Archive | July, 2013

Shih Tzu Pride and Prejudice

18 Jul

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Our Shih Tzu, Camden in the stocks at Williamsburg, VA

I have a Shih Tzu named Camden (named for the town in Maine, not New Jersey). He is a small guy, all fluffy and cute, but this little dog has a lot of pride. Because he loves people, he assumes that everyone he meets will want to make a big deal over him. When they do not he is dejected. When they do, he struts off with the aplomb of Napoleon. He is majestic, though miniature.

Now, he also loves other dogs and displays great enthusiasm when he meets one. His whole body wags in excitement…except when he happens upon a Labrador. As soon as he gets a whiff of one of these Retrievers, his fur bristles, his tail droops and he starts to growl.  I don’t understand this at all, because Labradors are fabulous dogs, friendly and gentle. Try to explain that to little Napoleon Shih Tzu. The thing is, my dog is prejudiced!

I used to cringe when I would see a Labrador bounding along with an unsuspecting owner. When said owner sees my fluffy little dog, he or she smiles thinking, “Oh, isn’t he cute. Let’s go meet him” and I’m thinking, “Run, run away as fast as you can.” But I am not one to give in to fear and so the last time we happened upon a sociable Black Lab, I decided to try and work with Cammie, as we call him. At first it was all bristling and growling, but as I began to pet the other dog and reassure the owner, Cammie began to calm down and lo and behold, his tail began to wag. His whole body did not wag as it does with other dogs and humans, but it was a start.

I think it might be a lesson for us humans. We all are cursed and blessed with pride. And we have prejudices, each and every one of us, that are too numerous to name. Sometimes it’s just a prejudice against people who are prejudiced. What would happen if we took ourselves in hand and just did a little sniffing first and found that the other beast we fear/dislike so much is more like us than we thought. Our whole bodies might not wag, but what a change we could make in the world with just a little wag of our tails.