Shih Tzu Prelude: Getting to Know You

Day 1 of Shih Tzu Visitation

I had my first visit today with the shih tzu half-sisters, Dottie, Flower and Candy. Five-year-old Dottie actually seemed to warm up to me quickly – at least she didn’t seem to be afraid of me. Two-year-old Flower was a different manner. Barbara, Delores’ daughter-in-law and the dogs’ foster mom, went to pick Flower up to hand her to me, and the poor little thing was so frightened that she pooped. Barbara said that she definitely was a “special needs dog.” (That didn’t frighten me too badly, because, frankly, I always thought that our precious little Yorkie, Joey was a special needs dog, too, and she had never had the traumatic experience of being a puppy mill mommy. She did, however, have the experience of being a temperamental writer’s fur baby.)

As for 2-year-old Candy, Flower and Dottie seemed intent on protecting her from any harm. I took the fact that they sat in front of their sister to guard her to mean that she was the most vulnerable and timid sister.

I stayed for about an hour, attempting to get the shih tzu sisters to let me into their world. Barbara helped by giving me a chicken jerky treat to feed them. Dottie and Candy took it from me, but Flower kept her distance, growling every now and then.

In my head, a vision appeared: it was of friendly, fluffy puppies romping around the house, spunky and lovable. I knew that if I brought these dogs home, if we signed adoption papers, it would not be that vision. I was already a little concerned. Would they be “lovable” dogs? Would they ever be lap dogs, like John and I both wanted? Like Joey was. Like Rosie would have been. Heck, like many other dogs would instantly be. What if we got them home, and they never became “normal”?

While I visited, Barbara had told me that she had been fostering the shih tzu sisters for more than three months. She had also adopted a poodle that she had been fostering, who had also come from a puppy mill. She said the poodle had been very fearful when she got her. She was definitely a lap dog now. Also, she didn’t seem to be afraid and she seemed to love people, especially Barbara.

After hearing about Barbara’s foster experience, I asked her if she thought Delores would agree to John and I being foster parents to Candy and Flower, with the intention of eventually adopting them. I know. It seemed a little less frightening to think of checking these two shih tzus out like library books, instead of signing papers saying they were our responsibility, forever and ever.

I told Barbara that if Delores would agree to that, we would probably foster Dottie as well, so the sisters wouldn’t have to be separated. Barbara thought it might be a good idea and said she would talk to Delores. I left thinking that John would probably like that idea much better too.

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