In the last issue of Shop.Dine.Live. we took a look at the rugged snow dogs of Adopt a Husky Minnesota. As this issue focuses on indoor entertainment, in it we will examine a somewhat daintier dog who is better suited for the comforts of the cozy fireplace and its nearby carpet. Don’t let their diminutive size fool you, though. The Shih Tzu, whose name in Chinese means “lion dog,” has a larger than life if not imperious presence. Put a Shih Tzu in any situation, and that situation will belong entirely to them with their charming underbite, long eyelashes, and enthusiastic snorts.
Shih Tzu Rescue of Minnesota (STRMN) is a nonprofit that serves to save, rehabilitate, and rehome Shih Tzus who’ve been done some disservice during their lives. Whether they’ve been surrendered by their owner, left to fend for themself on the street (a great feat for a 10 pound dog), or put in any other circumstance not conducive to being a little Shih Tzu, STRMN will scoop them up, put them in a foster home, and invite people to come and adopt them so they may go to the aforementioned Valhalla of the cozy fireplace and its nearby carpet.
Kristi Lehman is a lifelong Shih Tzu lover and STRMN volunteer who dedicates her time to her favorite breed’s welfare. “As small as they are, Shih Tzus defy the tiny dog stereotype,” explained Kristi. “They’re like big dogs in little bodies. They’re very curious and extroverted, and they’re reserved instead of snobby. They can be almost too smart for their own good at times, and have enormous personalities for such a small package.”
“Shih Tzus can be a bit stubborn, but in an endearing way — it’s not like a dog who weighs as much as a bag of groceries can inconvenience you much, anyway,” Kristi continued. “But they still like to be the boss wherever they go. For instance, I give my Piper a snack at eight every day, to settle her stomach. Piper knows this, and no matter what’s going on or where we are at exactly eight she starts doing her characteristic Shih Tzu grumble at me until she’s gotten her snack.”
“Shih Tzus are amazing lap dogs, and like nothing more than to be around you. If you’ve got a Shih Tzu, you’ve got a shadow. The tippy tap of Piper’s nails on the floor is like the soundtrack of my life.”
“Believe it or not, Shih Tzus were bred to be watchdogs! I mean, you’d probably better not count on one as your last line of home defense, but whenever a Shih Tzu hears something out of the ordinary they’ll give you a couple of warning barks. They’ll then go back to being little lumps and let you take care of the rest.”
“One of the things I love most about Shih Tzus is how adaptable they are. STRMN takes in dogs who’ve come from absolutely horrible situations. When they’re rescued they may be afraid of any number of things like men, children, other dogs, and even the outdoors. But with some love and encouragement, nearly all of them overcome their pasts and learn to enjoy life. You can’t beat a Shih Tzu’s spirit.”
“Because all of STRMN’s rescues are placed in foster homes, we get know each of their distinct personalities very well. That means when you come to us to adopt, we’ll know just which of our dogs are best suited for your lifestyle. We’ll guide you through the whole process, and you’ll be so happy with the addition of a charismatic Shih Tzu to your life!”
STRMN is always looking for volunteers and fosters in addition to good homes for their Shih Tzus. While taking in a small pal only to see them leave one day may seem like a heartbreaker in the making, Kristi stresses how rewarding helping a Shih Tzu along their way to their perfect forever home feels. To learn more about how you can be the hero for a good little dog, visit shihtzurescuemn.org
By David Scheller