Living With a Rescue Shih Tzu

So many Shih Tzus have come through our home. Most have been successfully rehomed, some have stayed. Sadly,a few have been put to sleep, but all have bought something with them and all have left something behind.

When we have a new guest I am always filled with sadness. I try to imagine what it must be like for them and how they must be feeling. Is it my imagination or do they look lost and homesick? "what have I done that is so bad?".

It would take to long to write about every rescued Shih Tzu that has come to our home. All of them have been special, but some have been extra special and it’s some of these that I would like to tell you about.


Buddy was the biggest Shih Tzu/cross that I’ve ever seen and a very handsome one too.

Due to the fact that he was so big we were very concerned that he might not find a home. However, we need not have worried and he was soon off to his new home.

A few weeks later we had a phone call from his new owner, he and his wife were heartbroken, Buddy and their cat (a Turkish Van) did not get on. The cat ruled the roost and there was no way he was going to accept Buddy. We resigned ourselves to finding him another home and arrangements were made to collect him.

Then came the phone call, the cat had developed an abscess under one eye and was in considerable pain. From that time on the cat and Buddy were inseparable.

Buddy and his owners enjoyed a daily walk, always taking the same route. As they walked through their usual field of cattle a bullock broke away from the herd and started to thunder towards them.

The couple were frozen to the spot not knowing what to do. They hadn’t counted on Buddy who shot in front of them and with his head down and hackles up barked furiously. The bullock ground to a halt, turned and fled. After that, we were told, Buddy was going nowhere!

Teddy Two

When Teddy Two was bought to our home my husband and I fell in love with him. He had the most gorgeous eyes, big black shiny saucers that melted your heart. His coat was a lovely gold - a little blond bombshell.

I guess we knew there was something wrong with Teddy the minute we saw him. He had many tests but they were all inconclusive. Over the next few months Teddy got weaker but we still hoped for a miracle.

At times he seemed to perk up and would appear normal for a couple of days always followed by a relapse but then he would look at you with those eyes and still we hoped. In the end we knew that his quality of life had gone and he was put to rest. Our vet rang a few days later to tell us that Teddy had had cancer all over his body and never stood a chance.


Harley came from Wales and his early life was a story of cruelty and abuse. His owners had rescued him from an appalling situation and were in despair because of his severe behavioural problems which included biting. He was only one year old and his owners wanted him to have one last chance and we agreed.

His owner bought him from Wales to London so that we could have him. Every Christmas Harley receives a parcel from them,they have never forgotten him. At first glance he appeared a big boy and very powerful and muscular. We learned he had been used to running free alongside his owner as he rode on horseback.

Soon the problems started appearing, feet and shoes - a snap reaction, he would bite instantly (we cured this by feeding him off our shoes). He would attack instantly if somebody entered the room.

Gradually over the months he started to trust again. Our first breakthrough came one evening when he jumped onto my Father's lap.Our biggest problem with Harley is his protectiveness towards women and in particular me. As far as he is concerned I am the cats whiskers and my husband comes a poor second. At times it has seemed insurmountable and we have to think all the time about the situations we put him in and for this reason we can never rehome him. He will live the rest of his life with us.

We have had Harley for 14 months and over that time he has steadily improved. He still has his problems but has not bitten my husband for 9 months!

The first time we took Harley to the park we did so with much trepidation. As he had been used to running alongside a horse, we realised that we would never catch him if he decided to take off. With hearts beating we unleashed him. Well, to say that he was like a greyhound coming out of the trap would be an understatement. We called his name and he ran in a huge circle before coming back to us. Now his favourite pastime is to chase the big crows in the park. We love to watch him as he runs as fast as he can with the crows flying just above him,then it’s a big circle and back to us.

Harley is turning into a loveable dog deserving of his second chance.

Why Do We Do It?

We love them, it’s as simple as that. Living with a rescue can be so rewarding. There are times however when you wish you didn’t do it. Times when it seems you are forever cleaning up after them or when they’re barking constantly and won’t stop.

From time to time we have photos sent sent of the dogs that we have rehomed. Seeing them so happy in their new homes makes it all worthwhile.

The heartbreak can be hard to bear. I still can’t think of Teddy without a lump coming to my throat, but I know that during the time they were with us we did our best for them.

Two Shih Tzu dogs lying down Help Us to Help Them One Shih Tzu dog lying down