Show Time!!

While this is basically a repeat of last year’s post, the same information holds true for 2009!

Tibetan Apsos at Show ...
Tibetan Apsos at an early show ...

Rocky Mountain Cluster: Once again, we’re gearing up for the largest dog show in Colorado … The Rocky Mountain Cluster held February 13-16 at the National Western Complex (Expo Hall), 4655 Humboldt in Denver. 

The Premium List, which contains information on the show, parking, maps and entry, can be found here … Premium List.  The actual times for judging and the ring numbers are not disseminated until just a week before the show.  

Show Schedule:   Saturday, Ring 6 at 3:00 p.m.; Sunday, Ring 7 at 9:30; Monday Ring 7 at 10:25.  Ring and show times on all the breeds can be found in the Judging Program.

If you’re thinking of attending, please be sure to give yourself plenty of time for parking, getting in the facility, and then finding the right ring and some chairs (rings are marked by numbers on tall poles). Parking, depending on where one finds an open lot, can run anywhere from $5 to $10 — and it may also be a long walk! Entry fee to the Expo Hall is $5.  Please note that dogs not entered in the show are not allowed on the site.  If considering crowds/parking, Friday or Monday would probably be the better of the four days to attend.

As the largest show in the region, the selection of vendors and their wares is pretty amazing … if it’s dog related, you’ll find it at this show!  From art prints, to clothing, to grooming supplies, to dog beds, to K9-related jewelry, to crates and tables, it will be at this show.  Might want to bring the plastic along (and keep in mind that the vendors start packing up on Monday for the return home).

Besides the conformation competition, one can also find other venues such as Rally, Obedience, and Agility.  These are generally held in the Events Center which fronts 47th Street.

Hope to see you there … it’s a great reason to come out and support the breed! If you need more information, please feel free to contact me at:

Loveland Pet Expo:  Now an annual event, ApsoRescueColorado will be attending Loveland’s Pet Expo on Saturday, February 28th at the Chilson Center from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This will be our fourth year in attendance. If we don’t have a foster dog ready for adoption, we’ll take a couple of our Apsos and use it as an opportunity to educate folks about the breed and rescue. If you’re in the area, please come by and say hello!

I am a Lhasa Apso …

Ch. Everglo Zijuh Tomba

By Ellie Baumann 
Lhasa Tales ~ Nov 1977
I am a small dog whose ancestors managed to adapt to the rigors of the Himalayan plateau. The fittest survived, prospered and, eventually, some of the descendants reached this country in the early Thirties. I am descended from this stock.
Adverse conditions high in the mountains of Tibet forced my evolution to follow paths on which other high altitude dwellers were also embarked. Since the area from which I came is an especially cold one with killing frosts as early as August, my body structure had to adapt to the cold as well as to the height of my homeland. I have a shorter tail, shorter limbs, and shorter ears than dogs who live in the tropics. My body is very sturdy and solid with short, heavy bones. I look as if I could go long distances and not tire easily.
Under my coat is a sound body that is quite heavy for its size. People are surprised when they find that under all that hair is an animal who is put together like a tank. I need heavy construction to stand the stress of cold and altitude.

I have not been in this country too long compared to some other dogs you see at a dog show, but those who already know what I look like will probably remember very clearly where you first ran into me. I am not like any other dog that you would meet on a city street or a county lane.

I have a long coat that stretches down to the ground and completely covers my feet. Some people call me the “Jelly Bean” dog because I come in all colors. I can be one solid color or a blending of several colors. I can be plain, or I can be spotted. Of course, with a long-haired spotted dog, the coat just keeps growing and the spot stretches out into a stripe instead. If that happens, I’m called a parti-color. I’m even brindled but again, as the coat grows longer and longer, those brindle lines all run together and you have something like layers of different colors – an overlay.

My head is a little hard to see sometimes for there is so much hair on it. I have a beard. Yes even our ladies are bearded – and my ears blend right into the beard and all the rest of the coat. And, unless the hair is out of my eyes, you wouldn’t know that I could actually see you for my eyes are well hidden by what my owner calls the “head fall.” My tail is generally up, carried in a curl over my back and it’s often hard to know if I really do indeed have a tail. It can be held so tight to my back that you don’t know that it is really there, until I straighten it out and stretch it out on the ground behind me when I sit down …

Sometimes I can be found in a pet shop, but I hope that if you go looking for a Lhasa, you will go to a breeder who is trying to produce the perfect dog rather than the one who is out to sell a litter a month or so many dozen puppies a year.

I am a breed that was raised to be an indoor dog. In Lhasa – the capitol of Tibet – I used to live in the palace of the Dalai Lama before the Communists took over, and in almost every big monastery in Tibet there were a lot of my relatives living right there with the monks. Some people call me the “The Holy Dog of Asia” because of this, but all that I really did was to keep the monks company in their lonely and cold cells. Some people say that I am the faithful dog who followed the Lord Buddha around and who could be turned into a ferocious lion in the twinkling of his eye. I guess that is why so many call me the “Lion Dog.”

The AKC Standard alls for me to be the golden colors of the lion, but the Tibetans say that their lion is the mythical snow lion who is always white with a blue mane. I haven’t seen any white Lhasa with a blue mane so far, so I guess we’ll just have to stick with the western idea of how a lion should be colored.

I can live a long time if you care for me properly and my breed generally outlives the great big dogs, like the Saints and the Danes, or the little ones like the Chihuahuas and the Pomeranians.

There aren’t any bad personality traits in my breed that have to be beaten out or trained out of me in order for me to live in close contact with all kinds of people. I have an even, obliging disposition.

Of course, when I’m going to a dog show, then I look super beautiful because that is first of all, a beauty contest, and I want to look my very best. But with general care and brushing, I can stop traffic on any street, for I am a beautiful, graceful and elegant animal.

After all, I AM A LHASA APSO!!


 Editorial note: Dog shows were originally started in the mid 1800s in England as a means of evaluating breeding stock … a process which continues today. It is not a “beauty contest” as noted above … although some might argue otherwise. Dogs shown in conformation events are not being judged against each other. They are judged against the written standard which outlines the “ideal” dog for that particular breed. If interested in learning more about the dog show, AKC has an excellent resource … A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Shows.

Thoughts on Westminster and PETA …

image002-25There’s been a great deal of discussion making the rounds in the dog communities about a recent LA Times article wherein PETA is calling for the USA Network to discontinue airing the Westminster dog show. While I do believe in animal welfare — so much so that I’m deeply involved with rescue and have been for almost a decade — I do not buy into the animal rights extremist movement as it seeks to destroy the relationship between man and animal.

Libbye Miller, DVM, left the following in the comments section of the LA Times article and which content gives great pause for thought …

No one ever seems to mention the millions of dollars that AKC and the Canine Health foundation have invested in medical research that benefits ALL dogs as well as humans.

Adorable mixed breeds” get cancer, epilepsy, allergies, heart disease, and orthopedic problems just like purebreds. I see it every day in my veterinary practice but mixed breed dogs aren’t tracked like the purebreds so they have a reputation as “healthier” that is actually undeserved in many cases.  … 

Another poster — Debz — goes on to state …

”  … All animals have a certain amount of genetic load, which is to say there is absolutely no animal without some genetic problem of some sort of another. Know anyone who wears glasses? Has allergies? Thyroid problems? Weak knees? Flat feet? A skin condition? Arthritis? A gap between their front teeth? These are all genetic imperfections.

No human is genetically “clean.” Neither is any individual of any species on earth. So this idea that dogs should not be bred because they might have a genetic problem, and that breeders are somehow “evil” for breeding them, is ridiculous. Every single individual of every single species has at least a few genetic conditions.

To use PETA’s logic, all breeding of all kinds (including having human babies) should halt immediately. And to be honest, Ingrid Newkirk (the woman who founded PETA) does believe exactly that. She thinks that humans should become extinct, along with dogs, cats, etc. This ridiculous scenario is precisely what she would like to see happen.

So folks, if that is what you want … if you agree with Ingrid Newkirk’s whacky views, send your hard earned money to PETA. They will help to ensure you are not able to own a dog or cat or hamster or any other pet in the future. They will see to it that you can’t eat meat or fish or eggs or any type of animal-based nutrition. They will work to shut down places like Sea World, the zoos, etc. so you cannot observe the many wonderful animals on the Earth. Eventually, once they accomplish these things, they may turn their efforts to making it illegal for humans to procreate.

If you don’t agree with their extremist views, wise up and start supporting those who truly do love, care for and enjoy interaction with other species here on our little blue planet.

The fanciers of the breeds, those you see exhibiting their dogs at Westminster and other dog shows, work very hard to eliminate serious genetic conditions. They screen their breeding stock with every available test. They research pedigrees before breeding into other lines, to check for similar clearances in those animals. They contribute money to research organizations to further the work being done to track down genetic problems. They contribute blood, cell samples, etc. from their own animals to help with DNA and genome studies. They have made great progress so far, and they continue to work hard at it.   [Emphasis added]

Are there unethical breeders? Certainly, there are. Just as in any group of humans, you will find the good and the bad. United States VP Elect Joe Biden, for example, managed to find a not so good one when he got his new German Shepherd puppy. I don’t know who did his research for him, but they obviously didn’t do their homework if they were looking for a responsible breeder. Joe has the right to get his dog from whomever he wishes, but if he was trying to set an example of purchasing from a responsible hobby breeder he went off the track this time. That’s too bad, but it was his choice.

Unfortunately, breeders like that may be a lot easier to find because of their high volume and high profile. If you are looking for a nice family pet from a breeder who will be there for you forever, you need to do due diligence. You won’t get that from a pet store. You won’t get that from the guy selling dogs out of his pickup truck in the WalMart parking lot. You won’t get that support from a high-volume breeder, either. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort to find someone who really cares and does all the work to breed the healthiest, happiest puppies possible and then stands behind those puppies.

This is a living being that will be part of your family, hopefully, for many years. Isn’t it worth a bit of effort to find a breeder who will be there for you and that puppy forever?

And guess what? Shows like Westminster are a very valuable resource for finding breeders who do care and who use the best possible practices, as well as for learning more about the various breeds.

Bravo to USA Network for broadcasting the Westminster Kennel Club show all these years. May they enjoy continued success through the ongoing inclusion of such programs. I will be eagerly watching this year’s show!”

You can bet I’ll be watching as well!!   As pointed out in the above, there are “Breeders” seeking to preserve who expend a great deal of time, effort, passion and personal funding in order to produce sound, healthy dogs.  There also those “breeders” who seek only to capitalize on what can be produced with no regard for dog or purchaser past net profit.  As diligent owners, it falls upon us to distinguish between the two.

Westminster:  NIGHT 1:
Monday, February 9
Hound, Terrier, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups
8-9 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network
9-11 p.m. (ET) live on CNBC
Tuesday, February 10
Sporting, Working and Toy Groups, Best In Show
8-11 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network

Breed judging highlight videos are available throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday on the Westminster Web site. These highlights will be available after the show.

Ringing in the New Year …

singingdoglrgWhen’s the last time you heard a song about a Lhasa Apso?  Probably … never.  If that’s the case, then I have a rare treat for you.  Canadian singer, Nancy Simmonds, has produced several CDs highlighting various breeds.  She’s done an excellent job on her research of the breeds, their characteristics and then weaving them into song.

One can hear Get Set Tibet in its entirety at  If you can’t access the song at Stumble, try the link below …

Scroll down and then click on the play button (circle) to the far left — not the song title.  And then even further down on the left, you’ll find all the different “litters” listed …
This link shows all the different songs/breeds on each CD. 
One simply has to listen to the one about the JRT … ’tis a hoot!!  I like ballad-type songs and the following give fabulous “visuals” of the different breeds …
CD #1   Welsh Corgi  (probably my fav)
     #2   Basenji, Borzoi
     #3   Irish Setter, Saluki
     #4   Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Newfoundland, Norwegian Elkhound
     #5   Samoyed
     #6   Viszla, Irish Wolfhound
     #7   Weim
     #8   JRT, Shih Tzu

We Need to Talk …

tzu-w-presentFor several years now, we’ve seen and heard all the different news accounts of pets being made ill or out right poisoned by products manufactured overseas.  And it doesn’t stop with just products for animals … baby formula, pot pourri, toothpaste, sea food, toys … you name it.  In the interest of our health — and our pets health/well being — owners need to be hyperviligant about bringing in items manufactured outside the US.

The vast majority of our pets will be participating in Christmas with us.  Other family members include them in their holiday gift buying … and this is where we need to talk.  Many well-meaning gifters will not be aware of the contamination of products for our pets.  This is where you — as the owner — need to carefully inspect packaging for country of origin as well as overall safety of the item.  Read the label carefully — that country of origin is often buried in small print.  Does it have small pieces that can be chewed off and ingested?  It is a ball that a tongue can be caught in, cutting off circulation?  If your dog is a “heavy” chewer, can the item be easily destroyed and eaten?  If in doubt, get rid of it!  The toy or treat you toss out may just save you $$$$ in vet bills.

Santa Paws is coming!!
Santa Paws is coming!!

Dogs and chocolate. Dogs and high-fat foods.  All deadly combinations that are accessible during the holidays.  Chocolate is a known poison to dogs (especially dark chocolate and small dogs).  High fat foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs … an extremely painful and life-threatening condition.  Skip the fat, treat with veggies if one absolutely must (and not the veggies swimming in gravy!).

Santa Paws can continue to visit … just make sure that what he’s carrying in his sack is safe for those little ones (or not-so-little ones)!!

And, if you’re still feeding the ever-popular chicken strips to your dog, please read the latest update from the FDA as of December 19, 2008.

News Flash from the Eukanuba National Dog Show …

Fernando (Best in Show, Seward, NE)
CH FFT Fernando

Just got word this afternoon that Dante’s littermate … CH FFT Fernando … took Best of Breed and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor at the Eukanuba National Dog Show in Long Beach, CA, with his breeder/owner/handler, Julie Timbers.

Best of Opposite Sex was CH Nothing But Trouble handled by Cindy Butsic. 

Shirley Clark and Paris picked up one of two Awards of Merit handed out.

Expertly handled by Julie, Fernando is a beautiful representation of the breed and well deserving of the placement.  Congrats to going out to Julie and Debby for this major win!

Dante says …. Go, Brother, Go!!!  And we’ll be keeping our paws crossed for a win in the Non-Sporting Group!

Potpourri / Strychnine Warning …

There have been at least two reports in the past ten days of dogs dying of strychnine poisoning after ingesting potpourri. 

A case in Indiana involved potpourri imported from India by a company in California and then sold at the owner’s local Walmart.  The owner of the deceased dogs (two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) is working to have the product removed/banned.  Case studies by an English lab on toxic potpourri from India note that the tree, Strychnos nux-vomica, is native to India and is the chief commercial source of strychnine. 

The primary effect of the toxin is on the neurological system. The toxin interferes with inhibitory transmitters, which produce a state of muscle rigidity and stimulation. Death is often caused by the effect on muscles that stimulate breathing.

What to Watch For:

Violent seizures
Muscle stiffness
Fast heart rate
Difficult or slow breathing
Cessation of breathing and death

If you have any kind of potpourri in the home, please make sure it is inaccessible to both children and pets.  Even if your potpourri doesn’t contain strychnine, it can cause an obstruction in the pet’s intestine if ingested.

UPDATE:   This site …   Pets911 … contains more information on the potpourri as well as links to other sites referencing the incident and original email which was circulated by Karen Cantner, who is a show breeder of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels out of Evansville, IN.

Happy Howlidays … or how you can help …

Welcoming Santa Paws ...
Welcoming Santa Paws ...

Thanksgiving came late this year so, a scant three+ weeks later, Christmas will be upon us.  This is about the time I start hyperventilating as I’ve literally not done a thing for the holiday preparations.  No gifts purchased — no decorations put up yet — haven’t even started my annual Christmas newsletter or my cards that I send out every year to the adoptive families.  I consider it lucky that I’ve made it this far in the year.  Between work, the house/yard, the rescues, being elected as a Board member with the national breed club, and showing Dante as a special, it has been an unbelievably busy year.

While the rest of you are making those lists and checking them twice, I would ask that you keep rescue in mind.  Besides the ever present need for foster homes, funding is always an issue.  I understand that the economy is an issue for virtually most of the people I know … at the current rate, my “retirement program” will be working as a greeter, “Hi, welcome to Wal-Mart.”    :::sigh:::

If you are interested in fostering — making a difference in the life of a dog — please contact me directly at  However, one does not need to foster to be of assistance … 100 Ways to Help Rescue.  Granted, a few additional foster homes would be a gift from heaven for us!!  If you’d like to make a donation of some type, please contact me at the above-noted email for details. Some folks make a monetary donation at the holidays; some on the anniversary of their adoptions; others to commerate their Apso’s birthday; and yet others in memory of a beloved companion.   Please be assured that any donation of time or money is gratefully accepted.

This post would not be complete without a “thank you” to our rescue volunteers.  If you’ve adopted from us, you’ve most likely met one or both of them … Sue S. of Parker who does our metro Denver homevisits, and Michelle R. of Wellington who has been involved with fostering and assisting/attending the various functions, i.e, pet expos and what we hope is an annual picnic.  Michelle is also our very capable webmistress.  Their dedication and service to rescue is truly priceless.  With their assistance, we’ve been able to help even more Apsos and still maintain some semblence of sanity.  Thank you, ladies …

Perhaps between now and Christmas I’ll get something up for the cat to take apart and stash down in the basement under the throw rugs.  He’s particularly fond of the little gold dingleball decorations attached to the garland that finds it way to the floor with his “help.”

Old Dogs …

My beautiful red girl, Ali, turned eleven earlier this month.  While that’s not “old” considering some Apsos can live well into their late teens or even into their 20s, she has entered what I term the “worry years.”  There’s this little nagging thought at the back of my brain which reminds me her days are numbered.  All that remains is what that number actually is … a mystery at this point.  And so, from time to time, I worry.  How long?  How will her health hold out?  Is she developing arthritis or a little doggy dementia?  Is there something I can do to mitigate the aging process besides what I’m already doing?  Each day becomes more precious as I notice the subtle signs of aging. 

Ali ... with that Mona Lhasa smile

Ali … with that “Mona Lhasa” smile

Old Dogs …

 They can be eccentric, slow afoot, even grouchy. But dogs live out their final days, says The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten, with a humility and grace we all could learn from.

Not long before his death, Harry and I headed out for a walk that proved eventful. He was nearly 13, old for a big dog. Walks were no longer the slap-happy Iditarods of his youth, frenzies of purposeless pulling in which we would cast madly off in all directions, fighting for command. Nor were they the exuberant archaeological expeditions of his middle years, when every other tree or hydrant or blade of grass held tantalizing secrets about his neighbors. In his old age, Harry had transformed his walk into a simple process of elimination – a dutiful, utilitarian, head-down trudge. When finished, he would shuffle home to his ratty old bed, which graced our living room because Harry could no longer ascend the stairs. On these walks, Harry seemed oblivious to his surroundings, absorbed in the arduous responsibility of placing foot before foot before foot before foot. But this time, on the edge of a small urban park, he stopped to watch something. A man was throwing a Frisbee to his dog. The dog, about Harry’s size, was tracking the flight expertly, as Harry had once done, anticipating hooks and slices by watching the pitch and roll and yaw of the disc, as Harry had done, then catching it with a joyful, punctuating leap, as Harry had once done, too.

Harry sat. For ten minutes, he watched the fling and catch, fling and catch, his face contented, his eyes alight, his tail a-twitch. Our walk home was almost … jaunty.

Some years ago, The Washington Post invited readers to come up with a midlife list of goals for an underachiever. The first-runner-up prize went to: “Win the admiration of my dog.”

It’s no big deal to love a dog; they make it so easy for you. They find you brilliant, even if you are a witling. You fascinate them, even if you are as dull as a butter knife. They are fond of you, even if you are a genocidal maniac. Hitler loved his dogs, and they loved him.

Puppies are incomparably cute and incomparably entertaining, and, best of all, they smell exactly like puppies. At middle age, a dog has settled into the knuckle-headed matrix of behavior we find so appealing – his unquestioning loyalty, his irrepressible willingness to please, his infectious happiness. But it is not until a dog gets old that his most important virtues ripen and coalesce. Old dogs can be cloudy-eyed and grouchy, gray of muzzle, graceless of gait, odd of habit, hard of hearing, pimply, wheezy, lazy, and lumpy. But to anyone who has ever known an old dog, these flaws are of little consequence. Old dogs are vulnerable. They show exorbitant gratitude and limitless trust. They are without artifice. They are funny in new and unexpected ways. But, above all, they seem at peace.

Kafka wrote that the meaning of life is that it ends. He meant that our lives are shaped and shaded by the existential terror of knowing that all is finite. This anxiety informs poetry, literature, the monuments we build, the wars we wage-all of it. Kafka was talking, of course, about people. Among animals, only humans are said to be self – aware enough to comprehend the passage of time and the grim truth of mortality. How, then, to explain old Harry at the edge of that park, gray and lame, just days from the end, experiencing what can only be called wistfulness and nostalgia? I have lived with eight dogs, watched six of them grow old and infirm with grace and dignity, and die with what seemed to be acceptance. I have seen old dogs grieve at the loss of their friends. I have come to believe that as they age, dogs comprehend the passage of time, and, if not the inevitability of death, certainly the relentlessness of the onset of their frailties. They understand that what’s gone is gone.

What dogs do not have is an abstract sense of fear, or a feeling of injustice or entitlement. They do not see themselves, as we do, as tragic heroes, battling ceaselessly against the merciless onslaught of time. Unlike us, old dogs lack the audacity to mythologize their lives. You’ve got to love them for that.

The product of a Kansas puppy mill, Harry was sold to us as a yellow Labrador retriever. I suppose it was technically true, but only in the sense that TicTacs are technically “food.” Harry’s lineage was suspect. He wasn’t the square-headed, elegant type of Labrador you can envision in the wilds of Canada hunting for ducks. He was the shape of a baked potato, with the color and luster of an interoffice envelope. You could envision him in the wilds of suburban Toledo, hunting for nuggets of dried food in a carpet.

His full name was Harry S Truman, and once he’d reached middle age, he had indeed developed the unassuming soul of a haberdasher. We sometimes called him Tru, which fit his loyalty but was in other ways a misnomer: Harry was a bit of an eccentric, a few bubbles off plumb. Though he had never experienced an electrical shock, whenever he encountered a wire on the floor-say, a power cord leading from a laptop to a wall socket-Harry would stop and refuse to proceed. To him, this barrier was as impassable as the Himalayas. He’d stand there, waiting for someone to move it. Also, he was afraid of wind.

While Harry lacked the wiliness and cunning of some dogs, I did watch one day as he figured out a basic principle of physics. He was playing with a water bottle in our backyard-it was one of those five-gallon cylindrical plastic jugs from the top of a water cooler. At one point, it rolled down a hill, which surprised and delighted him. He retrieved it, brought it back up and tried to make it go down again. It wouldn’t. I watched him nudge it around until he discovered that for the bottle to roll, its long axis had to be perpendicular to the slope of the hill. You could see the understanding dawn on his face; it was Archimedes in his bath, Helen Keller at the water spigot.

That was probably the intellectual achievement of Harry’s life, tarnished only slightly by the fact that he spent the next two hours insipidly entranced, rolling the bottle down and hauling it back up. He did not come inside until it grew too dark for him to see.

I believe I know exactly when Harry became an old dog. He was about nine years old. It happened at 10:15 on the evening of June 21, 2001, the day my family moved from the suburbs to the city. The move took longer than we’d anticipated. Inexcusably, Harry had been left alone in the vacated house-eerie, echoing, empty of furniture and of all belongings except Harry and his bed – for eight hours. When I arrived to pick him up, he was beyond frantic.

He met me at the door and embraced me around the waist in a way that is not immediately reconcilable with the musculature and skeleton of a dog’s front legs. I could not extricate myself from his grasp. We walked out of that house like a slow-dancing couple, and Harry did not let go until I opened the car door.

He wasn’t barking at me in reprimand, as he once might have done. He hadn’t fouled the house in spite. That night, Harry was simply scared and vulnerable, impossibly sweet and needy and grateful. He had lost something of himself, but he had gained something more touching and more valuable. He had entered old age.

In the year after our move, Harry began to age visibly, and he did it the way most dogs do. First his muzzle began to whiten, and then the white slowly crept backward to swallow his entire head. As he became more sedentary, he thickened a bit, too.

On walks, he would no longer bother to scout and circle for a place to relieve himself. He would simply do it in mid-plod, like a horse, leaving the difficult logistics of drive-by cleanup to me. Sometimes, while crossing a busy street, with cars whizzing by, he would plop down to scratch his ear. Sometimes, he would forget where he was and why he was there. To the amusement of passersbys, I would have to hunker down beside him and say, “Harry, we’re on a walk, and we’re going home now. Home is this way, okay?” On these dutiful walks, Harry ignored almost everything he passed. The most notable exception was an old, barrel-chested female pit bull named Honey, whom he loved. This was surprising, both because other dogs had long ago ceased to interest Harry at all, and because even back when they did, Harry’s tastes were for the guys.

Still, when we met Honey on walks, Harry perked up. Honey was younger by five years and heartier by a mile, but she liked Harry and slowed her gait when he was around. They waddled together for blocks, eyes forward, hardly interacting but content in each other’s company. I will forever be grateful to Honey for sweetening Harry’s last days.

Some people who seem unmoved by the deaths of tens of thousands through war or natural disaster will nonetheless grieve inconsolably over the loss of the family dog. People who find this behavior distasteful are often the ones without pets. It is hard to understand, in the abstract, the degree to which a companion animal, particularly after a long life, becomes a part of you. I believe I’ve figured out what this is all about. It is not as noble as I’d like it to be, but it is not anything of which to be ashamed, either.

In our dogs, we see ourselves. Dogs exhibit almost all of our emotions; if you think a dog cannot register envy or pity or pride or melancholia, you have never lived with one for any length of time. What dogs lack is our ability to dissimulate. They wear their emotions nakedly, and so, in watching them, we see ourselves as we would be if we were stripped of posture and pretense. Their innocence is enormously appealing. When we watch a dog progress from puppyhood to old age, we are watching our own lives in microcosm. Our dogs become old, frail, crotchety, and vulnerable, just as Grandma did, just as we surely will, come the day. When we grieve for them, we grieve for ourselves.

From the book Old Dogs, text by Gene Weingarten and Michael S. Williamson, based on a longer excerpt that originally appeared in The Washington Post.

© 2008 by Gene Weingarten and Michael S. Williamson.    Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster Inc.

The Tibetan Dog Reincarnation …

As appearing in the November 18, 2008 The Norman Transcript … 

Bedtime for Buddhas
Bedtime for Buddhas – L. Park

The Tibetan Dog Reincarnation

In Tibetan lore each Lama (like the Dali) has a Temple dog. When a Lama dies it is believed that he is reincarnated as another Temple dog. Thus he would serve two lifetimes of strict adherence to ritual worship, chanting, meditating, sacrifice, no tv, no dessert and no squeaky bone toy.

Sid saw Buster abandoned on the highway. At first she thought he was a porcupine. Covered with burrs, leaves and sticks, his hair matted in dreadlocks, he was a pitiful sight, but… he was a dog.

She pulled over, opened the door and picked up Buster. It was a hot Saturday afternoon in southern Pennsylvania. Sid drove back to the State Police Barracks and asked the location of the Humane Society.

“Don’t have one in Fulton County,” said the policeman.

“A dog catcher?” she asked.

“I saw his wife at the grocery store. He’s gone for the weekend. Be back Tuesday,” replied the officer cheerfully.

“Is there someplace I could ask about a lost dog report? Like a radio station or newspaper?”

“Nope. But you could take him to the pound in Adams County. Just don’t tell them you’re from Fulton County or they won’t take him.”

He gave Sid a pair of plastic handcuffs so she could take Buster out to pee. Bent at the waist, grasping the stiff handcuff leash she looked like a beachcomber dusting the lawn with a giant hairball.

At a strip mall in Chambersburg she bought a leash, harness, crate and dog food. This was how she arrived at her destination, the house of a friend who promptly said, “You can’t leave it here.” She put him in his crate, from which he escaped three times, the last of which was from the crate; duct-taped, bungee-corded, locked and put in the garage… in 15 minutes. Houdini couldn’t have done it better. They all agreed that Buster had adopted Sid.

Later at the dog wash, the attendant recognized the flea-bitten, moth ridden, canine flannel rag mop as a Lhasa Apso, a revered Tibetan Temple Guard Dog. Trying to recreate his recent history, they concluded that after his first life as a Lama, followed by his reincarnation as a lama’s dog, both lives spent under strict monastic guidelines, he had finally escaped.

“Free at last. Free at last,” he must have been chanting when Sid picked him up on the highway, handcuffed him, crated him, then the final indignity, had him neutered.

Which just goes to show you that the grass ain’t always greener on the other side of the Dali.

~~ Baxter Black, author, cowboy poet and former large animal veterinarian, lives in Benson, Ariz.


A Special Rescue …

… may we all have someone so special in our lives.

I Rescued a Human Today …

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor, peering apprehensively into the kennels.
I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.
I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel, I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage.
I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today.
Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card, I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past.
I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.
She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.
I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.

Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.
A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.
So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors.
So many more to be saved.
At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Tricks of the Trade …

Having multiple dogs in the house … and grooming those dogs (mine and the foster dogs) … plus showing Dante, I’ve picked up a few pointers along the way from groomers and exhibitors regarding equipment and grooming supplies.   

I do all my own grooming (pet, show and foster) and recouped my equipment costs literally years ago.  Figure $70 every six weeks for two pet clips = $606 a year … and that doesn’t even begin to add in grooming costs for the foster dogs or show grooming for Dante.  Grooming gives me an additional chance to bond with the dogs, and for them, grooming day isn’t such an ordeal … and they always get treats afterwards!

For those interested in doing their own grooming, I have two recommendations as a priority — a stand dryer and an adjustable grooming table.  For the dryer, I recommend an Edemco and you have two good choices from PetEdge: Search Results … the ED70016 for $429 or the ED3002 for $319.  Having a stand dryer will cut down on the amount of time needed to dry and you get to use two hands in the process.
Basement grooming area ... "DogRoom"
Basement grooming area ... "DogRoom"
I prefer an adjustable 36×24 grooming table for home use.  Plenty of room and gives you the option of standing or sitting.  My choice (and this is about half of what I paid nine years ago for the same table) … PetEdge: Master Equipment Adjustable Height Grooming Tables.  Note the cushioned flooring in the main grooming area, purchased at Sam’s Club.
Clippers and how to use them … Andis or Oster are two good choices.  Because my basement is unfinished and without enough electrical outlets, I went with the Andis cordless model (which also means I’m not fighting a cord around a dog — a professional, we’re not!). 
This video is a good choice for getting started as it goes over bathing, clippers and techniques … “Grooming Your Dog – Basic Haircuts.”  One can also find grooming videos (Apso and Tzu) on YouTube with a quick search.  Just keep in mind that it’s only hair and it will grow back … one does get better with practice!
I have a grooming arm on the table (for the foster dogs’ safety) and recommend one from Table Works – Folding Grooming Arms (medium) as well as the tool caddy that fits the arm (use the side button link to see the caddy).  The tool caddy is unbelievably handy and I wish I’d gotten it sooner.  For those not wishing to purchase a stand dryer, the 24″ Table Works – Dryer Holder is a functional and well-built product.  Don’t waste your money on any other brand (been there/done that).  I can’t wait for the POS I currently have to give out so I can get one from Tableworks. 
Brushes.  I’ve used All Systems, Mandan, Christensen and MasonPearson.  I keep coming back to two … a Christensen pin brush and a bristle/nylon Mason Pearson.  Am currently using the 27 mm oval Fusion Pin Brushes.   It has brass pins and really does help cut down on the static generated.  Christensen has a #10 Buttercomb 7″ coarse rat-tailed comb which is good for faces and putting in a part down the back … Combs & Handles… as well as the #000 Buttercomb 7.5″ fine/course comb for overall use.  Christensen brush and comb “pins” are ground and polished which results in a smoother tip.  There really is a difference … Tip Test.   I do not use brushes with the little “balls” on the pin tips as this is hard on the coats (generally what one finds in the big box stores).
If you use a slicker brush (great for pulling out undercoat), Christensen has those as well … Slickers.  I have a Mark II that I use on the pet coats.  I found the All Systems Dematting Comb to be a good investment for my coats all around.
The Mason Pearson bristle/nylon brush I recommend is the brown Pocket size.  With two types of bristles, it gently teases out tangles without harming the coat.
If needing latex bands to keep hair up, I recommend these outlets … Lainee, Ltd. and Ena Lane.  I store my bands in their original bags in a ziplock bag in the freezer to keep the latex fresh.  No need in having a huge container of bands out.  The tiny imported compartment box from Lainee is quite handy for this …
Scissors.  Definitely get what you pay for here … invest a little more.  Suggest you go to a dog show and cruise the vendors, pick up and feel/fit the scissors to your hand.  I’d start out with a straight pair, probably 7-8 inches, and a curved pair.  Whatever you get, do not drop them as this can cause the blades to “nick” each other.  And then you have a blade that doesn’t cut smoothly, which means you’ll have to have them sharpened at the next show you go to.  I also like a small pair for trimming foot pads.
One doesn’t need to have a show dog to realize the benefit of having exercise pens, especially if doing a lot of traveling with dogs … J-B Deluxe Exercise Pen.  Also handy are Ground Covers.  Keeps the dog from getting soaking wet in the grass if it’s been raining.  The urine flows through it, keeping the dog clean.  Easy enough to clean up with a bucket of water, dries quickly and can be rolled up for storage/transport.
Camping with x-pens and ground covers
Camping with x-pens and ground covers -- front row, l-r, Dinky, Ali and Frankers; back row, l-r, Sierra & Emma

Crates:  I recommend a Mid-West 2-door crate in the 1624 DD model.  The double doors (DD) are great for vehicle or home use.  Also of benefit is a floor grate … Dog Crate Accessories – Midwest Divider Panels & Floor Grids for Dog Crates  (#1624 DD) … and recommended because the plastic pan will cause huge amounts of static if in contact with the dog’s coat.  Plus, if the dog has an accident or gets sick, the dog stays cleaner as any liquid falls through the grating.  And, yes, you’ll probably pay more for the floor grate than you will for the crate!

While this is pretty much falls under show equipment (used to get gear in/out of a show site), it is unbelievably handy around the house/yard as well.  I have this set up … MicroCart – ($105 shipped … and you can read my review on the site).  This next site, however, shows how versatile the cart is … Micro Cart.  I had occasion to use it during an office move a couple years ago as well. 
If you have a male with housetraining issues, I recommend the adjustable Belly Bands from Small Dog Shop.  They are more form fitting and, thus, more comfortable for the dog.  Lined with a Depends or Serenity pad, they work great to contain male marking, keeping the boys and the furnishings clean.  And the adjustable type allows you to use it on similar-sized dogs.  In order to keep Dante clean on show weekends, he sports a belly band every trip outside.  This also means I don’t have to give him a belly bath every day before we go into the ring.  (Yeah, yeah, hubby says the dog folks are nuts …).
Dante in belly band
Dante in belly band, getting ready to go to the show ...
Below is a listing of fav sites for both show and pet items.  Note that some of the places have a “minimum order” charge so I usually get what I need from one place or make sure I have enough to get over the minimum or enough to get free shipping. 
Happy shopping!

Calling all …

… art lovers!  I’m sure you’ve experienced this at one time or another.  You go into a store (whether brick-n-mortar or online) and find all these really cool breed-related items.  Labs, Tzus, Pugs, Yorkies, German Shepherd Dogs, etc. are all represented … everything but an Apso!  I even encounter this when shopping the myriad of vendors at the dog shows — very little in the way of my chosen breed. 

Every year at our National Specialty (the American Lhasa Apso Club or “ALAC”), special trophies are obtained for the winners.  These typically are Best of Breed (BOB), Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed (BOS), Best of Winners (BW) (from the class dogs), Winners Dog (WD) and Winners Bitch (WB).  This year’s trophies are spectacular … original oils by artist Karen McClelland.  An exhibitor, she understands the nuances and anatomy of the canine, resulting in true-to-life work.   Scroll down her Non-Sporting page to view the three Apso prints she’s offering as limited edition giclees on canvas!  This has to be my favorite …

"Tibetan Brass"
"Tibetan Brass" by artist Karen McClelland

Karen will also do commission work for those wishing to memoralize a beloved pet.  Additionally, she does quite a bit of equine art which can be seen on her blog … Karen McClelland Blog.

Hmmmm, I think I have a wall that needs a little “something” …


Mushroom warning …

We’ve all seen them, those little white ‘shrooms that pop up overnight in one’s yard.  However, if you have dogs, you may want to watch those little ones a little more closely …

Mushrooms found in yard kill family dog

One day she was playing with her dog in the yard and the next, the dog was dying and doctors say it’s because little Shiloh ate something that could be in your own backyard. It was wild mushrooms and unfortunately, Shiloh died a few days later. Now the pet’s owner wants to make sure others are aware of what can happen.“It was hard, she was mostly my buddy.” Tami Mungenast has pictures all over her house of Shiloh – a one-year-old, 90-pound Great Pyrenees. It only took one wild mushroom to kill her.“I never thought there’d be a deadly mushroom in my front yard.” Shiloh ate one of the mushrooms last month and four days later, she died.“She slipped into a coma and liver shut down.” Tami was desperate to find out what killed Shiloh so it doesn’t happen to her brother. “I’m neurotic about it right now.” Everyday she combs her yard looking for mushrooms.Shiloh’s vet says there’s no way to tell for sure exactly what mushrooms the dog ate but after having the dog’s liver tested, they found these mushrooms had a toxin called Galerina in them. It can kill anyone who eats it, like Shiloh did. “In about 24 hours her liver started to shut down and within three days, there was nothing you could do.”
Dr. Carolyn Orr says they see four to five dogs a year that have eaten wild mushrooms but Shiloh’s case was the most severe. That’s why her owner is making sure it doesn’t happen again. “Every day I scope the property and then in afternoon and just remove them. There’s nothing I can do to get rid of them.”Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and foaming at the mouth and usually these happen eight hours or so after the dog has eaten the mushroom.Shiloh’s vet says the best thing to do once you see your dog have these symptoms is get them to the vet. 

And again from headlines …  

Dog dies after eating toxic mushrooms in yard

08:49 PM EDT on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

By TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Tony:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Toxic mushrooms have killed at least one dog in the Charlotte area and have made several others ill, according to local veterinarians.

The recent soaking rains are to blame for mushrooms popping up around town.

Tiffany Salomon told NewsChannel 36 that her dog died of mushroom toxicity. She has three dogs — Alex, a Bichon; Riley, a Yorkshire terrier; and Gino, a Shih Tzu.

Salomon says the dogs are her family.

“I dress them up in clothes, give them baths. They’re just like children to me,” Salomon said.

All three dogs loved to play in the yard. But recent rains caused mushrooms to pop up.

“We never thought these things would be toxic,” Salomon said.

Some mushrooms are toxic. Gino ate one.

“They think it’s a toy and want to chew on it and play,” Salomon said.

Suddenly, happy healthy Gino was fighting for his life. It started with vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Mushroom toxicity attacked his liver, according to the veterinarian’s report.

“We tried everything we could. We did blood transfusions. It didn’t work. He was just bleeding too much,” Salomon said. “He was too ill and had taken too many in. His body was literally shutting down.”

Gino died.

“It’s like losing your family member,” she said.

Alex, the Bichon, was next. He, too, had bloody diarrhea. His diagnosis: suspected mushroom toxicity.

The veterinarian thinks Alex ate a kind of mushroom that doesn’t shut the liver down. Alex lived.

Gino and Alex’s vet says instead of trying to figure out which mushrooms in your yard are toxic or bringing the mushrooms to animal hospitals, your best bet is picking them and throwing them away. Eliminating the threat could be saving a life.

Bosa …

We have a new foster available for adoption … 

My new haircut!
My new haircut!

Bosa (pronounced “Bow-sah” and meaning “Ivory”) is a one-year old Apso with boundless energy! She is spayed, housetrained, up-to-date on vaccs, microchipped and healthy! Bosa enjoys daily walks and playtime with other dogs her size. Toys, nylabones & kongs keep her busy for hours. Plays well with cats.  Because of her high energy, she will not be suitable for homes with small children.  She’s a curious pup and will need someone who can provide supervision and a puppy-proofed environment.

Coming into rescue, Bosa had no obedience training. She is currently learning manners and commands necessary to be well-behaved little dog. Her new family should be willing to commit to furthering her obedience studies and providing a puppy-proofed house. Bosa is crate-trained and sleeps through the night in her family’s bedroom. If you are interested in adopting Bosa, please begin our process by filling out an application at

I'm a happy girl ...
I'm a happy girl ...
Bosa (right)
Bosa (right)

Okay, call me paranoid but …

… the following article just underscores what I’ve known for years.  That pets rely on their humans to keep them safe from harm and it is our responsibility to ensure their well-being.  Think of your Apso as a perpetual two-year old.  Would you leave a toddler outside unattended for the day … left in a car at the grocery store … allowed to roam the neighborhood without supervision?   Uhhh, I didn’t think so.  And your Apso — a perpetual toddler — should be supervised closely as well.  These are not isolated incidents happening to “other people.”  Take heed, pet owners.  The life you save may be sitting at your feet this very moment …

American Kennel Club Cautions Owners: Pet Theft on the Rise;

AKC Appears on NBC’s Today Show Offering Tips to Keep Pets Safe

Dog Owners and Breeders Advised to Keep Dogs Safe at Home and on the Road

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The American Kennel Club® is warning pet owners and breeders about an alarming rise in dog thefts in recent months. From parking lots to pet stores and even backyards, more dogs are disappearing. In the first three months of 2008, the AKC has tracked more than 30 thefts from news and customer reports, versus only ten for all twelve months of 2007.


Media reports have chronicled the escalation of these “dog-nappings” from all around the country. Incidents have included armed robbers entering a breeder’s home, tiny puppies being stuffed into purses at pet stores and most recently, purebred pets being snatched from cars in parking lots and even shelters.


“The value of pets in people’s lives has been on the rise for a long time and now we are seeing thieves trying to capitalize on this. Whether they seek to resell the dog, collect a ransom or breed the dogs and sell their offspring, thieves seem to be attuned to the increased financial and emotional value pets have in our lives,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Losing a treasured family pet is devastating to the owner.”


“Criminals look for weaknesses and exploit them. They know pets can’t protect themselves, so that means owners need to be alert,” said Lt. John Kerwick, a law enforcement K-9 handler and the President of the U.S. Police Canine Association, Region 7. “Be wary of anyone who approaches you and asks too many questions about your dog or where you live. This is a red flag that they may be out to snatch your pet.”


Peterson added that “These ‘dog-nappers’ are misguided and naVve. They’re stealing living beings, not jewelry that can be pawned. Plus, it’s unlikely that they can sell the dogs for high prices without proper registration papers, and these inept criminals are not realistically going to collect a ransom. Caring for a dog — and especially breeding — is a time consuming endeavor that requires a lot of knowledge. Thieves will find themselves with a frightened and confused animal that needs a lot of care.”

 The AKC offers the following advice to prevent your “best friend” from being a target of a crime:

At Home

Don’t let your dog off-leash — Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. A Saint Bernard that had wandered away from his owner in Nebraska was snatched up right off the road.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard — Dogs left outdoors when no one is home for long periods of time can be potential targets, especially if you live in a rural area and the fenced-in yard or dog runs are visible from the street.

Keep purchase price to yourself — If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, don’t answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where you live.

Breeders need to be aware of home visits by potential puppy buyers — Criminals posing as would be “puppy buyers” have visited breeder homes to snatch dogs, while other homes have been burglarized when the owner was away. From Yorkies in Los Angeles to Bulldogs in Connecticut, thieves have targeted young puppies of these highly coveted breeds.

On the Road

Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked — Even if you are gone for only a moment, an unlocked car is an invitation for trouble. Also leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only invite thieves to break and possibly allow the dog to escape.

Don’t tie your dog outside a store — This popular practice among city dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. Reports have surfaced of such thefts in Manhattan. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

Be vigilant when entering or leaving establishments or venues catering to dogs such as grooming salons, veterinarians, doggie day care or hotels — Be aware of your surroundings, such as slow moving vehicles, or people watching you and your dog. Carry pepper spray as a precaution and, if possible, don’t walk alone late at night or stay in a well lit area.


Protect your dog with microchip identification — Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider. Several pets have been recovered because of alert people scanning and discovering microchips. For more information and to enroll your pet in a 24 hour recovery service visit

If you suspect your dog has been stolen — Immediately call the police / animal control in the area your pet was last seen.

Have fliers with a recent photo ready to go if your dog goes missing — Keep a photo of your dog in your wallet or on an easily accessible web account so that you can distribute immediately if your pet goes missing.

AKC Appears on NBC Today Show to offer tips on keeping your pet safe






Jiggity jog …

 … home at last!!

Tashi went to his new home a couple weekends ago.  His new family from Arvada was very excited to welcome him into the fold and we spent a lovely couple hours at a park in Berthoud getting to know each other.  Tashi now has an older Apso sibling, GinGin, and is adjusting quite well to his new routine … 
Tashi and new family ...
Tashi and new family ...
Our spider-legged boy — Murphy — also went to a new home in July.  Kim and Chuck are just delighted with their new boy.  And, in typical Apso fashion, he’s giving them a run for their money and pushing the envelope every chance he gets …
MurphMan & Fam ...
MurphMan & Fam ...

Perhaps Kim or Nancy will stop by and give us an update on their boys …

Snakes ‘n Snails …

Frankers gardening ...
Frankers out for a morning stroll ...

… and puppy dog tails!  Or, more to the point, why one should consider adding a male dog instead of insisting on a female.

Growing up in a pet-friendly family in the late ’50s, the mindset was you always wanted a female because the males “marked.”  I’m sure they did as neutering, training and responsible pet-ownership (including not allowing the dogs to run the neighborhood at large) were not the norm.  Vaccinations were not widespread and distemper claimed many a pet.  What a difference 50+ years has made in companion animal care!

“Marking” is the act of releasing small amounts of urine to claim an area as their own.  Both males and females will engage in this territorial behavior; however, it’s with intact males that it generally becomes more noticeable … and especially when they bring this behavior into the home.  Basically, they’re saying “this is mine and I’m willing to fight for it.”  And when one considers the focus of an intact male dog — food, fighting and, ummm, well, fornicating — they generally don’t make good pets for the average owner.  Take away the last two parts to that equation … fighting and fornicating … by neutering and you have a dog that’s focused on you.  One that’s not climbing over the fence at the first whiff of a female in heat.  One that’s totally content being your velcro dog, following you from room to room.  Some females will do that as well, but the males are just … sweeter.  And, let’s face it.  They don’t call ’em “bitches” for nothing.  Their job, if you will, is to raise the pups and at all costs. 

Many of the male dogs arriving in rescue are intact and with little or no housetraining.  First order is business is an immediate neuter.  During the recovery period, they’re enrolled in Housetraining 101.  We also utilize a tether (a 4-6 foot leash) and belly bands if the dog arriving was previously neutered.  Why belly bands?  For several reasons — (1) you know exactly if they are “getting” the concept of housetraining (the incontinence pad in the band is either dry or wet), (2) it protects your furnishings during the training period, and (3) many dogs do not like the wet feel and that’s a deterent in and of itself.  The tether is used as a means of supervision (he’s right there with you) and as a means of issuing a correction (short, sharp jerk of the tether and a verbal command “no mark!”).  With consistency, patience and clear guidance on what is and isn’t appropriate behavior, most males quickly adapt to toileting outside. 

Another “tool” for training is the crate.  Dogs are innately clean creatures who will not usually soil their eating and sleeping areas.  That hardwired behavior can be used to your benefit when housetraining by confining them to a crate when unable to supervise and giving them ample opportunity to toilet in a designated area (with lots of immediate praise/treats for appropriate behavior).

Regarding the belly bands at the link provided above … I find the adjustable bands are much more comfortable for the boys.  Just the shape alone is more form fitting and allows for greater freedom of movement.  One of the straps is adjustable so it can be used on dogs close to the same size in diameter (for multiple male househoulds).  I also find the buckle easier/quicker to use on dogs with longer hair.  Velcro and longer hair do not mix.  The only “issue” with using belly bands:  one must remember to remove them prior to sending the dog outside to potty!

So, if you’re seriously thinking about adding an Apso to your household, don’t rule out a male based on gender alone.  They truly are delightful little creatures who easily adapt with consistent training and the right tools … and will become your best buddy in the process.

Ka Tu …

My husband finally understands what it means when I say, “Rescue allows me to have all the dogs I ever wanted … they just go live with someone else eventually.”  Despite the fact that he calls every foster “Larry” because he can’t remember their individual names when they’re milling around underfoot, he has been paying attention and can, for the most part, identify each foster.  One of the perks of being a placement coordinator is I get regular updates on the fosters who are now in their permanent homes.  Visitors to the rescue site — — read the dogs’ initial stories but hear little about them after they’re adopted.  We’re fixin’ to change that, beginning with this post (if you’ve ever been below the Mason-Dixon line, you know the definition of “fixin’ to”).

Ka Tu, a 7-month old male, arrived in rescue via a Denver vet clinic where he had been surrendered when the owner refused to pay for treatment.  I say “owner”, but it was actually the husband of the owner.  Seems the wife was out of town when the surrender occurred.  I can only imagine the conversation that ensued once she found out hubby dumped her puppy at a local vet clinic with a severe injury that was suspect for causation. 

Ka Tu ... arriving in Rescue

Ka Tu had suffered a fractured lower mandible, rendering him unable to eat solid food and in quite a bit of pain.  After a week’s stay in the Denver vet clinic, two of the ER vets drove him to Loveland after a completing a night shift.  Definitely above and beyond the call of duty.  After several trips to our vet and consultation with a dental expert, a conservative course of treatment was undertaken rather than opting for surgery.  Basically, what this meant was Ka Tu couldn’t have anything solid to eat or chew on for a minimum of six to eight weeks.  That in itself presented a problem as our dogs are fed hard kibble … it also meant that every meal was a preparation of ground-up kibble gruel for the little fella.  After weeks of meal prep and twice monthly trips to the vet for x-rays to determine how his jaw was healing, Ka Tu emerged with a fully functional lower jaw … and a crooked little smile.

Hangin' on the deck ...
Hangin' on the deck ...

Ka Tu recently celebrated his first “Gotcha” anniversary with his new family, Trudi, Paul, Helen and the three cats.  I’m getting the idea that he’s bit spoiled but … who could resist this face?

Ka Tu and feline friend ...
Ka Tu and feline friend ...


Checkin' out Dad's chair ...
Checkin’ out Dad’s chair …

Happy Gotcha Day, Ka Tu … you are one lucky little pup!