Baggins (that's it, just Baggins)
by Peg Brassie
(Mulberry, IN, USA)
age 15, after last visit to vet
Baggins was our beloved little buddy for over 13 years; a loyal companion who loved to squeeze into the easy chair beside us, who bounced along on walks and loved to flirt with anyone he saw along the street, who sensed when someone needed extra closeness, and who followed me everywhere around the house, even sitting in front of the bathroom door every morning until I got out of the shower!
He was an absolute joy to live with, a delightful polite host to all our guests, (piddling on the floor with excitement when company came!) and quite comedic in his gait and expressions.
He loved loved loved having a belly rub or getting his rear-end scratched! That was ecstasy!
My husband would pick him up as if he were a small child and walk him around the house, and he was content for several minutes in this position.
My husband chose him from a local shelter, (Baggins was probably 2 years old) and had apparently been left in a crate for many hours at a time, so the vet counseled us (after Baggins had soiled himself and the crate) to let him have the run of the house.
He was already paper trained, so this was not a problem. He had been taught basic commands, so I was careful to continue the practice of giving these to him.
Baggins slept on my corner of our bed, and liked to lick my toes and feet! He also liked to chew the occasional stray Kleenex, but was a picky eater- ate only his hard dog food and the chicken jerky treats, along with the rawhide chew toys.
His favorite toy was an old stuffed teddy bear that he liked to thrash around to show who was boss!
He was not a yapper, but since he had excellent hearing, would bark when he heard the neighborhood dogs barking. He loved basking in the sun, going for romps in the park, and riding in the car, often on my lap as I was driving.
He liked to jump around in the snow, sometimes sinking down past his belly! He looked like he was on springs!
He fancied himself a great guard dog, barking and threatening any dog who would dare venture close to our property (we used to say he thought he was a German Shepherd!)but was a lousy watch dog in the house!
When my daughter took him to dog obedience for 4H, he was supposed to run through a tunnel, but fell asleep inside it, and was too short to jump over the low fence, so he went around it instead!
We took him to a groomer about every three months, having tried several different ones. I gave him a bath occasionally, and brushed him with a flea brush and other assorted brushes, being careful to be gentle with his belly.
As he got older, he got cataracts, the long walks shortened, a leash was no longer necessary around our yard, and he required help getting up on and off the bed. However, his energy level remained fairly constant, and he would still dash madly around the kitchen island in a burst of frantic speed, reminiscent of when he and I would chase each other around the house, playing tag.
That was so much fun, and wore both of us out! I also liked to throw a blanket over my head, crouch on the floor, and wait for him to find me. Then the fun ensued as we fought over the blanket!
He started vomiting cream-colored foam a couple of years ago, but because his weight was steady and he had no other symptoms, we didn't worry.
In late January 2016, I took him to our vet, who said Baggins had congestive heart failure, and would not live much longer. He was down to ten pounds, and breathing was an effort.
On the night of February 18, we knew the end was near, and put him on his spot on our bed, as we cried and stroked his fur and said our goodbyes.
During the night, he and I went downstairs to sleep on the couch, but at 2:30 am he roused himself, so I helped him get off the couch, thinking he was going to go do his business, but instead, he lay down before the newspaper tray with his head on his paws and died.
He rests in our back yard, and we wait the end of winter to plant flowers around his resting place and lay down a marker engraved with his name.
I could not ask for a better companion for anyone who wants a small dog. I had heard it said that Shih-Tzu choose their person in the family, and Baggins chose me.
I was the queen of his world. I was busy with my work, my house, my family, but his focus was me, and then the other members of our family. I can never repay the depth of unconditional love Baggins showed us for 13 wonderful years.
Hello, Janice Here From Small Dog Place
Very rarely do stories about dogs bring such tears to my eyes that I have to stop and clear away the fog. This is one very special story about a very special dog.
Not only does the story describe this breed precisely and completely accurately, it does so with a flare that is hard to top.
I am sure that most of us can totally feel the pain you must feel at the passing of such a beloved dog.
It will take time and I hope you do make time for the grieving process. Baggins is so typical of the Shih Tzu breed, that when you are healed and ready to search again, you're likely find many of the same traits in another Shih Tzu.
There will never be another Baggings, though. Each dog is so very special in their own way.
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story, Peg.