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 . . .
Do you believe in destiny? Too many things have happened in my life that I definitely believe in some kind of a plan. The following is a story that was meant to be. It couldn’t just be coincidence.

Upon returning home for the summer, we were attending our first handling class as the new kids on the block again. Following our class is a puppy obedience class, and the owners always arrive before the first class finishes. On this particular night, one of the owners began talking to my husband. It seems that she is a local groomer and had just groomed a pathetic little Shih Tzu for the Humane Society. He had been in deplorable condition and matted to the skin which meant stripping him with the closest blade. Under all those mats was a flea infestation that created open sores all over his little body. The ear sores were the worst and were bleeding.

Dick related this information on the way home. All I could say was, “We have to go get him.”

The next morning a quick phone call confirmed that he was indeed a new resident of the HS and was still there. We were told that his appearance was so bad, no one even looked at him. The rest of his history included being purchased from someone locally for $300.00, becoming too much maintenance for the family, and being dropped off two days earlier. His name was Bandit although he didn’t answer to it. One of the younger attendants fell in love with the little guy, took pity on him and personally paid for his grooming.

We walked in the door, asked to see him and were greeted by a friendly, tail-wagging boy. He jumped in my lap as if to say, “Are you my new family? I’m really a good boy!” Further examination showed his skin condition needed attention. He was not neutered and was rather large in body structure, though extremely thin. You could count his vertebrae and ribs. What coat you could see was dry and sparse. His teeth were good, the bite was decent and his eyes were big and trusting. He definitely was a Tzu, just a sad little case.

We filled out the necessary paperwork, took him home, made the vet appointment for that afternoon, isolated him in a crate in a separate room and fed him. He ate ravenously.

A friend, whose Shih Tzu I groom regularly, came to drop off a borrowed article. I introduced the newcomer, and we both cried over his condition and fear. She left for work. The phone rang. It was Ann. I said, “You’ll never believe what we just did!!” After her initial shock, she gave me the name of a family in our area that wanted a Shih Tzu but couldn’t afford a puppy. This young family happens to be related to people who live just down the street form Ann. Although she didn’t have a phone number, I decided to look in our local phone book after things settled down, and I’d had a chance to evaluate this boy. No problem.

I didn’t have to wait. Within 15 minutes, the phone rang again. It was the Mr. of the very same family Ann had referred. (My friend had gone to work, told an associate of hers who had already purchased one of my puppies about the rescue dog. He in turn told his friend who wanted a Tzu. It was one in the same person.) After my initial shock over the way this call came about, we had a long discussion about all the concerns associated with Bandit: health screening, neutering, shots, heartworm, personality, the list went on. I took his name and number promising to call in a week or so after the health work was completed. This would also give Bandit time to adjust.

Bandit went to the vet for shots, fecal and heartworm tests and was scheduled for neutering and blood work the following day. A slight heart mummer was detected so x-rays were ordered which determined a slightly enlarged heart that should be rechecked in six months. I worried that all this was happening too fast for the little guy, but decided to get everything done quickly. Then, he could really adjust to our home and lifestyle.

Two days after surgery with a clean bill of health, he became part of the “kitchen group.” He adopted the throw rug in front of the range top and wouldn’t move from it. He watched and ate and ate some more. (I didn’t think I’d ever fill him up.) He went outside to eliminate but wanted right back in to his rug. He didn’t bark. He loved to be held and hugged. He played a little with toys on his rug. His favorite was a tennis ball.

On the 6th day, the ball rolled off the rug. Now know as “Rags,” (since he looked like a little Ragmop and because “Rags to Riches” was appropriate for a new life) he started to whine. It was the first sound I’d heard from him. I offered food, water, and took him outside. Still, he whined. I looked at him and said, “Rags, I don’t know what you want, honey,” and bent down to love him. He moved off the rug retrieving his ball which had rolled 5 feet away, a major step. It gave me hope that this little dog would make it.

Our family arrived for a reunion weekend. I thought, “He’ll either sink or swim.” Well, he swam. He went out with all the other dogs in the yard. He played, even venturing down to the dock. He interacted with the grandkids and played fetch. He hopped happily in the car for rides. He ate and ate and ate. He gained weight-three pounds in the three weeks he was with us. His hopeful, new family came to visit. They loved him. “He’s cool,” said the kids. And cool he was. His personality bloomed. Our breed truly is resilient when treated with love.

It was hard to give him up when the time came, but he has a happy life with his very own, wonderful family. The following note came with these pictures from his new owners. Tears of joy filled my eyes as I read the note and realized that I had been part of something wonderful.

Dear Sally,
Casey (they didn’t care for Rags) is doing great! The kids are having a great time him. He still loves to fetch his tennis ball. I keep some hot dog treats handy, which he always enjoys. We have taught him to sit, shake and lie down. Sometimes he is so excited to receive his treat, he gets a little mixed up! Thank you for all you did for Casey. I’ll give you a call one of these days.

That says it all!!!!

Was it coincidence or was it fate? You decide.
Written In
The Stars