S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
Graphics courtesy of:
S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
Henry came into the world uneventfully in the middle of the night with three other fluffy, healthy siblings. He was a big puppy with a beautiful head and gorgeous face markings but hardly any color on his body. Well, he’d make an adorable pet companion for some lucky family. Pet people seem to like the white, fluffy puppies and he would have a great face.
The litter grew. They were wonderful babies nursing vigorously, tumbling all over each other and doing all the other things that healthy puppies do. They went to school and were socialized with all the kids. They traveled to Florida with us at Christmas as they weren’t quite ready to go to their homes. They came home prepared to meet their new families.
Henry had been the first puppy sold. His new owner was very excited and came to visit often. Since she was a school employee, we talked “Henry talk” every day. I related all the cute things he was doing and brought in pictures (my husband accuses me of taking more pictures of the puppies than I did of our children.) Oh, well, probably true. I admit I’m a nut for these babies. As soon as they were 12 weeks old, she came to get her boy. We had been over the equipment list, contract, and puppy training issues during our talks. I felt she was prepared for this new addition to the family. Her own children ages 8, 13 and 15 were excited, too. Henry went to his new home, a beautiful, well-adjusted puppy.
I always cry a little when they leave (a piece of my heart goes with every puppy I place.) This home was a special one, and I was sure Henry would be happy.
As the weeks went by, it was evident that Henry was truly loved by his new family. His progress went well, accidents only when given too much freedom too soon. Luckily, I could address the little problems daily at work. They loved him, he was adorable, he did such cute things, he had no bad habits, and on and on and on.
Summer vacation came, and I left feeling very comfortable about my puppy placements. June and July came and went. August 13the, the phone rang. It was Henry’s mom. She was about to be evicted from her condo-home if she didn’t get rid of the dog. The management was enforcing their no pet clause even though others had and were keeping their animals. She was afraid to pursue the issue. There was no other place to live in their school system, a very important concern with children involved in one system for 9 years. What was she to do?
I reminded her of my contract, which requires my puppies to be returned if the original owner cannot keep them. I didn’t need another dog right now, but after making arrangements to get him, Henry came home.
Lots of things went through my mind as I drove the four hours to pick him up. What was he like after all this time? Would he adjust to a house full of dogs? Was he really trained or would he have accidents? Was he healthy? Was he a good eater? Suppose someone had traumatized him, would he be placeable? I really didn’t need another pet dog…
Henry bounced out of the vari-kennel a happy, immaculate, groomed, healthy ten-month-old boy and buried his face in my neck covering me with kisses. Then, as his owner discussed her situation, he stretched across my knees and relaxed. I think he remembered me…the smell, the house, the sound of my voice…something. She left. Henry wanted to go with her. I cried for this boy as I closed the door. She had shown no emotion. I later learned this was the only way she could handle giving up this dog. She had put on a face of stone. I cried come more.
Luckily, Henry was wonderful! Never that first problem. He truly had no bad habits and was totally house trained. All my four-legged kids accepted him without a confrontation, even “Queen Lily.” How someone could give him back was beyond my understanding, but life situations are difficult sometimes. I was very grateful for that clause in the contract about returning my puppies. He would not have to be passes from place to place, maybe even to rescue. I would find another perfect home for this delightful boy
Through the help of a dear friend, Henry found that perfect place. A family in Boston with two darling girls was waiting for the right time to add a dog to their family. After much discussion, pictures, and a video, they wanted Henry. They weren’t quite sure about this being the right time in their lives, bit he was such a perfect dog with all that puppy stuff behind him, they couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Fortunately for my puppies, this doesn’t happen often. Henry went to live with a Harvard professor and his family.
I cried as I put him in the crate for the flight. What a special boy he was. “I love you, Henry, and this is the next perfect place for you. Kids to play with as you’re used to, a yard to run in and you’ll be the “only dog” once again. Your new family promises to love you forever, and I’ll see you every summer when they visit northern Michigan. You’ll have a super life.” I attached our special Chinese lucky charm to his crate, and he was off with husband, Dick, for the airport.
I could hardly wait for work to be over that day and call to see how everything was. I dialed, waited, “Kathleen…” Without even waiting she began, “He’s the most wonderful, the sweetest, the cutest, the happiest, the nicest, the best Shih Tub in the world!!! WE LOVE HIM SO ALREADY.” What great news to hear. Henry was a lucky dog. He had found a new home with a new family to love him. I hear from his new owner often. Lots more fun “Henry stories.” He is indeed one of the lucky ones.
As I think back over this situation, I am grateful his first owners gave him such a good start with so much love, care and training. I am also reminded how important it is that our puppies come home when a life-style problem gets in the way. I need to know where my babies are and stay connected with their owners. It’s the only was I can handle this breeding thing. Many things in life are beyond our control, but the future of my babies needs to stay within my control.
Henry is a “Harvard Man” now, and a very happy one at that.