Chary with Strangers

April 2016
February Fortescue (Slytherin)

As long as she could remember, Aprile had always been drawn to dogs. Her poodle had been euthanized due to stomach cancer just over a year ago, and while not a single day went by without a thought of Holly, and that she'd never forget her, Aprile knew she now had room in her heart for a second dog. She considered becoming a pet foster, but her own life had been unstable, and she was moving out of her current home and building a new life and wanted that on solid ground before she began fostering.

When choosing a breed, Aprile always believed she would stay with poodles, and yet each adorable face and lamb-like fur kept bringing back longing and too many comparisons. She decided to choose a different breed. But the question was, which one?

Aprile decided to take a long walk to clear her head. So many breeds to choose from! She knew she wanted the dog to have medium to long fur, and weigh anywhere between 10 to 70 pounds. She wasn't asking very much, right?

She returned home, and while browsing dog forums ran into one of her most favorite topics: people debating the breed of a 4 legged ball of fur. The proud pet parent was showing off photos and describing Fifi's personality, but it wasn't helping. Was this dog a Shih Tzu or a Lhasa Apso? OH! “Shih Tzu are really common,” Aprile thought. “I know at least seven people who share their lives with one. Long fur, although most are kept in a puppy cut. Beautiful. Most get along with just about everyone. Don't know much about the Lhasa Apso. I bet it's similar, or there'd not be so much confusion!” She noticed a breeder's link and clicked on it.

HA! They had four legs and fur in common, and not much more. Aprile couldn't decide if the Lhasa Apso looked more like a Wookie or Cousin Itt. “With all that fur in front of its eyes, how could the poor dog even see?” she wondered? It also had such a long torso and short little legs! She decided to call the breeder directly. One thing she had learned: there are very few breeders who love nothing more than to talk about their pets.

This lady was no different and Aprile was captivated by what she learned. Lhasas can see, despite the long fur in front of their eyes, because they have really long eye lashes. The breed is from Tibet, and the coat protects them from the harsh weather. Unlike Shih Tzu, which love to please their pet parents so much they often win first place in many dog shows, Lhasas very seldom win. They love their families but their goal in life isn't to please their pet parents. They maintain an independent streak, because for centuries they have served as guard dogs. They are chary with strangers, especially when on their own turf. With this breed, trust must be earned over time; it isn't freely given. Once they bond with you, however, they are affectionate, loyal and very protective. They are also calm and alert by nature.

Aprile was impressed. Not only could she now tell a Shih Tzu from a Lhasa Apso, more importantly (to her, at least,) Aprile had found her breed!