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 . . .
“Tara”, nine months old, was spayed today. She is a beautiful Shih Tzu that will not be shown or bred. She is truly lovely---very “typey,” exquisite color and markings, pretty overall balance, beautiful bite and personality plus. At one point, she was said to be the “pick of the litter.” Despite all of this, one fault stands out too far to be dismissed: she is too small. By some standards, her six-pound size would be considered a large “imperial.” Some breeders have decided to skew the accepted standards for this breed to suit themselves and their own monetary gain. Due to the rare and delicate nature of this type, possession comes with a hefty price tag. I can’t help but think that this breeding is done because of the end result: money. Yes, this size is darling; it is the “perennial” puppy. Yes, there is a “market” for something so unusual. But is “market” a word that should even be thought of during the process of ethical breeding and creating a life?

I am prompted to write these thoughts tonight, while sitting with little Tara as she recovers from the day. Many thoughts run through my mind. You see, I was there during the surgery, working as a vet-tech. I held her leg, hoping it would be easy to get a vein—luckily it was. I held her jaw open, hoping that the breathing tube would be small enough to fit and the elongated soft palate wouldn’t cause a problem. I watched as her uterus was removed. It was SO SMALL. I felt my throat tighten when I knew the doctor was very concerned with her breathing for a few tense moments. I couldn’t help but agree with him when he said, “It looks like Nature just doesn’t want them to be this size.”

We finished up the surgery and kept close watch on her thoughtout the early stages of recovery. Another scary moment occurred when the large amount of soft palate tissue restricted her breathing, and her tongue turned blue. These little ones have a tendency toward this. Downsizing the outside has not always kept in sync with the inside. Other problems arise with the internal organs being too small. Anesthesia is risky on these small ones and must be done with great care.

It has been nearly nine hours, and Tara is still feeling the effects of the surgery. At a time when “regular”sized bitches have had a small meal and have settled for the night, she is still having trouble getting back to a regular breathing pattern. She has received pain medication, and the incision looks great. We will just sit here a while longer.

Tara was supposed to be the same size as her brothers and sisters---fully nine to sixteen pounds as the standard states. She is just small. As special as she is, she was not “planned”---she just happened. I was proud to tell our vet that it is her darling small size that made us opt for this surgery, for her health and the continuation of the health of the breed. Tara has a pedigree fit for an oriental princess, but “imperial”she is not. She will be cherished as a beautiful someone who “happened” our way-not to be repeated. Tara is everything that a Shih Tzu should be; an intelligent, beautiful companion. But her lack of size IS an important fault not to be capitalized upon. Had you stood beside her in my shoes today, maybe you would agree:
“Imperial” Shih Tzu….where is it written???