What to do in case of pet grief – Part 2

Well, here we are, three months later…the worst thing a blogger can do is leave an unreasonable amount of time between posts, so if you are still with me, I am truly grateful and honored.

The original Angel of Grief in Rome.

The original Angel of Grief in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can get up to speed by reading my last post, “What to do in case of pet grief – Part 1.”

As suggested by one of dear Rumpydog’s followers, I located a grief counselor, named Crystal Bailey. She was not a pet grief counselor but a counselor re the death of humans and was connected to Bailey’s Funeral and Cremation Care in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Actually, she had been recommended to me by one of the provincial health therapists.

I was really nervous at our first Skype meeting — there sat a rather pretty, rather youngish (to me, anyhow) woman, with a gentle voice, who looked just as ill-at-ease as I felt. That’s when I started relaxing. So she wasn’t some tiger who was going to pounce on me and preach at me. I didn’t think she was going to judge me either.

Crystal Bailey, Grief Therapist and Celebrant (Photo credit via Bailey's Funeral )

Crystal Bailey, Grief Therapist and Celebrant (Photo credit via Bailey’s Funeral and Cremation Care, Yorkton)

We introduced ourselves, and I explained the situation.  “Are you okay with the fact that the deceased is a dog (just Oreo had passed on back then) and not a person?” I asked. It seemed a little unusual when I found out she was the grief counselor at Bailey’s. The service was no charge and provided primarily as a courtesy to aid Bailey’s clients.

“I’ve never done it before–that is, counsel someone because of a deceased animal–but grief is grief. We can try it and see,” she answered with a kindly smile. I couldn’t help smiling back.

“Where do I start?” I asked.  We only had an hour and I didn’t want to waste her time, but the butterflies were getting restless again.

“I think we already started,” she said. “Why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself.”

That seemed like a pretty good idea. Like most people, I enjoy talking about myself. After an hour of describing how close Oreo and I were and the things we did together and how cute he had been, I realized I had hardly talked about myself at all.

Oreo, putting his paw down on Ling Ling (Photo credit: Sandra Kirchman)

Oreo, putting his paw down on Ling Ling (Photo credit: Sandra Kirchman)

I apologized for straying and tried to bring the conversation back on track. She smiled and told me to talk about whatever I wanted to, that I seemed to be dealing with the healing very well on my own. That heartened me, and pretty soon I was babbling away a mile a minute about how Oreo was such a gentle being but could put his paw down with “the girls” when he thought it necessary. Most of the time he let Ling Ling be top dog because he loved her, but he wouldn’t let her get away with EVERYthing, especially not a brand-new chew stick.

Time was up.

I was amazed at how quickly it had gone. And I still hadn’t talked a whole lot about me but did talk a whole lot about the three dogs and especially Oreo. It was the first time since Oreo had passed that I had been able to talk about him so extensively, and I told Crystal so.

“That’s good,” she said, “but you have to remember to take care of yourself.”

I paused, then nodded thoughtfully.

“If you want to, we’ll continue this next week, same time,” Crystal said. “In the meantime, you might want to practice being kind to yourself and taking care of yourself.  There’s not too much anyone can do about preventing someone’s death, but we can choose how we deal with it.  You could start thinking about how you want to deal with Oreo’s passing, and we’ll talk about it next time.  Also, why don’t you write a letter to Oreo telling him all the things you didn’t have a chance to say when he was here?”

That was a new thought for me.  Actually the whole thing was a new thought for me.  Crystal sat there smiling, and I waved until the screen went blank, and I was alone, except for Ling Ling snoring in her basket behind my desk.

We’ll continue Part 3 next week (or as soon as I can get to it). If I can, I will also fill you in on what has happened this last three months.  See you then!

Go here for comments attached to the last picture.

    Copyright © 2015 by
    Sandra Bell Kirchman.
    All rights reserved.

What to do in case of pet grief – Part 1

Tilly Tot, Oreo and Ling Ling:  "Yes, we're quite comfortable, thank you for asking."

Tilly Tot, Oreo and Ling Ling

As many of you know, my husband and I have lost two of our three beloved shih tzu dogs in the past four months — the youngest, Oreo, at age six on October 24, 2014 — and the oldest, Tilly Tot, at (about) age twelve on February 14, 2015. The first loss was agonizing; the second, paralyzing.

Oreo:  "My toy!"  A squeaky fave.  Photo credit:  Sandra Bell Kirchman

Oreo: “My toy!” A squeaky fave. Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman

Oreo’s death, totally unexpected, left me in a rage of tears and anger. The pain wrenched at me so badly, I wondered how much more I could stand.  I cried even when I wasn’t aware of it, often waking up from a fitful sleep with tears on my cheeks. You see. Oreo was my loving buddy. While the other two played, or went outside in our big back yard, Oreo stayed by me, sleeping at my feet while I typed away on my computer. The two of us were together pretty much 365/24/7. His absence felt like one of my arms or legs was missing. How could I get along without it/him?

The Adorable Duo - Tilly Tot (rear left) and Ling Ling (front right).  (Photo credit:  (c) Sandra Bell Kirchman)

The Adorable Duo – Tilly Tot (rear left) and Ling Ling (front right). (Photo credit: (c) Sandra Bell Kirchman)

But I hadn’t taken into consideration our two remaining fur babies. Of course they missed Oreo, and they sensed that my mourning had something to do with him. In any event they redoubled their efforts to amuse, entertain, tease and titillate me. It seemed to be working a little.  By the beginning of February, I was able to sleep the night through and awaken with dry eyes and cheeks. I even started dabbling with my blog a bit, nothing too original, but at least I was thinking of returning and had my followers’ best interests blogwise at heart.

Tilly Tot comes to her forever home.

Little sweetheart,Tilly Tot

Then, on Valentine’s Day, our little sweetheart Tilly Tot passed on in the night from a blood clot after dental surgery. At first, grief encased me in a prison of numbness: I couldn’t cry, or laugh, or talk.  I moved around in a daze. After a few days, my outer appearance seemed normal — I talked, did my chores, poured love onto our one remaining fur child, Ling Ling.

However, inside was another story — my heart seemed crushed and my will to live retreated. Sleep became problematic, and I started looking really bad, to the point where the Big Guy (my husband) insisted I go to the doctor. The BG afterward told me I looked so bad, he would not have been surprised to come home from work to find me gone from the earthly plane.

A Ling Ling-Oreo-Tilly Tot story

Ling Ling – And then there was one…

On no account did this mean that I wanted to do myself in. On the contrary, I had made arrangements to start sessions with a grief counselor before Tilly passed, because of the slowness of regaining control of my life after the loss of Oreo. I fully intended to continue with this counselor…I wanted to live again, and I couldn’t as long as I wandered around the twilight zone I found myself in.

Next week, in Part 2, I’ll talk about the grief counseling, some of the other steps I have taken and the results. We are actually in the middle of my recovery: I am documenting it for my own reference, as well as for you in case, God forbid, you should find yourself in a similar situation.

 

Related articles

Beloved Oreo

Beloved Oreo. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Beloved Oreo.
(Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

A POEM FOR THE GRIEVING…

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awake in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die…

Mary Frye

Please forgive me for not having posted Sunday. I have sad news to tell you. Our beloved dog Oreo passed away unexpectedly in the early morning hours of Friday, October 24, 2014. He was six years old. I was simply unable to write about and publish a happy Halloween story.  I could not even write to tell you about what happened to Oreo.  But I can now.

Oreo had started acting unwell during the weekend of Oct. 17-18-19. We noted that, whatever it was, it was not getting better by itself, and we took him to the vet on Oct. 21.  Our veterinarian, Dr. Audrey Tataryn, wanted to keep him overnight because the blood test results showed he had diabetes (unsurprising), complicated by pancreatitis (shocking).  She hoped he would be well enough so that we could pick him up the following day.

When we phoned to find out if we could take him home, she said that he was not responding to the IV drug treatment and wanted to keep him at least another day.  It turned out to be two more days, much to our disappointment.  Ernest and I planned to phone her on Friday.  If she wanted to keep him longer, we were going to ask if we could go and visit him Friday afternoon.

Some inner part of me knew then, but I refused to accept it. Consequently, when the phone rang at 7:20 Friday morning, I was awakened from the sound sleep of the person who is relatively at peace with the world.

It was Dr. Audrey.  She sounded grave as she asked for me…then she said the words that sounded to me like a death bell tolling.

“I’m so very, very sorry, Sandra…” she said.

My heart stopped.  I think I also forgot to breathe. I felt frozen as she finished her sentence.

The Rainbow Bridge - click for story

The Rainbow Bridgeclick for story or select fine art print poem

“…but Oreo passed away in the night.”

I couldn’t speak. The silence stretched on and on.  Dr. Audrey waited patiently on the other end of the phone, seeming to understand my shock, my pain, my paralysis.  Finally, I broke free enough to ask a couple of questions, thank her, and hang up. Ernest came home after I phoned him, and we clung together, our sorrow bonding us instantly.

Ernest went to the vet clinic and picked up Oreo’s remains (it hurts to write that for some reason). Working together, we buried his remains in a lovely spot shaded by an oak tree.  I couldn’t help but think that the novel I was writing, about the end of the world, contained a chapter that seems prophetic.  It was about Oreo being killed by an evildoer.  I can’t think of anything more evil than pancreatitis.

Our whole household is realizing what energy Oreo put out…as my constant, loving companion during the day; Ling Ling’s loyal buddy and eternal friend; Tilly Tot’s gentle protector; and Ernest’s constant, loving companion during the evening.  The house seemed empty, listless, unappealing.  I know our grieving contributed to this; at the same time, it was a bit of an eye opener to find that one little dog could so strongly affect a whole household and all its inhabitants.

We also discovered that Oreo was the messy one and laughed through our tears.  Here we had laid the blame on Ling Ling and Tilly Tot for the carefully orchestrated mess in the living room, the scattered toys, the dragged around puppy pillows, the tracked in leaves, dirt and small sticks.  Now, with Oreo gone, the living room remains relatively pristine.

I will be going on hiatus for a couple of weeks…and decide what to do with Puppy Dog Tales.  The heart seems to have gone out of me to write any more stories about the “three Holy Terrors.”  The two remaining Terrors don’t seem so terrible anymore. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want Oreo’s passing to cause a void…I’d like it to be some kind of meaningful.

Please feel free to leave comments.  I learned that the birthday wishes I received, which I had dreaded, actually helped. I am very interested in what you have to say and what you have done in similar circumstances to regain your equilibrium in life.

Thanks for being here thus far.

Say goodnight, Oreo. Oreo: Good...*yawn*...night.

“Goodnight, beloved Oreo. Rest in peace.”
(Photo credit: Oreo’s loving mommy.)

 

Puppy Dogs Posing for Pictures

Tilly Tot, Oreo and Ling Ling:  "Yes, we're quite comfortable, thank you for asking."

Tilly Tot, Oreo and Ling Ling: “Yes, we’re quite comfortable, thank you for asking.”

Below is the gallery of photos that I promised you. Most of the shots show one or more of the three holy terrors–Ling Ling, Oreo, and Tilly Tot. A couple of pics of other dogs are thrown in to throw you off track. Just to refresh your memory, Ling Ling came to us first, by way of Pekabout Kennels in Calgary. Consequently, we have more pics of her than the other two.

Oreo came to us from another breeding kennel in Alberta, and, finally, Tilly Tot came to us because she needed to be rescued and had to have a forever home to live in. The time period for these pics range from April 2, 2007 (Ling Ling’s birthday) to the present.

I have inserted a brief comment under each image. If you want more information, check out some of the previous posts in this blog, starting at the Introduction.

For a larger view of the pictures, click on the first thumbnail photo. This will not only also reveal the caption, but it creates a sort of slide show, so you don’t have to switch back and forth. All the photos were taken by me (Sandra Bell Kirchman), except as otherwise credited. All the photos of Ling Ling on a baby blanket were taken by Pekabout Kennels; they belong to me. If you have any questions about the pictures or the stories, write to me at raya@fantasyfic.com. Please enjoy.

Good night, all.

Are you an avid shutterbug? Do you keep on snapping if your
pet(s) is/are seen napping ‘cuz they are so cute? We’d love to see them.
Send me your pics at raya@fantasyfic.com along with your name,
the name of your pet, and any caption you would like
to provide (optional).  Please also state you have
the rights to that photo and that you give
Puppy Dog Tales the right to publish it.  Thanks.

 (Next week watch for the horrible, adorable, doggie trick or treaters in “Halloweenies”)

Text copyrighted © 2014
by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
Photos copyrighted © as
marked. All rights reserved.
(Vol. 14.10-3, Oct. 19, 2014)

Adorable or Annoying – Tricks and Traits of Dogs – Part 2

Last week in Part 1, we talked about the unnerving tendency of proud pet parents (p.p.p.) to whip out their wallets and unfold a baker’s dozen pics of their fur babies. You, the reasonably innocent bystander, are expected to exclaim, ooh and ahh like any discriminating connoisseur of baby pictures, furred or otherwise. We took a look at the sweetness of Tilly Tot and the energetic cuteness of Ling Ling. Now we continue with an annoying trait of Ling Ling’s and some delightful or bothersome aspects of Oreo

Ling Ling – Cons

Ling Ling: "I know what I want and I want it now...please." (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Ling Ling hears a noise. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Ling Ling also has some annoying traits, for instance, her reaction to some noises. Three noises scare her to the brink of involuntary peeing…one is the sound of our toaster. It took us months to figure out why, since our toaster is comparatively quiet as toaster monsters go. We thought back a couple of years to remember that one time the toaster element trapped a piece of bread, which caused smoke to waft up and torment the fire alarm. That went off with a great hullaballoo and scared the behoosis out of Ling Ling. Apparently she connected the horrific alarm sound with using the toaster.

Krups Toaster

Krups Toaster (Photo credits: West Elm)

The second thing is Ernest’s air nailer gun. We still haven’t figured out why this frightens her so badly, while none of his other electric tools, like his drill and his stapler gun, produce no more than a cocked ear before she drifts back to sleep. The annoying part is the way she runs around like a headless chicken when the air nailer starts up. It is a crazy, unaware scrambling, and no amount of calming or holding or feeding or playing will distract her from this reaction. I’m not unkind, but, when it gets to this frenetic part, it drives me even battier than I usually am.

Ling Ling is also afraid of thunder (but only because Oreo has a real fear of it and she has picked that up).  Again she reverts to her headless chicken imitation, helping Oreo to keep everyone around her awake for the duration of the storm.

Oreo – Pro and Con

Cuddly Oreo. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman

Cuddly Oreo. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Oreo’s biggest cute trait is his lovability. He is willing to cuddle or be petted any time of the day.  After a remark made in a movie we watched, we promptly nicknamed him “Sergeant Snuggles.”  It fits him so well.

I would mention that he is willing to cuddle any time of the day “or night,” except that’s not true. At night, he is an untouchable. Oh, he’s polite enough, but he sets the boundaries right there. It’s time for bed, so no touching, no cuddling, no snuggling. It’s  fun to watch the way he communicates his bedtime rules. If you try to scoop him up in bed for a cuddle , he will politely but firmly decline by turning into a piece of cement. When you recoil in surprise, he wiggles out and belly crawls away to avoid recapture. You have to really want to play this nightly game to entice his unwilling wee body from the far end of the bed. I have found myself laughing so hard at his innocent little maneuvers that I shake myself up from drowsy mode to wide awake mode and have to work at getting sleepy all over again.

On the flip side, one of the most annoying things about Oreo is his greediness. He will eat almost anything (except lettuce or mushrooms – mushrooms aren’t good for him anyhow). He will go to any lengths to sneak food away from the other two. Ling Ling loves to take a treat outside to lie in the sun and dreamily munch away at it. Oreo will go out after her and start barking at some imaginary intruder presumably on the other side of the fence. Ling Ling will jump up immediately to add her voice to his in a valiant effort to scare the intruder away. Except his voice is no longer there. He is busy back at the treat site, gobbling up her treat.

Final Outcome

Tilly with pink tongue out

Sweetheart Tilly with little pink tongue sticking out between her teeth.  (Photo credit:  Sandra Bell Kirchman)

So here we are, late Sunday morning. Ernest is shingling the roof of the house with his air nailer gun. Ling Ling is going nuts, which is driving me to think unkind thoughts about my lovable little dog. Grrrr. It is approaching the noon hour and Oreo is pacing, waiting for his lunch, right now, if you please, Mummy. Grrrr. And Tilly Tot keeps flopping on the ground in front of me, wanting a belly rub, causing me to trip and throw my body sideways so I don’t crush the life out of her. Grrrr. Yet I wouldn’t trade one of them for the best behaved canine in the West…or the East for that matter.

Who’s a Big Cutie Pie, Then?

Who's the cutest of them all?  (Photo credit:

Who’s the cutest of them all? (Photo credit: “Background image courtesy of Stuart MilesFreeDigitalPhotos.net“)

Look at the photos and the fond smile on the face of the pet parent who is showing you pics of his/her baby. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

I know for a fact that Oreo, Ling Ling
and Tilly Tot are not the only adorable
pets on the block. Do you have any
stories about your pet’s cute
or annoying habits? We’d love to hear them.
Just insert your story in the comments section below.

(Watch next week for Part 1 of “Caring for Others’ Pets Temporarily”
 – Note:  This is, in part, the famous story of Alice the Cat.)

 

Text and photos copyright ©
2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
except as otherwise marked.
All rights reserved.
(Vol. 14.9-2, Sept. 14, 2014

The Dog’s Tao of Itching and Scratching

A Ling Ling-Oreo-Tilly Tot story

A Ling Ling-Oreo-Tilly Tot story

An Itch for an Itch and a Scratch for a Scratch

Have you ever watched a dog with a sudden itch? (Photo credit: © Guillermo Cubillos | Dreamstime.com

Have you ever watched a dog with a sudden itch? (Photo credit: © Guillermo Cubillos | Dreamstime.com)

Have you ever watched a dog with a sudden itch?  It seems like they go crazy or spastic. One version has them stopping in mid-stride and dropping to the ground. Before you can blurt “heart attack,” the dog miraculously comes to life and starts vigorously pumping his hind foot at some part of his crazily-itching bod. After a few scratchy strokes of said hind foot, the itch god is apparently appeased and the dog resumes his original activity.     Another version also has the dog come to a stop, but not as sudden. Actually, it’s more like slow mo, as the dog gracefully pivots on three legs while the fourth (yup, a hind one again) comes up spastically but slowly. For a split second, the dog manages to both scratch and keep on going. Then, as if its leg had a mind of its own, the leg comes all the way up to scratch, while the behind plumps down on the ground.     Then there’s the freeze, plop, and chew sequence, where the dog again stops in mid-stride, flings himself to the ground as if ducking a bomb blast, and furiously attacks a flank or a paw (his own, of course). This chewing goes on for several seconds until the itch has apparently been brought under control.

English: A domestic cat, Felis catus itching i...

Cats do it too.  A domestic cat, Felis catus scratching in Kibaha, Tanzania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, a technique that dogs really get into—the soothing lie-down-and-lick lick. This isn’t your ordinary “yuch, my paws are dirty – lick.”  It’s “darn, that’s itchy and sore,” and thus begin hours of slow, soothing and very noisy slurping, somewhat similar to the sound of loud personal doggy hygiene but not quite as satisfying.

What Is the Cause of This Frenetic Activity?

One is tempted to make a derisive duhhh, itching, dummy. But there is itching and then there is ITCHING. And, when you hear licking in 4/4 time suitable for a march tune (LICK lick LICK lick, LICK lick LICK lick), then you may have a problem on your hands. Mix in a variety of scratching techniques with the marching lick and you definitely have a problem.

The sad eyes of a scratcher.  (Photo credit:  Sandra Bell Kirchman)

The sad eyes of a scratcher. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Take Oreo

On second thought, don’t…I would miss him too much. Let’s just use Oreo as an example. Now, you understand that Oreo is not an outside dog and has nowhere near the desire to take in the great outdoors that Ling Ling has. Apparently, this does not stop him from having allergies. About the beginning of summer, Oreo started to scratch, then scratch a lot, then the licking commenced. Oreo’s vet, Dr. Kent Weir, thought it might be related to a skin problem, although none of us could find anything on his skin. Anyhow, we had to rule out external causes before we started investigating the more-difficult-to-find possible internal causes. The vet recommended a medicinal shampoo and gave us a regime of bathing to follow.     Nobody really enjoyed these frequent baths, but we persevered. Jen, the dogs’ groomer, gave Oreo a fine-tooth going over on his next visit to her but found nothing. We did nothing for a while after that, hoping the itch would go away. It got worse.

 Detritus Can Bite Us 

We finally took him back to the vet and implored him to find the cause and fix it. Even Oreo, who is usually scared to go to the vet’s, was less reluctant than usual. I think he was praying to the doggy gods that the doc would find what the problem was and eliminate it.     Sure enough, he did. This time when we examined Oreo’s skin, there was a tiny scattering of some dark oily substance. The vet scraped some off and examined it under a microscope. Turns out it was a mixture of pollen and other plant detritus that was causing Oreo’s itchy agony.

Happy days are here again!  (Photo credit:

Happy days are here again! (Photo credit: Grant Cochrane | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Bath In Time Saves Nine

The doc gave us another bath routine, plus a recommendation for allergy pills. To everyone’s surprise, after the first bath and pill ingestion, the scratching and licking stopped almost completely. The next morning it had started again, but nowhere near as much as the original scratching and licking. Oreo’s second bath is tomorrow, but after his second daily pill, the itch situation is staying the same. I believe the second bath will move the relief forward, until there is NO MORE itching and scratching.     Have you ever seen the look of extreme relief on a dog who has formerly been traumatized by severe itching and the desperate need to relieve that itch, then who has the itch almost entirely relieved? Look at the picture of Oreo below.

Conclusion

Happy dog Oreo   (Photo Credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Happy dog Oreo   (Photo Credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Every doggy parent knows that some itching and scratching is natural. Excessive activity in this area is not. The doggy parent will also know when the itch/scratch cycle is natural or not. I have seen some dogs scratch in a casual, lolling sort of way when they are bored. However, once the activity meanders into excessive, you will probably want to take your pet to the vet. Your pet will thank you (and the vet) and you will find an inordinate amount of relief yourself from not hearing the incessant licking and scratching.

Update 7-20-14

The above events happened in the summer of 2013.  Oreo pretty much stopped scratching and licking as long as he was taking the pills.  However, once they were gone, he started in again, although not quite as vigorously as before.  What confirmed the main itchifier as outdoor detritus was watching the itch disappear over the winter and most of the cold, wet spring.  Nevertheless, as soon as the plants and grass started drying up this year, Oreo started licking…and scratching.  I asked for and got the itch prescription refilled, which gave him some relief for a while.  But, of course, he can’t stay on the medication forever…partly because he will get used to it and it will become ineffective.

English: Scratching that itch, Cole Stream. Th...

Scratching that itch, Cole Stream. That’s the life, have a quick drink then a good scratch, then wander around a field on the Pevensey Levels. The cow did something similar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Again, poor Oreo is itching and scratching. The other two are scratching occasionally from mosquito bites, but not as studiously as Buddy is.  We try to keep him bathed and hope on for a solution (no pun intended) for the problem.  So it’s back to the vet for Oreo.     I’ll let you know if anything works.

Does your pet have allergies of some kind that make him/her crazy itchy?  Have you found a way to keep the itch activity under control? If you would like to share, please just enter a comment at the bottom of this post where it obligingly says, “Leave a Comment.”

 (Next week watch for “Reincarnation for Pets?”)

Text and photos (except where otherwise indicated)
are copyright © 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
All rights reserved. (Volume 14-7.3, July 20, 2014)

     

The Many Colours of Doggy Love – Part 2

Last week we talked about the varied colours of dogs and how these colours might relate to personality traits.  I specifically referred to shih tzus, starting out with Ling Ling, since those are the dogs I know best, but I bet some of the comments in this mini-series will refer to your dog, no matter what the breed. (See last week’s column here.) Or it could be that I’m all wet, having lost my capability to think clearly.  You could help confirm or deny that with your comments below on what your dog’s coat colours are and what your dog’s temperament is like…please?

Oreo

Here we have Oreo, our one male dog, a purebred like Ling Ling, 6 years old.   His colouring is two-tone brown (beige and darker brown) with a black face.  I picked him from a breeder’s pictures online because he looked gentle and cuddly.

Dapper Dog Oreo. (Photo credit:  Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Dapper Dog Oreo. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

ALL BROWN, BROWN AND BLACK, OR BROWN AND WHITE COAT 
  • gentle and cuddly (can I pick ‘em or what?)
  • stubborn, sometimes mulishly so (maybe this is just a shih tzu trait, rather than a colour one?)
  • demands a lot of attention, sometimes just petting and being told he is a good boy, sometimes lengthy cuddling
  • always wants to be first or the centre of attention
  • very affectionate
  • a great foot licker (if you like that sort of thing, which I do)
  • very healing – he would be a good dog to have in a care home or hospital
  • quite intelligent, but deaf when he wants to be
  • dislikes car rides intensely, likes being at home, not a runner
  • had little or no interest in toys before age 5
  • protective of Mommy, Daddy, and the two little females to a very responsible degree
  • wary of strangers
  • understanding to a certain extent – he is the leader of our pack but lets Ling Ling think she is, until it’s a matter of concern or desire on his part – then he puts his paw down
  • not much of a backyard dog, but likes being outside better in winter
Shih-Tzu

Brown, black and white Shih-Tzu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you all will please put your observations down in the comments below, perhaps we (meaning I) can set up some kind of comparison, and see how many points match and how many don’t.  Yes, this is in the nature of an experiment, but we aren’t exactly dealing with rocket science either.  It will be fun to see the results next week.

We would really love it if you would add your
dog’s information so we can compare comments
and make this  a little more scientific.
If you would like to share, please just
enter a comment at the bottom of this post
where it obligingly says, “Leave a Comment.”

  (Next week watch for Tilly Tot in The Many Colours of Doggy Love – Part 3)

 Text and photos (except where otherwise indicated)
are copyright © 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
All rights reserved. (Volume 14-6.2, June 29, 2014)