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Sensitive Shih-Tzus

Life became a bit topsy-turvey for the boys when grandma recently moved into our home.

We got a call last week after she had fallen on her outside steps. It turned out she had a concussion, smashed up her knee and broke her shoulder. Because the hospital wouldn't release her unless she had somewhere to go where she had 24 hour care, we decided she would move in with us since we have no other family in the city. And we were not going to leave her alone in a hospital. We also had to put her house up for sale as she could not go back and live on her own again given her age, the size of the house and the enormous number of stairs she had to tackle each day.

During this process the boys have been extremely sensitive to her needs when they are around her. She spends most of her days in a chaise in the family room watching TV, doing puzzles and talking on the phone to her friends. However, from the day we brought her home the dogs sensed that something was wrong - Grandma wasn't bending down to pat them nor was she picking them up to cuddle. When she first sat down, they very carefully jumped on the end of the chaise by her feet and gingerly made their way closer to her, sniffing constantly in the direction of her left arm. Usually they will come and sit in your lap, often wiggling around each other to get the "best seat". In her case, they never got on her...they would carefully position themselves on the chaise around her and lay down quietly.

When we are in the house, they play and run amok. When we have to leave Grandma in order to get her house ready for sale, she tells us that the boys lay quietly around her the whole time we are gone. When my husband has a nap on the couch, the boys will at some point jump on him when they decide he's slept enough and it's time for him to play with them. When Grandma has a nap, she often wakes up to find the boys sleeping quietly at her feet. They do not, however, wake her up. If they want Grandma to pat them, rather than jump on her they will run to me, jump at my legs to get my attention and then run back beside her chair wagging their tail. It's at that time that I will pick each one up separately and Grandma will pat them.

So as each day goes on, we continue to be amazed by our Shih-Tzus' capacity to be sensitive to injury, even though we have no way to communicate this to them.


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