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 . . .
It has been said that “old is a state of mind.” I certainly hope it is just that as birthdays come and go at a faster clip these days. Every one of my friends knows that I don’t do “OLD” well. Maybe it’s because I see my own mother at 89 with various age-related problems and don’t want to get there myself.

Some people are very good with the elderly. Some make wonderful middle school/high school teachers. All of them are saints in my book. Give me a little kid anyday or, of course, an adorable Shih Tzu-those I can deal with easily.

But as each year rolls around, we find ourselves in Florida for Christmas and the month of January spending it with my mom. Who knows how many more Christmases we will have together? This year was no different. At least the weather was wonderful for our stay there.

Mother moved into a beautiful assisted care facility a year and a half ago. It was an adjustment to say the least as she had lived in her own home independently until then. She now has her own two-bedroom apartment with a small, attached kitchen. Daily cleaning, laundry, and meals are prepared. There are daily activities; Bingo, shopping, and exercising are among the amenities offered in this community. Everyone is friendly and helpful. It is a wonderful facility for someone who can no longer live alone.

This year, dear, old mom wanted a doggy day where the “old folks” could see and touch the furry kids. And, I don’t do old!!!! Fat chance. Of course, I had to do this. Hoping to do it well, I planned in my head which kids to take and what to say.

The day arrived. All the kids were bathed and groomed to the nines. They looked adorable. Would they behave? They have not been around so many different contraptions for walking and moving. Walkers, wheelchairs, canes, braces and people not steady on their feet could cause them problems. I shouldn’t have worried.

I had already decided to take Rush, my “wonderboy.” Denali was my next choice as being solid black, they could see a different color. Then, I thought it might be fun to take Morgan in dripping showcoat for them to see how they look for the ring and finally, two of the Denali/Rush babies, now four months old, for cuddling.

I introduced my entourage and told the audience a little about the dogs and myself, their history and ring experiences. Mother had loads of pictures that I had sent her, and of course, had to have them on display. But, mostly, all the folks wanted to do was hold, cuddle, love and hug a furry dog. Some held a puppy and tears streamed down their cheeks. Another’s smile told me this was definitely the right thing to have done. Comments like, “I always had dogs. I really miss having them now,” broke my heart, as both ladies and gentlemen each wanted a chance to hold a puppy. Who knows when that dogless place might just be where we have to spend the last years of our lives, Heaven forbid!

Rush and Denali were indeed proud of their offspring as they went happily from person to person. Morgan even gave them a demonstration of how he does it in the ring going around all the various apparatuses without problem. Each person present had the chance to hold a dog, see what a well-tempered animal can be and come away from this experience a little happier. I came away with an amazing feeling of having done something wonderful for a small group of people. I reached out and touched their lives with the creatures that have been given to me to love for a few years. They all touched me back with the warmth and gratitude they showed for my effort. The reward was wonderful. To top it all off, it was a great, positive experience for my kids. They made this mama proud, indeed.

Our little breed is so very versatile. They truly were bred to love and be loved. This day was just another example of the reason that Shih Tzu are in my life.

As for “doing old?” Maybe this day was designed to remind me that it is an inevitable happening for all of us as the alternative is not a happy thought. ?
A State
Of Mind