Monday, January 30, 2017

Solving Our Dog’s Weight Problem

After the loss of our Schnauzer terrier, Sprite, we decided to rescue another dog. This was a difficult decision after all the issues we had faced with Sprite. He had been abused (causing brain damage), needed immediate surgery upon adoption, and very quickly started having seizures because of the abuse. Although we loved him very much, he never improved and we faced many trials throughout his nine-year life.

We heard about an event put on by Best Friends Animal Society at our local fair grounds. My husband took off work, and we headed up to look over hundreds of dogs available for adoption. I first spotted this cute little dog from the other side of the cages. She was in with a group of Chihuahuas. I kinda rushed my husband through the rest of the dogs to get around to other side to see her.

She was a small thing, only four pounds but nine months old. She was emaciated and had bites from the other dogs all over her. We asked if we could walk around the grounds with her. As we did, a young couple rushed up to us, claiming they had looked at her. The husband really wanted her, but the dog had bitten his wife. That made us nervous.

The pup apparently liked us, though. She cuddled in our arms and gave us a lick. Her paperwork said she was a Tibetan terrier mix. We looked up the breed on the Internet to see that they were a medium-sized dog that can get up to thirty pounds—not exactly what we were looking for. As small as she was, it was hard to picture her getting that big when she was already nine-months-old. We took her back inside and found out she was a rescue from Los Angeles. The Humane Society had rescued her from being euthanized.

Tibetan Terrier
We went through with the adoption.

We named her Chloe Rose and quickly fell in love with her. She started to get bigger and bigger, or should I say wider and wider? It didn’t seem like she ate much, but she had been starved. Five pounds, seven pounds, ten pounds… Her weight kept going up. Her little legs were so short. She started to waddle. Friends would come to the house and comment on her plump, little body.

I took her to the veterinarian where they did testing on her, mainly thyroid testing. Everything checked out. I asked why he thought she was overweight. He said dogs are like people, they come in all shapes and sizes. He gave us a script for expensive, specialized dog food that should balance her weight. Her weight didn’t change. She reached thirteen pounds.

During this time, we adopted two more rescue dogs. They are both taller than Chloe but weigh around seven or eight pounds. They eat more and are less active than Chloe. I thought I was going to go crazy trying to figure out why she kept gaining weight.

Shih Tzu

One day, I happened to be looking through a dog reference book. My mouth fell open when I spotted a picture of a Shih Tzu that looked just like Chloe. I quickly started reading about the breed:
  • The oldest and smallest breed of the Tibetan holy dogs
  • Lion-like appearance
  • Sat around the palace of the Emperor of China and barked to warn of intruders
  • Long, flowing double coat
  • Sturdy build, solid and compact — carry good weight
  • Intelligence
  • Friendly, lively attitude
  • Short snout
  • Large eyes
  • Height at withers (9-10 ½ inches)
  • Weight (9-16 pounds)
  • Short legs

Oh, my gosh! This is totally our Chloe! And as James Mumsford, an American teacher and composer, described the Shih Tzu: "Nobody knows how the ancient eunuchs managed to mix together: a dash of lion, several teaspoons of rabbit, a couple of ounces of domestic cat, one part court jester, a dash of ballerina, a pinch of old man, a bit of beggar, a tablespoon of monkey, one part baby seal, a dash of teddy bear, and, for the rest, dogs of Tibetan and Chinese origin." Hilariously, this is our girl!

No more diets. No more testing. No more calling her fat or chubby. She is solid and compact, the way she should be. Chloe is Chloe—perfect the way she is. Problem solved.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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