I was visiting my sister in a nearby city where an opportunity to observe some very young Shih Tzu puppies presented itself. We sat outside watching them wander around trying to play with one other on a big blue tarp. They were a little young to be effective but gave it their all trying. Her friend also visiting that day had the adult male and female plus five little puppies to take care of that weekend. They were a complete family. I loved watching the interaction between them all.
We learned that the Shih Tzu name is known as “little lion” and that the breed originates from Tibet and is actually over 1,000 years old. The thought is that at some point in their history they were probably gifted to Chinese royalty where they were then bred with Pekingese or Pugs to create the Shih Tzu we know today.
These little lions were adorable and full of energy. The smallest pup whom my sister named “Snowball” had wandered away from the others. She worked her way right on over toward me. Well, how could I resist? I scooped her up and we had a very nice cuddle. She was quite happy to give and to receive my attention. For several nights after returning home, I would dream about this little white puppy coming toward me and happily settling into my lap.
At home, we talked about the issues of taking care of a young puppy, the training, food, healthcare, etc. I knew that taking in a puppy was like buying a two-year-old. Very busy! Lots of love, time, and attention would be needed. I was unfamiliar with this breed but after observing the adult dogs and the offspring I was quite enchanted. Curiously, I called my sister to ask her if Snowball or any of the pups might still be available and if so, when would they be old enough to adopt. She said she would find out and get back to me.
Soon I heard back from her and yes, the little puppy named Snowball was available. After talking it over again that evening we made the decision to adopt her. Days grew into weeks of waiting. They had some growing up to do.
Finally, the phone call came. My sister and her friend would arrive on the weekend with a special delivery, our newest member of the family. Snowball was now a little over ten weeks old. She fit easily and comfortably in my cupped hands.
As I looked at her closely, I now understood why they were affectionately called chrysanthemum dogs. When you looked at her face at this stage you could see that her hair was growing in every direction. She looked like a chrysanthemum flower and she was full of action. We all had a good time playing with and holding her.
We were careful to cuddle her in bed that night, fearful of leaving her down on the floor where we might step on her getting up in the middle of the night. Imagine my surprise when upon waking in the morning I could not find her in bed. Seriously! She was not in the covers, not on or under a pillow nor the bedspread. Nor on the floor that I could see under the bed. Feeling panicky now, I stood, reached forward, and pulled the pillows, blankets, and sheets off the bed down to the mattress cover – nothing!
I got a flashlight and looked down over the headboard between the wall and the bed. Nothing! I laid down on the floor and shined the light all along the bottom side of the mattress. Nothing. We turned the overhead light on in the bedroom and the lamps on either side of the bed. I got down on the floor again, now with more light, and with the flashlight looked up and down the wall behind the bed again from the floor upward. How baffling!
Finally, with the flashlight once again, I looked once more between the headboard and the mattress itself. THERE hanging within a little piece of gauze fabric lining, shaped like a hammock, was Snowball sleeping peacefully unperturbed by all the fuss going on around her.
We had quite a laugh telling friends the story of her first night with us and how we temporarily lost her.
Snowball became a devoted companion to me for many years. Today she has crossed over the rainbow bridge but will be remembered lovingly by family and friends.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Smith was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest (USA); owned a healthcare uniform business for many years. She also lived in Japan and presently resides in Michigan. She blogs about her experiences and shared observations touching on culture, lifestyle, and the people around her.