The Princess Tails

The Musings of Zena, a Tibetan Terrier sharing her life and wisdom with Raffles, a Standard Poodle

The Princess Looks Back – Part Four


Me - looking back!

Me – looking back!

I hope that some of you are still with me.

Until I started this I had no idea how sad some of the stories would be when written down in black and white and how they might bring tears. I apologize to everyone if I’ve made you sad. Please keep reading.

I will start today by saying a huge thank you to Angel and Chaos over at House Full of Dogs for giving me the super sweet blogging award. I do already have this award but it is lovely to be thought of and you can never have enough pupcakes!

super-sweet-award1-1Don’t you just want to scoff them all?

I then want to thank Little Binky and Granny over at Angel’s Whisper for allowing all their readers to share their Inner Peace Award. Who doesn’t want and need inner peace? I certainly want it. What with pupcakes and inner peace I am a very happy Tibetan right now 🙂

Inner Peace Award

Inner Peace Award

I would like to do as Little Binky did and invite any of my followers to help themselves to this award. Especially those who have stuck through my ‘Looking Back’ series and have found them traumatic. You probably need some inner peace about now!

My last post left The Help and her family in New Zealand. I think she was born with a restless gene though because it wasn’t too long before they were moving again. This time to Switzerland. It was only for two years though so once again she was determined not to get any furpups.

As so often happens with The Help and her family, those two years passed and they began to put down roots. They bought a house over the border into France and as buying a house is a pretty big commitment the signatures hadn’t dried before she was already wanting to add another commitment – a dog.

Of course she told The Boss it was for the sake of number one and number two son. Ha! He wasn’t fooled.

She looked in the local papers and nearly bought a collie. Then they met with a breeder of Sheltie’s and learned that they could be very timid and had been a little over bred in that area so they decided that perhaps that wasn’t the right dog for two active boys.

The Boss didn’t want a big dog like a Newfoundland, Pyrenean or a Bernese Sheepdog which The Help loved so she had to look at smaller models.

They had a lot of children in and out of the house so whatever dog they had needed to be safe and friendly.

Really they were spoilt for choice. There are so many great dogs out there. Mixed breeds and what is termed pure breeds.

There were a few limitations though which made her look very carefully into the type of dog she got. As she was busy driving kids around The Help knew that she couldn’t take a dog for long walks as she had in the past so it had to be a dog which was happy with the large garden they had and the occasional trip out. It had to be friendly and safe with the unpredictable behaviour of children.

Although many of these things depend on training and safe exposure there is little doubt that there were certain breed traits which The Help didn’t feel suitable around children. So many things to think about.

Reading through a book she had come across a Tibetan Terrier and immediately fallen in love with the cuddly looks – well, we are gorgeous! She read about the kind temperament, how good we are with children and how playful we are. All of these things seemed positive, but she didn’t know where to get one.

One day she read about a dog show in a local town. That would be a good place to meet and maybe buy a dog she thought. They even mentioned Tibetan Terriers so she would get to see them.

So they turned up at the show and found the Tibetan Terrier class. These cuddly dogs were gliding around the ring and a strange couple over in the corner had a huge white rug in front of them which they were brushing. The family talked to a few owners and chatted to some of the dogs waiting around and discovered that they were friendly and all the owners were effusive about us.

The strange couple continued to brush the rug and The Help kept looking at them wondering what on earth they were doing. Towards the end of the competition someone went over to them and the lo and behold the rug got up and pranced into the ring! That did it. He was gorgeous and with that laid back personality who could resist getting one.

Whilst at the show they saw an advertisement for a 5month old Tibetan puppy being sold by a breeder about a two hour drive away. Not too bad a distance. The Help would have liked a younger puppy but there were no others nearby.

So a week later, the appointment was made and the family drove for hours to look at the puppy. The Help kept telling number one and number two son that they may not return with the puppy so they found the trip very tedious!

When they arrived at the house it was chaos. It seemed like dogs were everywhere. As well as breeding Tibetan Terriers these ladies also bred Briards, very large cattle herding dogs. Eventually they put the big dogs away and The Help and family were left with about a dozen Tibetan Terriers tearing around a small yard. It was like being in a cake shop for The Help – she would have taken every one but her eyes kept getting drawn to the only white one that was in the group.

She turned to her mother who was with them and expressed the wish that they’d take the white one away because it was the only one she had eyes for, she hadn’t taken any notice of the black and white pups running around.

The breeders eventually cut the white one out of the group and The Help thought that would be good because she could focus on the others. They put the white one on the table and told them that this was the puppy which was for sale. Apparently she was actually golden in colour and much prized. They had specifically bred their bitch with a dog from the UK in order to get a golden but her teeth had come through overshot and therefore she was useless to them. They were very disappointed. The Help not so much.

The first Tibetan for the family

The first Tibetan for the family

So of course the trip home was made with a squirming puppy who vomited into the gear box and got cuddled by The Help – so much for getting a puppy for her sons!

Toffee was a quiet Tibetan. She didn’t care for other dogs which was surprising as she had spent so much of her early life well socialized with the other pups, but she loved The Help. She loved all the family and would go out and play with the boys but The Help was her focus. One thing about us Tibetans is that we do tend to have a favourite in the family.

The Help apologises for the quality of the photos but she hadn’t mastered digital at that time and the photos have been on a few more travels since then.

Toffee loved her family

Toffee loved her family

She was definitely a family dog and was very stand offish with strangers and visitors. She had a great bark and frightened people coming to the door but then she would step aside and expect The Help to protect her. That’s what we do – we alert our people to intruders but then it’s up to them to look after us 🙂

Toffee with her wide grin

Toffee with her wide grin

She was bigger than I am, but I know that Zac and I were small for our breed. I often wonder if she would have liked me if we’d ever met. As she wasn’t too keen on other dogs probably not, but you never know, perhaps she only liked other Tibetans.

Toffee hanging out with the family

Toffee hanging out with the family

When The Help first got her she wouldn’t eat very much. Within days though she realized that wasn’t a good idea and from then on the battle was to stop her eating! Every hair cut revealed whether she needed a diet or not. I’m glad to say I have only had that problem since the pup has been around and I’ve occasionally got some of his food.


Like most of us she enjoyed her sleep! In fact she was a little too quiet at times and The Help actually took her to the vet at one point to see if she was okay. Everything came back clear so it was just that she was a passive dog.

Like me she did not like water. What is it with us Tibetans? She also hated snow which I haven’t ever seen. The Help told me that one day when the first snows came she decided to go walking in the forest behind their house. She drove up to the snowline and got out. Toffee was in the car and looking to stay there. She got her out and Toffee looked at her with scorn. Walk? In this? The Help set off, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was a little snow on the ground. Toffee trudged after her trailing a few metres behind. When The Help looked back Toffee stopped and shook her paws to get the snow off. After 20 minutes of walking with a dog in abject misery The Help gave up.

As soon as she turned around, Toffee turned and high tailed it back to the car and sat waiting eagerly to go home!

She was not an active dog. Many a time she went out for a walk with the family only to return in the arms of one of them as she refused to walk any further. Take it from me we Tibetans can be stubborn when we want to be 🙂


She went everywhere with the family and unlike myself never had a thought to go exploring. She hardly needed a lead and although the garden wasn’t fenced she wasn’t interested in leaving it. On their walks she would respond to The Help’s voice and if there was a cat or anything that caught her attention a quick word from The Help would make her ignore it. I could do that, I’m sure I could – if I wanted too.

Anyway, one of her favourite things was to go to the airport. The Boss was always travelling then and Toffee would go to the airport to pick him up. They would tie a bow around her neck and everyone would smile at her and for once she would wag her tail and was friendly. When she saw who it was she was coming to meet they would let the lead go and she would run to them – it was all very Heathcliff and Cathy if you get the picture.

When number two son left to go to University Toffee was almost twelve. She developed Cushings Disease as an elderly dog. Until that point you would never have known she was getting older. At first she responded to treatment but then didn’t. She became very weary and when the time came to put her down she was ready. You could see in her eyes that she just wanted to sleep.

For such a quiet girl she left a big space but it was time for The Help to move on again so she was in no hurry to try and fill the void. Toffee had been a great pal. She saw number one and number two son grow up and was a constant companion to The Help. She did her job and more and she did it beautifully. She is remembered as a lovely girl and all the memories are happy ones. So please, no tissues with this one!

Toffee was their first Tibetan and it is a tribute to her that they went on and got two more when next they settled long enough to be responsible.

Toffee, the golden Tibetan

Toffee, the golden Tibetan

Golden in colour and golden in nature., she was one of the good ones.

With love from Zena, the proud Tibetan

Author: Zena

I am The Princess (aka Zena), niece of Zac the All Black and awesome Tibetan Terrier who took me in when I was just a six week pup and tried to teach me all he knew. When I was six and he was eight, Zac crossed over the rainbow bridge and all of a sudden I was alone. I could no longer be the ditzy, happy-go-lucky pup that I had been. This is a diary of how one Princess managed when the world turned real.

32 thoughts on “The Princess Looks Back – Part Four

  1. What a glorious girl – a real beauty. How lucky the kids were to have such a playmate!

  2. mom says she can’t helo it…she’s a big sop & so has had a little weep anyway. But on the bright side, this was a much happier look back.
    xxx wally & sammy

  3. She was pretty. I’ve only ever seen one Tibetan that wasn’t black, or a black and white mix.
    She had a strange idea about the snowline though, one of my favourite things to do is a walk to the snowline – and keep going!

    • Yes, she was pretty and you could see why the breeders spent so much to try and get a golden to breed from, their loss was our gain. I’m sure there are Tibetan Terriers who like the snow but so far out of the three Tibetans The Help has had, all three have hated snow and even getting their paws wet!

      • You know I have a little Tibbie friend. She doesn’t generally like getting her paws wet, but she enjoys bouncing in the snow. She will tear round and round jumping until she is tired out and panting.

      • I think I should get The Help to take me up into the snow fields to find out if I like snow or not 🙂

  4. Very cute! Whee know the little hoomans really wanted a doggy but they need a lot more time than whee piggies do and some people say its like have another child! Glad you had such a sweet passive pretty doggy!!!

    Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil

    • All pets are a responsibility aren’t they? Some dogs take more work than others and there are so many things that go into making the decision to have one. I’m not sure I’d say it’s like having another child, but you do need to have time to walk them, train them and you can’t just go away on holiday without making plans. But then you need to plan for piggies too 🙂

  5. Oh Toffee was quite beautiful (not as beautiful as you of course!) and it sounds like she had a long and happy life with your family. We’ve been enjoying your “looking back” series and know from our OWN “looking back” that it’s not always smiles and fun but a mixture of good and bad times as most lives are. Anyway, thanks for another chapter in the “Before Zena” story!!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

    • I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it Sammy. It was interesting to remember some of the past pals who have influenced the family and enjoy their memory again.

  6. What a wonderful girl – and what a wonderful name – Toffee – you couldn’t find a better name for this girl! That was such a great post, Zena. Now the silver-misty-grey pup has some tears in his eyes but he is happy for another great memory you shared with him.

    • 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it and yes, she was a great girl and the name was right for her – much better than Raffles!!!!!

      • at least a guy named Raffles founded Singapore :o)

      • BOL! I don’t think our Raffles is likely to find anything significant at all 😉
        Can’t think why they named him Raffles, they say it’s because Raffles was an icon and second son had just stayed there. They said everyone who goes to Singapore wants to see the Raffles Hotel – I say – so what?
        Everyone who goes to Paris wants to see the Eiffel Tower or The Arc de Triomph, but they didn’t call him by any of those names and least they were French! He could have made a good Eiffel 😀
        Or if they really wanted to be true to his roots they could have called him after the Brandenburg Gate.
        Sigh….. names……. just glad they got it right with Zena!

      • Zena is a cool name, Princess, you’re right – but what’s in a name? I always ignore it when they call me – no matter what the call me :o) But I know a Weimaraner with the name Fly me to the moon Phoenix – I hope he will never run away, till they finish his name he is already in Timbuktu … or Singapore :o)

      • Love it!! Imagine standing in the park and calling out ‘Fly Me To The Moon Phoenix’ and all it ends up is Fly…. or maybe Phoenix which is better. I agree re the name. I only answer mine if it’s in my own interest otherwise I just ignore it. When they’re calling my name I figure it’s a good way to know they haven’t walked on without me! Zac taught me that one and it stuck. I did try with the pup but you wouldn’t believe him. He even leaves a game with his pals when they call him and then of course he’s the goody goody! Yuck! Well, I’m the free, independent one so there 🙂

      • …he leaves a game with his pals when they call him? That’s alarming!

      • I KNOW!!!! Does no-one else understand how bad this is?

  7. Cushing’s? I have the opposite-Addison’s. I’ll be 11 next month and I’m fine as long as I have my once every 25 day shot.

    • I’m glad you’re doing so well. Apparently with Cushing’s there can be a couple of causes, one is hormonal and the other a growth. Because Toffee eventually failed to respond to the treatment the vet felt there was a growth on the pituitary gland and he did not recommend surgery at her age (she was 12).

  8. This was not a sad chapter Zena it tells us a little about how you came to be with the family later on…Toffee sounds like a different sort of dog than you, but one that loved her family and was much loved in return

    • I’m so glad you didn’t find it sad Gizmo, I began to be afraid I was chasing everyone off!
      Yes, although we were the same breed our characters are very different. Toffee was not very friendly to people or dogs and I am very friendly to everyone and everything – The Help tells me it’s the difference between an Aussie dog and a French dog 😉
      She was definitely loved and obviously a good Ambassador for the Tibetan breed because it was the only dog The Boss would contemplate having when they were next able to think about adding a furkid.

  9. What a beautiful doggie and what a lovely name. We loved Toffee’s story, but can’t help to shed a tear after all. Pawkisses for you Princess 🙂

  10. Zena, coming back to read the post, not suppose to be on compawter today..Just wanted to say Happy Daddie’z day xx00xxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  11. She sure was a pretty doggie! I’ve really enjoyed your looking back series Zena

  12. My mommy loved reading Toffee’s story, and we are both quite certain that Toffee would have loved you, Zena! Like Toffee, I could probably use braces on my not-so-perfect pearl whites, so my mommy just loves that the Help saw the beauty in Toffee that her breeders failed to recognize. Looking forward to the next installment of Looking Back.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Nobody else who saw Toffee would have known there was anything wrong with her teeth, I have the same ‘problem’, to me it adds to our charm 🙂

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