Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chronic Pain

In June or July I started having significant pain radiating down my right leg.  I'm a back surgery survivor if you will - having had a laminectomy in 1995 between S1 and L5.  The pain was familiar, but add to that a new twist with new pain in my front right thigh compounded with a nasty heel spur that just wasn't going away.  Finally I had testing done.  Uncountable x-rays, a whole morning of multiple MRIs - one that included a most painful injection into my right hip.  The diagnosis - torn right hip cartilage, complete medial meniscus tear in my right knee with an additional tear of the lateral meniscus in the same knee.  And of all the scans, my back looked the best, but for some reason the sciatic nerve is inflamed.  Maybe because most of my right leg joints are messed up.

I've since visited a pain specialist and an orthopedic specialist.  We are not doing any knee surgery yet.  On top of the meniscal tears, I have so much arthritis in my knee, that even if he fixed the tears, I would not have any less pain.  So until the knee completely fails we do nothing - except physical therapy twice a week.  If I want a cortisone injection, I'm welcome to it.  But for now I've declined.  I'm scheduled for a lumbar epidural injection in January and from there we will decide if I need an injection in my hip.  Fun stuff. 

I've avoided prescription pain killers and I am in significant pain every day.  There are good days where I can walk pretty well with low grade pain.  The physical therapy is helping and believe it or not I see a gym membership in my future.  Kind of ironic, eh?  For me?

This has been game changing for me in so many ways.  I don't want to spend my life in a wheelchair and I don't want to lose my freedom or independence.  I want my dogs in my life for a long time to come.  So I fight.

This ordeal has left me even more jaded - if this is possible.  Every day is a struggle.  My dogs are my haven for which I fight daily.  That will not change.  They make life worth it. 

So fair warning.  I don't feel well.  Enough said.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Puppy For Christmas

The emails start coming in for Christmas puppies in December usually.  I actually received a few inquires beginning in November this year. 

Here's a lovely example of a recent exchange I had:

Message:  I found your Shih Tzu listing at Breeders.NET

Hello I am interested in buying a baby girl puppy for my kids for Christmas. If you could please let me know if you have one and what price. Thank you:)

And my standard Christmas puppy response followed:

On Nov 16, 2012, at 6:03 AM, wrote:


Thank you for your inquiry, however even if I had puppies available at or around the holiday - I would not place them as Christmas presents. Nor do I entertain birthday or anniversary inquiries. Please refer to this article.

Christmas is really the absolute worst time of the year to place a puppy. There is too much happening for anyone to possibly focus on the needs of a puppy at that time. There are breeders out there that gear up for Christmas because it's their biggest sales season of the year for them. They will sell puppies too young to be going anywhere just to turn that Christmas buck.

But that's not how I operate.

You might consider giving puppy supplies as Christmas gifts to announce your decision to bring a pet into your home and instead focus on finding the right breeder and dog for your family. When it comes to finding the perfect member for your family, it's better to take your time and research the breeders involved and find someone that can provide you the best possible dog, health wise etc. for your family at your financial comfort level. Buying strictly on timing is the poorest way to find the right dog.

Check out the American Shih Tzu Club website for things to look for when selecting a breeder and also breeder referral.

Best of luck in your search -
Nancy Manelski
WoTeH'sin Shih Tzu
And here is the lovely response I received:

To: wotehsinst <>
Sent: Wed, Nov 21, 2012 7:38 pm
Subject: Re: I found your Shih Tzu listing at Breeders.NET

Wow a little too much information a simple no would have been fine.....weirdo!!


Nice, huh?  Try to educate the general public and look what happens.  Nice manners and a lovely email to receive on Thanksgiving Eve.  Honey, are you raising your kids to be as polite and receptive to education as you obviously were? 
I hope no one places a puppy with this family.  Because honestly, I see the writing on the wall.  Loved for a moment in time and then forgotten, some poor puppy will likely end up in a shelter out of this home when that puppy is no longer convenient for the family.  Tossed aside likely as several other Christmas gifts that have outlived the instant gratification high the kids get once the next present is revealed, or the poor puppy has an accident in the house after being chased or hounded by likely unruly children that scare the poor baby half to death. 
Nope.  Not one of my puppies.  Ever.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Velvet Wins Again!

We spent last weekend in the north country of Arizona.  Up north is always cooler (thankfully) and the pines are wonderful.  The drive up the mountain was uneventful and we made it to Show Low in about three hours.  The temperature was about 25 degrees cooler too during the day and in the 50s at night which was awesome sleeping weather!

After unloading a small amount of gear at the show site we made our way to visit friends Cindy and Larry who were gracious enough to offer Velvet and myself a place to bunk for the weekend.  We spent the evening catching up and I then had the task to groom out Velvet before bed.  Loved sleeping with the window wide open and enjoyed that cool, fresh mountain air!

The next day we had lots of help from the Boy Scouts at the show site who unloaded my gear from my SUV, got it all tied down to my show cart and got us to our set-up.  What an awesome service they provided!  I was sure to make a donation to the troop leader as I could never have made it over the terrain by myself.

The wind of course kicked up a bit as we got ready to show but Velvet did great and she won the Breed on Saturday.  Sunday the wind was awful!  It was hard enough to groom in it, but to show at 6,600 ft ASL with 30 mph winds - well - we didn't fare well.  Sorry to say poor Velvet was windblown and didn't move to the judge's expectations - on her down and specifically her back - and we went Reserve.  Oh well - there is always next time.  With her win on Saturday, Velvet now has three points towards her title.

After getting Velvet back in maintenance bands, we loaded up and had a smooth drive home.  Boy was I glad to see all my kids!  Velvet was glad to be home too!

My thanks to again, the Boy Scouts for all of their help, to Cindy and Larry for their generous hospitality and also to Carol and Gail Page for allowing us to share their set-up. Extra kudos to Carol and Gail for helping me with my gear on Friday and also on Sunday getting everything back to my SUV. I've been having some trouble with my back most recently and actually did this show against my better judgement health wise. I paid for it this past week in spades. Thankfully, visits to my chiropractor along with extra rest have helped me get past a good portion of the back and leg pain. I am hoping I can push through this lower back and leg pain that kicked up back in July and get back to showing my little one soon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

So You've Contacted Me For A Shih Tzu

At least have the COURTESY to LISTEN to what I tell you.  If you are too wrapped up in your own life to comprehend what I say - then don't call me.  I'm not interested in listening to your life story ad infinitum - over AND OVER in an effort for you to impress upon me what a great home you can provide for one of my dogs.  What speaks VOLUMES is what you ask and WHAT YOU COMPREHEND.

I despise the "selling dogs" end of breeding.  I wish I could just keep them all.  Honestly. 

If  you are going to make contact with me - at least attempt to listen - not just hear the words I say.  Don't leave me a message after wasting quite a bit of my time and accuse me of being a liar.  I have no reason to lie to anyone.  I'd just as soon not sell you my young adult dog or puppy.  I don't do this for money.  I do this for me and to leave the breed in a better place than I found it.  I don't have to sell you anything.  I have no reason to lie to anyone because frankly - I'm better than any of the "breeders" out there you'll be contacting for your next dog.  If anything - YOU need to shut up and LISTEN.  You deserve the dog you end up with, just like the last one that was a heart breaker for you.  You know why?  Because you spend too much time trying to IMPRESS rather than spending enough time trying to LEARN.  And you seriously need to address your lack of comprehension.

And by the way - my 12 year old girl Iris isn't going anywhere - she is MY HEART.  And Violet?  At least you saved me the stress of having to tell you that you weren't my idea of a suitable owner.

Stepping off my soapbox . . .

Monday, July 30, 2012

Champion Kiki!

WoTeH'sin Shih Tzu has a new champion!  Kiki is now CH WoTeH'sin Island Style.  Kiki is my 9th champion overall and my 7th home bred champion.  My thanks to Greg Larson for his patience, perseverance and expert presentation.  But also, thank you to the whole "Team Kiki" of which I will write more later. 

Kiki's story is important and it will be told here in detail in the coming weeks.  But before I publish it for the public, I have an important letter to present to The American Kennel Club.  You see, Kiki's story thankfully has a happy ending, but it could have ended much differently.

More to come . . .

Monday, June 11, 2012

Velvet's Debut In Flagstaff

I'm always nervous when I bring out a new puppy in the show ring.  But especially now - after an incident last fall which I've not shared yet on this blog because that story is still unfolding.

I only worked Velvet a little bit before we went to Flagstaff and I was hoping it was enough for her to have a good experience in the ring.  We only had the opportunity to observe one handling class and work on the sidelines a couple of weeks ago before I came down with bronchitis that set me back for 2 weeks.  This class was really Velvet's first time on a lead and she begrudgingly walked a few down and backs, kind of unsure of herself and the grass beneath her paws (our yard is all rock - no grass).  From there we spent about 30 minutes in PetSmart one evening once I was well enough to make the trip.  Velvet met some young children in the store who thought she was adorable.  Luckily the mom of the brood had taught her children well and they held out their hands gently and let Velvet come to them instead of abruptly approaching her.  As it turned out Velvet walked nicely in the aisles for me, although still a little unsure.  But when I brought out the squeaky, her ears perked up and the tail wagged.  All good stuff.  Then the friendly check out girl gave Velvet a little treat as I paid for a couple of new toys and some yummy training treats.  A successful trip!  From there the following week we worked in the cul de sac after sundown - something we hadn't  been able to do because, not only  had I been sick but the only streetlight out there had been burned out for weeks - until I contacted the city for a fix.  Luckily the city responded and we did about 10 minutes out there a couple of nights before the big debut.  Along the way we did table work after grooming, playing dog show and stacking for 5 or 10 seconds to get a treat.

I say a prayer each morning when I leave the house asking for a safe return to my babies at the end of the day.  Saturday when leaving for Flagstaff it was no different - the first prayer was asking that we make it to our destination and back - safe and sound.  I had some addendums on Saturday - the second prayer was that Velvet just have an enjoyable experience.  I added a small prayer for a friend that is in need to the end of my request followed by a humble thank you to my maker, put the car in drive and we were off to the show! 

It's about a 2 hour drive to Flagstaff and as you hit about 5000 or 6000 ft elevation the pines begin to emerge as you continue your climb up the mountain.  The temperatures drop to a pleasant 60 or 70 degrees in the early June morning hours and you can smell the pines - bringing back memories of northern Michigan.  I really enjoy the Flagstaff shows just because it reminds me of driving up north back home.

Once in Flagstaff I unloaded everything and got set up.  Velvet was doing great.  Happy and still engaged every time I got out the squeaky toy.  I spent about 90 minutes grooming and Velvet got her very first topknot!

I know I'm adorable!

Off to the ring we went.  We had a bit of a wait and Velvet gained a few admirers.  Several pictures were snapped.  I wanted her to stay happy - but I also wanted her to stay neat and presentable!  Everyone always wants to touch a Shih Tzu's coat.  I always say no prior to ring time when asked but offer unlimited time to pet and love after we are done in the ring.  Soon we were called to the ring.  I carried my girl over, put her down just outside the ring, smoothed down her coat, called her name and squeaked her little toy and up came her tail - wagging away.  Talk about relief!  We walked into the ring behind the other entry and my girl was animated and darn happy to be there!  I knew she had made a good first impression because the judge smiled and looked at Velvet just long enough for me to know he liked what he saw.  Velvet just had to work it.  We moved out and there was my girl by my side - tail up, head up and I loosened the lead by dropping my arm down towards my side giving plenty of slack to the lead.  Velvet kept moving.  All good stuff!  When it was Velvet's turn on the table I encouraged her and kept telling her she was a good girl.  She did fine for her first exam.  The judge could tell she was new to this and I confirmed it was her first show.  He instructed us to do our down and back and Velvet was doing great.  We barely made it back to the judge when he pointed to me and said "You're number one!"  I let out I'm sure a sigh of relief.  What a great day in the ring!  Thank you to judge Fredrick Stephens!

So lots of firsts on Saturday - first topknot, first show, first Best Of Breed win and first point!

Sunday we were blessed with another wonderful experience under judge Dr. John Reeve-Newson.  He was so gentle and such a pleasure to show to.  He asked me about Velvet's background and as it ended up he knows my dear friend Marg Brown of Shente Shih Tzu - who's top winning dogs happen to be part of the basis of my line.  We had a lovely conversation after he gave me Velvet's winning ribbons.  He knew his Shih Tzu.  When a judge asks about pedigree - they know the breed!

We had a wonderful weekend in Flagstaff!  Now we wait for the weather to cool here in the Valley.  We'll be back at the shows in the Fall!

Monday, April 30, 2012


Here is Dallas sharing a snooze with his sister Jada - notice he's sporting a new haircut!  :)

Here is Lili and her big brother Chong Pei.  Lili's mom is doing a great job keeping up their coats!

And finally, here is world traveller Zoey taking time to smell the daisies in Los Angeles!

Love it when the folks keep in touch and send me lovely pictures of my kids!  Thank you for loving these furkids as unconditionally as they love back!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Not Meant To Be

My vet confirmed today that Samantha is not pregnant. 

So we wait. 

Everything happens for a reason.  Even this.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Sadly, I don't think Samantha is pregnant.  We have a vet appointment next Saturday to be sure.  This particular breeding was done with shipping chilled semen cross-country.  And I'm pretty sure it did not take.  So for those of you that expressed interest in one of Sam's puppies, I will do another breeding later this year - next time by physically bringing a dog in house. 

And for the people out there that wonder why responsible breeders charge more for their puppies - here's a little math for you.

Blood work prior to breeding:  $200
I regularly test my stock before doing a breeding to confirm optimal health.  On Sam I did a full CBC panel plus ran a VonWillebrand's test, which is a suggested test by the ASTC.  And this doesn't include the money spent for other tests done prior.  Oh - and don't forget the show entries and handler fees.  Sam was proven worthy to be bred on all levels prior to drawing the blood this time around to confirm it.

Supplies:  $185
Luckily the stud dog owner had the shipment kits - I merely had to purchase the shipping medium and have it overnighted to her.  And thanks to a major snow storm, the first shipment was delayed by two days.  My vet tested the sample to make sure it was still somewhat viable before using it.  Thanks to my continued patronage at his clinic he was gracious enough to check it at no charge. 

Air Shipments:  $225
Mind you I got the corporate rate on these shipments, thanks to being able to ship on my employer's account and reimbursing them.  Had this been on a regular account, the cost would have been closer to $600.

And I hadn't even paid the stud fee yet . . .

Responsible breeders don't just breed to any available dog.  They find the right dog and make it happen - or in this case - unfortunately NOT.  Think about that the next time you look in the newspaper and find a $200 puppy.  Do you really want to buy a puppy from someone that's only counting the money coming in and who doesn't care about the dogs - or the breed - involved in the process?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What Did You Do On Easter Sunday?

Well, we all know that Velvet got a bath.

Dallas went on an Easter egg hunt!

And Gracie?  Well Gracie was just adorable!  :)

How was your Easter?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

If It's Sunday - It Must Be BathTime!

I wasn't THAT stinky - was I??

All clean!  No make-up!

Are my pads black or are they gray?

And so goes the great debate.  Is she gold & white or blue & white???

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Someone Got A Haircut!

A few weeks ago, I took Samantha to Tucson for the IABCA Shows.  Her very last topknots.  And in three shows she became American International Champion WoTeH'sin Do U Believe In Magic!  She did well after not being shown since last JUNE!  At first she was tentative but then she remembered exactly what to do.  She got a couple of group placements in the Bred By Group as well.  Judges' comments were awesome.  They loved her head, her outline, her coat, good reach & drive - all good stuff.

Since that weekend I've been promising Sam a haircut.  But I just hadn't gotten around to it.  First this then that.  But tonight was the night!  And she is the spittin' image of her daddy!  Love that face!

Next stop - bein' a momma dog.  Hoping there are babies bakin' in there!

Dallas Arrives In Illinois

I love email from puppy buyers and PICTURES!!  :)  I got this on Tuesday:

Hi Nancy,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for a beautiful pup!! He is absolutely gorgeous!! I’m so happy with him!!

Thank you for being a responsible breeder. I love him to pieces, he’s such a good little boy. He’s been outside running and playing in the yard with the dogs. I’m so fortunate that Cindy gave me your name and number. Thank you again for keeping him a couple of extra months and for taking him to Cindy and Larry’s.



Here are some pictures from today ..

Dallas meeting his new Mom (Karen) in Illinois for the first time ... brought to Illinois by Cindy and Larry
Dallas at his new home in Sugar Grove, Il.

Dallas meeting his new family – Jada and Cheyenne

Karen and Dallas

The next day I got these pictures - Dallas had a visit to the salon for a partial hair cut.  He'll go in for a full cut down probably in a week or two as the weather warms in Illinois.

So it looks like my little love is doing well in his transition.  Keep those pictures coming Karen!  :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

One of the hardest parts of breeding dogs is letting them go.  Having experienced when it is time to say goodbye to an older dog - I can say it is VERY hard - especially when they have been a loving companion for 10, 15 or more years.  It is almost like losing a child.

So how come it's also hard when the puppies go?  I mean they have only touched your life for a short period of time, right?  And typically when they leave at 12 weeks I feel a pang of ache in my heart but I know they are going to the best possible forever homes.  Plus if you've ever shared your home with 3 or 4 barking 12 week old puppies, you know that at 12 weeks, it's time for them to go to their new homes! 

I can't keep them all.  I wish I could though.  I wish I had unlimited income and could have a large piece of property and take in rescues to bring them back to the healthy and loved dogs they deserve to be.  I would still breed sparingly and show my dogs too like I do now, but I would work on saving the ones that deserve to sleep in a warm bed every night with a full belly too.  I wish I never would have to worry about quality of care or whether the neighbors would complain.  I wish I had the help I would need to accomplish these goals.  But I do not.  So, because I love these little dogs, I still work on moving my breed forward by showing my dogs to prove they are worthy specimens of the breed, breeding on a limited basis and keeping the best I can to move into the next generation.  And along the way, finding great homes for deserving little lives that touch mine in the process.

Tonight is the last night I will get to kiss one of these little angels in my house goodnight.  Little Chunk is going to his new home and his adventure actually began a few weeks ago.  You see, he's not Little Chunk anymore - he is Dallas.  And he is soon going to be on his way to Chicago.  Tomorrow we will go on a short trip to Show Low, where my friends Cindy and Larry will take Dallas into their home for about 2 days.  Then they will drive off to Albuquerque on Tuesday to the airport with Dallas and they will all wing their way to Chicago.  Cindy and Larry will be visiting friends and family - and Dallas will meet his new family.  In my heart I know this is the best thing for this little, sweet soul.  But I've cried like a baby over this all week every time I think about handing him off.  He's been here longer than most puppies and he's wormed his way into my heart.  I love this little guy, but I love him enough to know he needs a new forever home and I must let go.  He is a lovely puppy, but he is not meant for the show ring.  Structurally he is sound.  He moves like the wind, but he is not marked well enough.  His blaze isn't wide enough and he has way too much ticking on his legs.  And I can't keep them all.

So today was full of running and playing - it was in the low 80's here today so the yard was the place to be!  And puppies play hard!  Today was no exception!

I'm a mess - but I had a blast today!

I am such a sweetheart!

I'll bet I'm going somewhere!  I always get a bath before I go somewhere!

Yes, little love, you are going to your new family.  But you will always be in my heart.  I love you Little Chunk - enough to know that you need to move on.  Be well and be good for your new momma.  And know you are loved.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Princess Pretty Pretty

Angelique was born back in February of 2001.  She singled out in showing, but I never was able to get those majors on her.  I finally cut her down due to my working 12 hour days and not having the time, skill or knowledge at that time of appropriate products to keep her coat in good condition.  Angelique is a sweet little girl who is a champion producer and a girl that has more than earned her spot on my pillow every night.  She has the sweetest disposition and she makes me smile every day. 

Angelique just turned 11 years old last month and she is still going strong!  She loves her some cookies and is just a tad pudgy for her size.  She's cute as a bug and my groomer, Sharee, loves her best.  :) 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rabies Shot Day

Why do I always have to get a bath before we go anywhere?

Am I going to get ANOTHER shot?!?!?

Can we go home yet??
Another good check up!  Velvet weighs almost 7 pounds and Little Chunk weighed in at 7 pounds 10 oz!  They sure do eat well!  And they love their cookies too!  We are back home and these two are resting comfortably - gearing up for playtime a bit later.  :)

Little Chunk will be winging his way east in a couple of weeks to his new mom, dad and Shih Tzu sisters in Illinois.  Thank you Cindy and Larry for your help and Karen - I know you are very excited!  He's adorable!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gracie & Oreo

Loved by Jane in Scottsdale, AZ - this is Gracie.

Loved by the Johnson's in Scottsdale, AZ - this is Oreo.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Last DHPP shot

Today Velvet and Little Chunk went to see Dr. Walker for their final DHPP shot. They will go in for their rabies shot in a few more weeks. Here they are - cute as a couple of bugs in a rug!  Today was their first day without mom Violet in tow (she's at the spa today!).  They did great together.  We played a little bit on lead too.  Velvet wasn't too thrilled about that but Little Chunk did pretty well!

Velvet - waiting her turn.
She had a little face bath before we left for our appointment and she still hadn't dried completely.

Little Chunk charming the vet tech.  :)

We're cute!

I'm getting to be a big boy!

Dr. Walker gave them a good exam and they both passed with flying colors!  I got the report that their litter mates - Oreo and Gracie - had also been in and did great with their last shots and exams as well.  I'm a happy momma - my babies are doing great!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And Then There Were Two

Gracie and Oreo left last weekend with their forever families and so now there are two.  Little Chunk & Velvet.  Here they are tonight - Velvet runs a mile a minute and she can't possibly stop for the camera.  And Little Chunk - doesn't that face just make you want to melt?  He looks so innocent . . . don't let him fool you!