Happy Shih Tzu!

Sounds like a holiday greeting, in China maybe? But way down in New Zealand, Cassie is our Happy Shih Tzu.

Like many Shih Tzu’s, Cassie has crappy genes. Bless her heart, for all her 12 years, she’s spent more time scratching her itches than Tiger Woods. No homeopathic salve or store-bought medicine has cleared up her skin problems.

And in the last year or two, her eyes have gone buggy. So often itchy, infected, or covered with matter. Or filled with medicines. And now the lights seem to be going out. Cassie looks but does not see, or probably won’t for much longer.

And yet I wish I could be as happy as this fuzzball of bad genetics.

Cassie is always smiling. Her tail is always wagging. Even if she’s been scolded for having an accident (she IS an old lady – what – 84?). Within microseconds she’s back in waggy mode.

I don’t think this is a Chinese thing. No, my Chinese wife does not wag her tail all the time, though she is doubtless happier than her gweiloh husband. And not all Shih Tzu’s I’ve known were perpetually happy. Our Ling Ling dog, who died at 14 last year, was supremely content and irresistibly cute. But not always waggy. Not happiness personified, er, dogified.

Nope, I think it’s just Cassie. If I weren’t Catholic and believed in reincarnation, I’d like to come back as Cassie. Despite the itches and bad genetics, I’d be happy. Happy every day. Happy just to be with my pack. Happy when alone and rubbing my face on the carpet. Happy when on my side, pretending to run (when I don’t think anyone is watching me).

Happy Cassie. That would be me.

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