From January 2002 until 2003, the late Wendy Brown wrote an online breed notes column "Diary Of A Dogsbody".
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? No, just central heating chuffing away expensively to repel the winter frosts and fogs! And what do our thoughts turn to at this time? Why, to the year ahead of course, and what is in store for us, so I’ll start by telling you a bit about what lies ahead.
With 32 out of 36 judges’ appointments confirmed for 2002 championship shows, we have 19 breed specialists as against 13 so-called “all rounders”, defining the former in the broadest possible sense as those who have at least owned a Shih Tzu at some time in the past. Moreover, of these judges 6 are awarding CCs for the first time. Not too bad really, in the light of our previous experiences.
The first two judges for the year are Brian Halton and Albert Easdon at the Northern Counties Shih Tzu Club. Brian Halton last judged at this level in 1993, when he awarded the Dog ticket to Crossleys’ Santosha Chocolate Orange, (who was to gain his title later the same year), and the Bitch ticket to Stephenson’s Rosaril Classical Jazz (became champion in 1994). Bert Easdon last judged in 1997 in Belfast, when his choice for the Dog ticket was Lovely’s Tatsanna The Sandman, (championship status in 1998) with Ripley’s Hashanah Quite Outrageous At Hebouchon taking the BCC (also to gain her title in 1998).
The Northern Counties Show is to be held on February 3rd, at the Hathershaw Sports Centre in Oldham, and entries close on January 14th. More details from Fay Buchanan at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there.
Something else which I can promise you’ll be getting in 2002 is benching at all the general championship shows, benching which you probably don’t really want. I have a trolley-cum-grooming table, plus travelling boxes in which my dogs are perfectly comfortable, and so do most of you. But the Kennel Club rules stipulate that benching must be provided, benching for which we must pay, although we just want to be at the ringside with our dogs. You see, it is a matter of economics, the benching contractors would not make a profit if they didn’t have a whole show to service!
As pet owners, I reckon we can be sure of looking forward to ever-increasing vet bills. Dogsbody is feeling cross about this, having just heard from an owner who has had bills for over £400 after taking her dog to be treated for an abcess. The treatment included no less than 3 blood tests – for goodness sake, in the good old days an abcess would simply be lanced! What has got me really riled is that the lady was not advised of the cost before the tests were carried out. She is on a limited income and cannot afford to pay. The latest I heard, her friends are raising a collection to meet the costs, but this is damaging to her pride and could maybe have been avoided.
Happy New Year!
Tuesday evening, on UK terrestrial TV, a famous Shih Tzu from the past made a fleeting appearance. The programme, which was on Channel 4, was a documentary about the Queen’s former governess and the Shih Tzu was of course “Choo Choo”. He was presented to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1933, (she was at that time the Duchess of York), and King George VI was said to have referred to him on occasions as “the animated dish-cloth”!
In his book about the breed, the Rev. D. Allan Easton told a touching story about how, during the second World War, Choo Choo was evacuated from London because he was by then old, blind and liable to be worried by the sounds of the bombing. When Queen Elizabeth, as she was then, went to visit him, Choo Choo “hurled himself across the room at the beloved mistress whom he had not seen for so many months. The Queen was taken off her guard. In a moment she was kneeling on the floor, with the little lion-dog throwing himself ecstatically upon her, pulling her hat and her hair in his eagerness. It was as if both had forgotten there were any others in the room.”
Anyone who caught the brief glimpse of Choo Choo on the programme must surely have been delighted at this reminder of the history of our breed. We are all so familiar with that type of Shih Tzu greeting, whether our absence has been for five minutes, five days or five years.
As far as Dogsbody is aware, other countries simply do not
have open shows like those we enjoy in the UK. These are less stressful events
than the championship shows, opportunities to relax a bit and have some fun, and
it is a rare weekend when an open show scheduling classes for the Shih Tzu
cannot be found.
At the Market Harborough Open Show yesterday, Nicky Carlton did a wonderful job of organising a lovely party for everyone and for promoting a happy atmosphere. Judge for the day was Nigel Barker, Wynele, and his choice for Best of Breed was Glenda Gilkes’ Ch Hashanah Love Unlimited for Zeeva. Laura Young’s Weatsom Cool Britannia at Sonoltay won Reserve Best of Breed and Sandra Lintern’s Mingshu High Calibre not only won Best Puppy in Breed but also went on to take Reserve Best Puppy in Show. Well done everyone, and especially Nicky for all her hard work.
It was not for nothing that some earlier versions of our breed
standard included the phrase “very active, lively and alert” – just look at this
little chap! “Hairy”'s full name is Hairy Dawg Du Blossom CGC NA NAJ and Alberta
is currently working on getting his open agility titles, as well as doing
obedience with the hope of getting his obedience title. He so evidently enjoys
every minute of his agility work and what a lovely sight he is, with ears flying
as he takes the jump. For me, this photo perfectly illustrates the value of
doing something like Agility with a breed like the Shih Tzu. It keeps the dog
physically fit as well as exercising his brain, whether you do it competitively
like Hairy or just for fun with some improvised equipment in the back garden.
Mind you, because of their independent spirit, these dogs of ours will not always do just what is required when it comes to serious competition. Someone I know was nearly asked to leave the Agility classes she’d been going to because her Shih Tzu was such a disruptive influence. An example of this was on the seesaw, where the little madam did it perfectly twice but then got bored and decided to vary the routine. Next time round, she lay down at the top, waited until it tilted and then slid langorously down with one paw dangling. To her delight, everyone laughed and clapped, so from then she turned the whole thing into a game!
One of the great pleasures of living with the Shih Tzu is their delight in any sort of activity. Often their antics are more entertaining than anything to be seen on TV, especially when you give them a new toy to play with. Toys don’t have to be of the expensive variety either - one Shih Tzu of my acquaintance likes best of all to play with an empty washing-up liquid container. I’ve always found that one of the best toys for puppies is an old treacle tin filled with a few pebbles to make a rattling noise and with the lid firmly driven home.
Whenever I have seen Mary Ray perform one of her heelwork to music routines, I’ve always thought how fabulous a Shih Tzu would look doing that. Come on, anyone going to have a go?
In answer to the suggestion that Shih Tzu in full coat cannot possibly do
Agility - oh, yes they can! But they might not be able to keep up with Hairy, on
account of wind resistance!
In the very first entry to this diary, Dogsbody wrote, “I
reckon we can be sure of looking forward to ever increasing vet bills”. So
remember, you read it first here! Now, someone has just given me a copy of
today’s Sunday Telegraph in which this very subject is addressed. It mentions a
new EU directive, 2001/82, which will ban the sale of health products such as
flea powders, ear drops and worming medicines unless they are prescribed by a
vet. So no longer shall we be able to pick up these routine medications from our
local pet shop. Instead it seems we shall have go to the vet for these, and pay
his prices too.
The Telegraph writer, Christopher Booker, goes on to say “Last week the Competition Commission launched an enquiry into why British vets already charge up to three times the EU wide average for veterinary products, such as wormers, and up to £60 an hour for their services”.
Confusing, isn’t it? On the one hand some of those clever people in Brussels are going to make sure we have to pay the vet’s prices for everything, whilst others are busy looking into the question of whether we are being ripped off! And then there is the question of complementary medicines such as homeopathic and herbal remedies. I have no idea if these will also fall under the umbrella of the EU directive, but would be grateful to hear from anyone who has information about whether this applies.
At the Northern Counties Championship show yesterday Best in
Show from an entry of 127 dogs was awarded to the winner of the Challenge
Certificate (Dog), Santosha Santorini. He is owned and bred by Sue and David
Crossley, sired by Ch. Santosha Red October (Furaha Feu De Lion ex Santosha
Mistle Thrush) out of Santosha Super Model (Anibes Wishful Thinking Imp ex
Santosha Golden Echo) and was born in November, 1999. Here is Santorini at the
LKA show last December where he won the Reserve Challenge Certificate (Dog), his
first major award. The RDCC at the Northern went to Stotts’ Ch Kevelles
Alive ‘N Kicking, (Denroma The Jazzman ex Amorina Inspirations For Kevelles).
Judge for the dogs was Brian Halton.
The judge for bitches was Bert Easdon and Bequet’s Santosha Rainbow High won the Challenge Certificate (Bitch). Rainbow High is sired by Santosha D’Ya Feel Lucky out of Santosha Red Dawn and was born in May, 2000. The RBCC was won by Anderton’s Pekoe Pick Me Up, (Ch. Hashanah Relentless Pursuit ex Pekoe Polly Put The Kettle On), and Best Puppy in Show went to Roberts’ Zuthis Moonlight Dreamer, (Zuthis Moon Shaddo ex Zuthis Moongem).
Lately it seems as if the Sunday Telegraph has been a good
source of information about dogs. Someone has just sent me an article from this
week’s paper which suggests that elderly dogs may benefit from a vegetable-rich
diet. Researchers in America claim that we CAN “teach an old dog new tricks”,
because a diet containing antioxidants, including vitamins, can help to sustain
mental sharpness as well as increasing liveliness. Unfortunately this effect can
not be achieved by simply “feeding spinach or carrots alone” but “had to be put
into maufactured pet food to ensure they were digested properly”.
Please forgive me for my cynicism but I was suspicious that the example given in the paper, that of a rejuvenated cross-breed, was owned by an employee of a well-known pet food manufacturer! As someone who feeds vegetables as part of the Shih Tzus’ diet anyway, I know this regime seems to suit them, but doubt whether it really adds to their vitality and intelligence in old age. My dogs are too clever for their own good anyway, regardless of age!
Turning to show news, at the Manchester Championship show last weekend Ken Sinclair was the judge. His choice for Best of Breed was the winner of the Bitch Challenge Certificate, Paczkowski's Santosha Seashell To Lauramist JW, (Ch. Santosha Red October ex Santosha Disco Queen), with the reserve BCC going to Franks’ Ch. Hashanah Flash Point, (Huxlor Trigger Happy ex Hashanah Sheer Audacity). In dogs, the Challenge Certificate was won by Metcalfe’s Wingates Dangerous Liason (Imported), (Karyon Cool Connection ex Wingates About Face), and the reserve DCC winner was Clifford’s Harropine Achy Breaky Heart At Cedarhythe, (American Ch. Wingates The Living Daylights ex Ch. Harropine Frill A Minute). Finally, Best Puppy in Breed was won by Williams’ Paliden Calyspo (Harropine Achy Breaky Heart At Cedarhythe ex Paliden Wanna Be A Star).
I heard that, hurtling down the motorway on the way home from this show, two of our well-known exhibitors had the alarming experience of suddenly running over a lot of tiny wellington boots! Happily, these were not occupied at the time by tiny children, so we must assume that a lorry had shed its load on the way to the shoe shop!
Readers of “Our Dogs” will be devastated to learn that Audrey
Dadds has decided to stop writing our breed notes for that paper. After so many
years of dedicated service, (How many years is it, Audrey?), it is hard to think
of doing without her. However can we thank her? Please e-mail Dogsbody (there is
a link to do this at the left) with any suggestions.
Audrey Dadds’ contributions to “Our Dogs” have extended over
at least 25 years, she told me, and possibly nearer to 30 years. Recently I
asked “How can we ever thank her?” - and one reply which I particularly liked
was "just tell her"! So, let’s make sure we do, each of us individually, as and
when the opportunity presents itself.
This is the time when last year’s results are added up so that various achievements can be announced. Top Breeder in the Our Dogs/Pedigree Chum competition for 2002 was Judy Franks, and the same breeder owns the dog to have taken the most Challenge Certificates last year, namely Ch. Hashanah Hot Shot (Huxlor Trigger Happy ex Hashanah Sheer Audacity) with 9 CCs to his credit, also a Utility Group win. Second came Ch. Santosha Stromboli (Anibes Wishful Thinking ex Santosha Red Riding Hood) owned and bred by by Susan and David Crossley with 7 CCs, then Hotshot’s sister Ch Hashanah Flashpoint won 6 CCs and came third.
And now I have an appeal for help. Has anyone had any success with treating a Shih Tzu with quite disabling arthritis? In the case in question, “Rimadyl” has been recommended by the vet as the main medication, but the dog’s owner is wondering if there are any other ways to help this elderly dog maintain mobility. Any suggestions will be most welcome.
I have a lovely story for you, from Nigel Barker of the Wynele
Nigel writes, “On Wednesday I took the pups for a stroll down the lane, not on the leads I might add. Usually they are very good and only run in front of me, looking back to see if I am still in tow, but not this time. They were off. with the wind behind them, straight on to the farmers field. No amount of shouting from me would bring them back - until a pheasant took off and frightened the living daylights out them!
“All three stopped dead in their tracks, turned on their heels and headed for home. “Specs” and “Tops” just made it across the dyke bridge but “Birdie”, living up to her name, missed the bridge and decided to do some dyke jumping instead - without a pole! Since the dyke is about 20 feet across, needless to say she never made it to the other side. She looked a picture flying through the air with her legs tucked up underneath her, until she realised that she wasn't going to make it to the other side. At that point I think panic started to set in, and she clawed at the air in the hope that she would reach the bank. Specs and Tops had crossed the bridge and were watching Birdie as she hit the water, and they obviously thought ‘that looks good’. I don't think I need tell you what happened next, except that I had three wet, stinking puppies to contend with!”
For those of you who don’t know, I should say that Nigel’s Wynele Shih Tzu live in an idyllic situation in the Lincolnshire Fens, with unspoiled countryside around and no traffic to worry about. The dykes he refers to are quite a feature of the Fens, ditches or artificial water courses built to prevent flooding. Fishing three puppies out of one must have been quite a task! Dogsbody is quite desolate that Nigel did not have a camera with him – that would have been a photograph for us all to enjoy!”
News for the diary about a UK show last Sunday comes from a
lady whose name is Anne O. B. Zerver. Whoever could that be? ? Well, thank you,
Anne, it's great to get the results so quickly.
“The Manchu Shih Tzu Society held their first open show of the year at West Bromwich on Sunday, 24th February. Although there was an entry of 67 dogs, there were quite a few absentees, especially from the North where the weather was terrible.
“Having said that, there was a good atmosphere and most people remained until Best in Show had been judged.
“Mrs Pat Parkes judged both sexes and for Best in Show she chose the dog, Barron’s Taraleece’s Measure of Hope at Maitreya. Best Bitch & reserve BIS went to Lintern’s home bred Mingshu High Calibre, who was also awarded Best Puppy.
“Winner of Res Best Dog was Jones’ Lyndew The Ladies Man at Fairlou and reserve Best Bitch was Sandrey & Stubbs’ Truflin’s Inspiration. Best Puppy Dog was the Minor Puppy, Stangeland’s Weatsom Swooney Clooney.” (Anne O. B. Zerver)