When the boys were very young we began talking about getting a dog for the family. Wendy and I weren’t entirely in agreement on the breed of dog but we did think that it should be small dog. At first I was leaning towards a Springer Spaniel but in the end we decided we would see about a Shihtzu depending upon cost.
One Sunday when I was specialling in Wingham Ontario I came to learn that a couple in the corps were breeding Shihtzus and so after the Sunday evening service I drove out to their home – farmhouse if I remember right – and there I found this litter of black and white balls of fur. The smallest one was quite energetic and I decided I would bring him home. He was so small I could hold him in one hand.
Philip was probably about 3 years old and when the boys awoke in the morning there was this little fluffy puppy! He needed help initially getting up the stairs to their bedrooms but he loved curling up with them and it was not long before he was sleeping on the end of our bed each night and I was getting up at 6 each morning to get him outside.
We named him J.R. as a short form for Junior.
He became an important part of the family and he proved to be a great traveler. There was hardly anywhere that he didn’t go with us and his bubbly personality and wagging tail made him irresistible for those who he came across. He visited the office, went camping with us, even did some shopping on vacations!
J.R. lived 16 years and I can honestly say I was so glad we bought him.
Unfortunately, his last year or so was difficult as he lost his hearing and his sight. He eventually had kidney problems and with no hope of recovery according to the vet, we made the hard decision to put him down. It’s probably one of the things I hated about dog ownership and had dreaded for some time as the end became increasingly obvious.
The other thing I regret is that Philip was away and didn’t really get a chance to say goodbye to his little companion. I would like to replay that one.
I was thinking about what he added to our lives the other day and recounting the numerous times he jumped up on the bed or the chair and curled up against one of us. You would see him put his head down, give a deep sigh, close his eyes and then nod off to sleep! On the other extreme, I remember him protecting our property when the cable guy made an unannounced entrance into the backyard! I didn’t know 8.5 lbs of fur could come across so scary!
He was a great dog and I am ever grateful we made that decision.