Born in May 2013, Henry is a purebred Shih Tzu. An interesting fact, according to a description on the Animal Planet TV show, is that the little Shih Tzu is actually more closely related to the wolf than many other breeds. It is one of the oldest breeds of dog, originally bred in Tibet as a lap dog more than 2,000 years ago. It lived in the Chinese Imperial Court, where it was given the name “Lion Dog,” and legend has it they slept at the foot of the nobles’ beds and acted as foot warmers. Today they are noted as being outgoing, affectionate, and playful companions.
Such a busy fellow, but
sometimes Henry can be lazy, as well.
When Henry came to live with Emma, she socialized him, trained him, and groomed him to be a show dog.
Henry earned several first-place blue ribbons.
But Henry had other ideas. It seemed he was thrilled when anyone stopped to pet him, but appeared hurt when people , including judges, came to examine him and then just stepped away. Although Henry was well socialized and did okay in the show ring, Emma began to notice he simply didn’t like being there. He would much rather be sitting on someone’s lap or be cradled in his or her arms rather than standing around on his own four feet.
When Emma took Henry with her to visit a nursing home one day, by the time they left he had greeted everyone in the building. He also loves kids, no matter how they behave, and has always enjoyed being read to (although Emma says he has a habit of sitting on the book).
Come join me,
ready for you now.
It soon became clear Henry was a therapy dog, not a show dog. When only one year old, he passed his Canine Good Citizen test and then his Therapy Dogs International test with flying colors, and began visiting two nursing homes right away. He quickly completed fifty visits and earned his AKC Therapy Dog (THD) title.
Henry proudly wears his Pet Partners vest.
Because the libraries and hospitals in their area only accept Pet Partners teams, eleven months after passing his TDI test Henry passed his Pet Partners Skills and Aptitude tests with a “Complex” qualification rating. Immediately after that, Emma and Henry became a Reading Education Assistance Dog® team as well.
Now I also have a R.E.A.D.® tag on my vest.
In addition to the nursing homes, Henry now enjoys visiting two schools. Emma says she has to take the reading specialists at their word when they say that the kids Henry gets to work with are struggling readers because, with Henry as their audience, she’s never heard them struggle to read!
Henry surrounded by special books,
including one called Henry.
Emma had a book made about Henry, which the youngsters claim is their favorite book now, and they ask every day when the next Henry-visit will be.