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Shasta is Dead
Sonya Riggs

Shasta is a Shih Tzu whom the owner decided that she could no longer tolerate because, when she put two wee wee pads down on the carpet, the Shih Tzu got in the middle of the two pads and they slightly parted, and she ended up with an "accident" in between.

As a member of two national breed club rescue groups, I was saddened to hear this, for you see, I was off attending the French Bulldog national in Orlando for four nights, meeting with friends I hadn't seen for two years, and gaining further knowledge of my second breed. A call came into our all-breed club referral line on Thursday evening, and our member who is the volunteer phone person for the month, told the lady not to put the dog down until she could get back to her, and that it might take several days to find a rescue person. The volunteer's first call went to a Shih Tzu exhibitor, who belongs to our national club, and who belongs to a Shih Tzu club in Texas. She told the phone volunteer, "Sonya is breed rescue for Texas." Sonya is not the only breed rescue person listed in Texas. There is also a breed rescue person in Dallas, and one in Houston, and any person who wants to can volunteer to do breed rescue.

Anyone who really loves a breed and loves dogs would go and check out the situation immediately if the contact person could not be reached. In this case, the little five-year-old Shih Tzu was only given one day of grace.

I was met at the plane Sunday afternoon, and the first thing my husband told me was that I had a rescue call Friday night. I was ready to do an immediate rescue if necessary, even if it meant driving back into Austin, which is a twenty-five mile drive. I finally got ahold of the party and was told, "I took her to the vet and had her put down, I just could not stand her anymore because she !@#! all over the house, and I have rheumatoid arthritis and can't get down to clean it up because it hurts my knee."

"Do you mean she had loose stools, and could not control her bladder?" I asked.

"Oh, no. They were firm, but I would take her on long walks which were hard on me, and then after we got back, after a couple of hours, she would get in the middle of her two wee wee pads, and would separate them (the dog's fault of course) and !@#! on the carpet."

"Why didn't you contact the original owner?" I asked.

"Oh, my sister gave her to me, and she didn't want her back," was the reply. I got the number of the sister and called her.

"Oh, I gave her to my sister because she !@#! all over my house, and I'm in a wheelchair. I train Belgians in obedience, and I can't stand to have a dog around that can't be trained." Then the lady started talking about forgetting to tell her handler that her Belgian could scale a six-foot fence. If only they had mentioned the Shih Tzu to the handler weeks ago, since she knows I have Shih Tzu; or called up her obedience trainer whom I also train under occasionally, then Shasta would be alive today. I also can't believe that someone who knows about show dogs wouldn't know about pooper-scoopers so that her sister wouldn't have had to get down on her knees.

The woman tried calling the Shih Tzu ads in the newspaper. Of course, anyone out to make a profit wouldn't be interested in giving a five-year-old bitch temporary shelter.

The sister said that after the other sister gets over putting the Shih Tzu down, she's going to buy her a Min-Pin. I tried to talk her out of giving another gift of a dog, but I think to no avail. I didn't say that I really think a pet snake would be more appropriate, or maybe a pet rock.

I will pick up a puppy in the middle of a busy highway. I once rescued a Shepherd puppy challenging an oncoming eighteen wheeler. I had a Cocker Spaniel come to me in the mini-mall parking lot early one morning after a holiday weekend, when I was on my way to work. He hopped into my station wagon, and over into the back. I went to my vet and left him for a bath, visited him daily for four days, and had tests done for heartworm and had his shots given. He was wearing a flea collar, and I found his owners in two weeks. They reimbursed me for his bath and vet bills. I had a German Shepherd female come up to me at the post office whimpering. She was wearing a collar with no I.D. I opened the door to my van, and she hopped in and I took her to my vet's office. She recognized the vets, and they recognized her, but could not place an owner's name. I put in a call to the local police and to a German Shepherd breeder friend to see if there was a local rescue. I have to be careful of large dogs because of my small dogs, as I cannot endanger them.

All newspapers will run "found" ads free. Some people are so stingy that they will wait for someone to run a "found" ad instead of placing a "lost" ad in the paper. By calling the local police station two days in a row, we reunited the Shepherd with her owner in two days.

I have a clause in all of my sales contracts that if an owner becomes unable to care for or keep a dog for any reason, then that dog will come back to me to be resold or else I will pay to neuter it, and find an appropriate pet home. I will even fly the dog back to my home if they have moved out of state. I believe that we must all start tattooing our dogs before they leave us.

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