Yesterday I put my China doll to sleep. She was 14 1/2 years old. We love and miss her very much. Here's her story:
When I was in high school I studded out my Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso dog (Fuji) with another Shih Tzu. I was told that I would get pick of the litter. When I went to pick my puppy up there were 4 girls. Three had white coats with spots of red, black or both. One sat on pillow, completely red with white socks. I was told that the three white ones were spoken for. It was not our original agreement. I didn't protest because as I tried to play and admire the white ones, they ate, played with each other and ignored me. The red and white puppy sat patiently on the pillow, eyes on me tail wagging. It was love at first sight.
We took her home that day but not before playing with her at the tennis court. She chased after my brother and sister. She barked at the net and pounced at it. She was so tiny that she often stumbled. After her playtime she napped, wrapped in my sweater. To my surprise she was already trained to shake hands. She was the size and color of a tiny gunea pig.
For years, she brought us joy and happiness. Always the loving dog, there to lick your face when you were sad. She enjoyed her head being scratched behind her ears. She would often come sit by you and scratch at your hand until you returned the favor. She often played boxing with you when she was excited to see you come home.
She loved playing with her stuffed toys and loved a good game of tug of war. One of her favorite pasttimes was running off leash, especially on the grass. She enjoyed trips to the dog park but insisted on drinking out of her own water bowl. On some days there would be too many young pups and she would insist on sitting on the picnic table or be held in my arms.
She would nap in my arms or sleep next to me. She often dreamed and barked in her sleep. She enjoyed walks and only walked in the rain with her blue raincoat. She loved me and never got angry with me.
China was the happiest, healthiest dog I ever had. I never thought she was going to live as long as she did but at the same time it never feels enough. I felt in the end she was only hanging on for me (always thinking of me first). I hate to remember these weeks, she struggled to walk and her blindness kept her afraid and vulnerable. At least it came quickly.
On one of her last days I took her for a walk under my baby's stroller. It was windy and she didn't like it. I took her to a less windy spot and she was afraid to walk off leash (her new blindness only setting in last December). It was then that I realize we were doing the right thing. She could no longer fend for herself. She could not do the things she loved. She didn't play anymore. She dreamed less and sleep most of the time. Some nights she cried. Probably scared of the blindess and in pain since her arthritis started setting in. Though painful, I told her to rest and that we would see each other again someday. For years she missed her father (Fuji). I asked her to send him my love. She will be missed.