I used to have Jack Russell terrier, who was cute, but too hyper for my lifestyle. He, poor soul, was- unexpected and unwanted gift… And I suspect he knew it. Sparky done everything in his power, to drive me crazy. I mean, unthinkable stuff, it was bad.. He was with me for approximately 4 months, and then (Thanks God!) someone took him to the house in the farm. That dog lived there happy-ever-after.
I was traumatized by experience with Sparky and swore, that I will never have another dog, but then something happened… My son who never seen dogs anywhere but in story books saw the pup on the street, and he fell in love. I think doggy could have been second word he said (first was Daddy). From that moment I heard doggy-doggy-doggy hundreds of times a day. Sometimes when he was asleep I would whisper- “Doggy” and he would giggle in his sleep. He just loved dogs.
When Richard was over two years of age, we decided to buy the pup. I knew, that I have to make right choice for us. I had criteria:
- No Male dogs (Really, Sparky was rather pervert with my cushions, so I was hoping female will not cause such issues.).
- No high energy dogs, (my 1st child was always bad sleeper and I just had no energy for long runs and chasing)
- No high maintenance dogs. No long hair or fluffy fur coat.
- No big dogs- our house was rather small, with small backyard in the village.
- No too delicate dogs, I did not want my son to hurt poor thing.
So that narrowed list down. We looked through all options and trying to chose between Pug and SharPei… I remember loving Shar-Pei’s wrinkles, but my partner was worried about cleaning/ washing/ skin condition. He wanted Pug, and he said- Look at this pretty face, its like a moon! Then we read, that if pug is pulled hard by the collar, his eyes might pop out (Oh My God!). Shar-Pei it is then.
Two weeks later little black pup arrived. She was beautiful.
And her tongue was bluish- black! Later I learned, that Shar-Pei use their tongue to scare Evil Spirits away (Bonus!).
Our son couldn’t keep his hands of her, he would not eat or sleep, he needed to carry his doggy! It was exhausting. Suddenly I was taking care of the poor pup full time, because the minute I did turn my back on them, my son was at that poor pup again, and no amount of explaining, could make him understand- you are hurting doggy’s tail/legs / back… I was in hell. But then time passed and things got better and we actually were able to enjoy our time together Me, my son and Lily.
She was amazing with him, very tolerant. I think one more good trait of this breed is that their pain tolerance is very high, if he pulled her by the skin, it did not hurt her, cause her skin is stretchy and thick. Well, we must remember that Chinese Shar-Pei originally were bread to be fighter dogs, so they are not easily hurt. It was extremely important, that she came from good family home with children, so it was nothing new for her, to be poked at with small fingers.
I know my son at times been rough with her, not with intention to hurt, but playfully not knowing his own strength, he was only toddler at the time, so they grew together like two kids.
One thing however is quite inconvenient, its her overprotectiveness of us- her family. She does not like strangers. But this could be because we do not have guests often, so she is not used to strangers. I have seen other Shar-Pai parents (lol) mention the same issue. I think it is good in one way- it gives great feeling of security.
Now she is getting older and I have noticed, that she does not like to be touched. I read somewhere, that Shar-Pei is not your cuddly-pet, they are guard dogs who demand respect and privacy.
In four years her only health issues been surgery to remove curled skin from over her eyes, because her eye-lashes tend to grow inwards and irritate her eyes. And ear infections, drops done the job for them. No other health problems were observed.
Lily is perfect family pet. She is part of our family. We love her so much, and I know in my heart, there is no other dog like her in the whole wide world. So intelligent, loyal, compassionate, sweet, gentle, respectful, kind, tolerant, protective, calm, quiet and understanding.
Food for thought:
- ONLY gift the pup, if you are sure person wants it.
- Choose right breed for you.
- If its an option- ADOPT from shelter, rather than buy from breeder.
- If buying from breeder is your only option, choose honest, responsible breeder.
- If you have young children be prepared to have extra job on our hands, protecting the pup or the child, or both. (I know I have been there, kids can be unintentionally rough, and not every dog will be tolerant if pulled by the tail or been sat on.)
- And finally- love your dog, he/she is the best, most loyal friend you will ever have.