear the low, encouraging whisper of, “Go get em!!” Dollias may not have been an angel, but her spirit will linger as a part of Shih Tzu and the sport of showing dogs in the offspring of her beloved boys. Rest well, my dear friend!!!
She Wasn't But . . .