|Shiner Bock, 30 April, 1999 ~ 16 February, 2011|
We said "goodbye" to Shiner today, I knew in my heart we would, although the trip to the vet's office was a scheduled routine visit. We listened to Greg as he listed options, but "end phase" was expressed too many times and we knew we had to let her go. When a dog physically begins to shut down, it happens so fast...faster than the humans who love them can absorb what their eyes are seeing and their heart refuses to acknowledge.
She was an anniversary present from Peter and weighed hardly anything at all. She made me think of dandelions gone to seed as she floated and bounced across the room. We already had our huge magnificent yellow lab and our vet, on meeting Shiner, said "Carol, this is a terrible mistake," but he was wrong. The two were inseparable. Shiner had a short period of grace when all was well. I can still see her, in those early years, racing across the lawn chasing balls, hair flying and plumy tail waving. She retained a bit of that joie de vivre right until the end.
Our little shih tzu developed allergies when she was just a few years old. Shiner was like the boy in a bubble and blood tests produced a mile long printout of all the things she could not tolerate. I gave her shots everyday until they no longer worked. There were medicated baths and her bedding was kept spotlessly clean. The list of medications grew longer and more experimental. She never complained and trusted us completely and without reservation.
There were years of daily walks, lab and shih tzu side by side, all through our small town. It was during these excursions that I first began snapping village scenes with my cameraphone and sending them to Flickr....my unlikely twosome part of my creative journey from the very beginning. We were an odd trio and I couldn't begin to guess how many times a muddy battered pick-up truck slowed down with "what you got theah is the long and the shoht of it," or "who's walking who?" Even as late as November, until the snow made it impossible, Shiner raced up Blue Hill Mountain every morning with Peter.
Shiner's decline started in earnest in December. Cooper, the gentleman's dachshund, joined our pack and family matters called us to Connecticut. She met those last challenges and chaotic weeks with an equanimity that would put most humans to shame.
Shih Tzu ~ Lion Dog
Legend has it that the origin of the shih tzu began in ancient China and Tibet. They are one of the oldest breeds of dogs, from at least 1000 BC.
The war years were difficult for the shih tzu; between 1940-1947 registrations dwindled to a total of sixty-one.
They are sturdy, energetic and very attached to their people, but appear aloof and arrogant with strangers.
Shih tzu are very intelligent and equally stubborn.
They are unusually calm dogs and seldom bark. As one friend put it years ago, "holding Shiner is like having a zen experience." Shiner, named after a Texas beer on a memorable day with a special cousin.
I miss you. Dream with the little angels sweet Shiner.