The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s. ~Mark Twain
Two weeks ago I was sitting on the King streetcar on my way downtown. The streetcar stopped to pick up riders at Bathurst Street. As it was stopped at the red light, I caught a glimpse of a dog owner as he walked his two little canines: one chihuahua lookin’ runt and the other a white shih tzu with kisses of gold fluffy fur. The chihuahua was skittish and refusing to move but the little shih tzu was strutting forward and then hopping with excitement. The puppy’s little dance past the Second Cup captivated other passengers on the packed streetcar.
Shih tzus are dignified yet spunky little dogs. They are full of spirit and great magnetism – befitting their noble roots as the chosen dog of Chinese emperors. I wasn’t surprised at the reaction of my fellow travellers but for me, that little distraction on my commute was bittersweet.
About four months ago, at the age of 6 – Khatina was diagnosed with lymphoma. Sadly, yesterday ended her amazing life.
She was without a doubt one of the happiest and resilient dogs I have ever known. Adorable. Mischievous. Charming. Unconditionally affectionate.
John Grogan, famously known for his love of a dog named Marley, says this about his late pet: “…Marley had given us a gift, at once priceless and free. He taught us the art of unqualified love. How to give it, how to accept it. Where there is that, most of the other pieces fall into place.”
One of the many favourite qualities Khatina possessed was her thirst for interaction with any living person or creature. On one of our evening walks this past September, she caught sight of not just one but two wild bunnies darting across lawns in the neighbourhood. She didn’t bark or tug on her leash. She sat patiently on her hind legs on the lawn a few feet away from the rabbits with one paw up as if she were saying “hello, let’s play”. Not unlike with humans, Khatina’s demands when visitors entered the house was always super straightforward: “Pick me up! Give me hugs! Let me lick your face.”
She loved it all – stalking the neighbourhood squirrel, devouring special birthday muffins, chasing birds (mostly unsuccessfully), chewing on her (many, many) doggie toys, cuddling with her mom (especially), and belly rubs. Above all, she loved playing with her older sister, Lassie. They would wrestle and roll around outside for hours – come snow or shine. I know Lassie will deeply miss her – as will we all.
Below is a small collection of the many photos taken of Khatina over her short but full life.