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 . . .
Excerpt from a letter to Ann Bromley, 8/13/00:

Here I am! Hi Mom! Hi Mom Ann!

…I am so sorry we haven’t been in touch. Maggie and I have been quite busy.

On December 29th, last year, my brother met some friends at a local restaurant to celebrate his birthday. They were walking to their cars when the evening was over and they were shot at! (To this day it is unbelievable for me to hear myself say that!)

On the opposite corner of the street from the restaurant, there was a group of boys/nen. From what the police told us, there had been a fight and my brother and friends “got in the way”. “Wrong place, wrong time.” I’ve heard so many cliché’s I could scream! By the time the “smoke cleared” (literally) my brother had three bullets in him! A friend had one, and a police officer had two! There had been only one man with a gun, but the police said he had been doing drugs. What a nightmare! Every time I came home from the hospital, I’d have to remind myself what happened. Very hard to absorb the words, “my brother was shot.”

After four days of numbing limbo, he came out of the coma. Maggie and I began being a part of his rehabilitation. Maggie had a “Service Dog” pass to get into the hospital! The people that issue these are accustomed to German Shepard and Labrador Retrievers. They got a kick out or little Miss! Scott had suffered a stroke during the 8-hour surgery and wasn’t connecting with anyone…except Maggie. The surgeons credit her for cutting a lot of months off of his rehabilitation. I can’t begin to tell you what a little hero she has become!

Anyway, my brother is home now and the only thing we have to work on now, is his left leg. Building strength back and hopefully avoiding another surgery.

Maggie and I have been with him the whole way. Needless to say, Maggie is so special to us, and you and Abby can be beaming with pride. She’s full of happiness and spreads it wherever we go. She weighs 9 lbs. 2 oz. and has had her full coat “trimmed” once. I did it for summer for a little relief…

Right now, we’re getting the boys ready for school and a little ashamed to say looking forward to some quiet around the house! I can’t believe it’s been a year since we came to pick up our precious little girl! Abby’s new babies sound wonderful. I hope she’s doing fine. How’s your family? I hope you all had a great summer. Please know “Poppy/Maggie” is happy and our cup is full. Thanks for thinking of us…Take Care!

Love, Darcy and “Maggie”

We hear of random shootings almost every day on the nightly news. People have become almost desensitized to the events and shrug and say, “glad it wasn’t me” or “it wouldn’t happen here.”
I’m sure this is what the letter writer once thought. This incident touched me this time because it is someone I know. The recovery noted in the letter touched me, too, and made me proud, for the Shih Tzu given “Service Dog” status is my little “Poppy” (now Maggie) placed with Paul and Darcy Eby and boys in the August before the shooting event.

I phoned Darcy after receiving her letter, and our conversation is one I won’t soon forget. To hear her voice relate the incidents in the letter made it all very real. This woman and her family have been through so much in a year. She is adamant that Maggie’s presence was a huge part of bringing her brother back to them, especially during those tenuous days of his coma. Some are skeptical when it comes to giving credit for healing to a dog, but others will say she worked a miracle. Young Maggie was a 7-month-old puppy when she assumed her “place” in the hospital. (Darcy is very proud of the “service dog pass” that Maggie wore to gain admittance to the hospital each day.) She had been with her new family only a few months, but the bond was fast and true. Darcy told me that one day they were visiting and she found out just how devoted Maggie was to her. Maggie was at her customary place on the bed. The nurses, all of whom she knew were trying to get her off the bed. She wouldn’t leave until Darcy came in and called her. Maggie bounded into her arms and bestowed much needed “puppy kisses.” Darcy said that she had been feeling like she was “losing” Maggie to everyone else. (Not that she minded sharing, but she wanted Maggie to be “her special little girl.”) Maggie had plenty of love to go around and an extra dose for her beloved Mom.

One little Shih Tzu puppy was acting as an angel to hold this delicate family together. Scott needed her to help bring him back from that dark place where recovery seems hopeless. Darcy needed her to hold on to when each day looked pretty grim. Paul and the boys needed her to be herself-a funny, happy PUPPY-and keep home “normal” when so much around it was not. This family was “touched by an angel,” but this one wore a topknot instead of wings.

Maggie had the looks and attitude of a “promising show girl,” but I placed her at the age of 12 weeks as a beautiful family companion. And show she did! She showed all those who met her the endearing qualities of her breed and surprised a few with her performance! Darcy says that she is frustrated when she tells people and they discount Maggie’s place in all of this. Some people have a hard time believing in miracles. Others think that a dog is “just a dog.” The important thing is that the family had faith, and the hospital and staff were willing to try.

Me? I’m a firm believer that miracles DO happen, and that the canine spirit was created to help us along our journey called, “Life.”

The next months will hopefully bring full recovery to Scott and an end to the whole nightmare as the case is taken through the court system. None of this will be easy, and it will be a long time before this family will be able to feel safe again. But with the courage, faith, hope, love, and determination of the whole family (including Maggie)-they have a good chance of finding future happiness.

Roger Caras said: “Dogs aren’t our whole life-they make our lives whole.”

I think the Eby family-amd maybe you-will agree. I know MY life wouldn’t be complete without the dogs-especially the Shih Tzu-who have left their pawprints in my life and on my heart.
The Angel
Wore A