When the Norwegian missionaries living and working in Kiabakari decided to return to Norway, they couldn’t take their dog with them and asked on Facebook if anyone wanted the two-year old dog. Karen saw the picture and said yes immediately. At the time, we didn’t know that she was a Tibetan Terrier, but do now. I have quoted below an article on these dogs that will explain why not only Karen, but John and I also love the sweet, little dog we call “Sissie.”
Born in Tibet, Tibetan Terriers were bred in lamaseries to be companions not only to the holy men who raised them but also to nomadic herdsmen as they wandered the high plains with their flocks. The shaggy, medium-size dogs were thought to bring good luck, so they were never sold but only given as gifts or thanks for favors. People who live with the breed today understand just what a gift they are. The breed's name is a bit of a misnomer, as the Tibetan Terrier is not a true terrier at all. Lively and fun loving, she is, but those characteristics are tempered with a sweet and kind nature. Beneath a fall of hair, her eyes twinkle with good humor.
Like all dogs, Tibetan Terriers thrive on human companionship. It's no wonder they excel as therapy dogs. Hearkening back to their history as lamasery alarm dogs, they are alert to anything different and make super watchdogs. It's not unusual for Tibetan Terriers to be reserved with strangers, but they shower affection on their people. With their protective double coat and large, flat, round feet to provide traction it looks as if they are wearing a robe and house shoes. The Tibetan Terrier is a pleasant dog who enjoys life and loves people. She'll adapt to life with a couch potato (me) or an active family, always approaching every day with an endearing sense of humor and a sparkle in her eye.
She loves Karen best of all and the other day escaped from the yard so she could go sit with Karen during a teachers meeting. Wherever Karen is, she is. She’ll go with me if she thinks I have food or treats for her and will let John and I pet her for hours at a time. She is full of life and can leap at least three feet with no take off. The article I quoted above talks about using them as therapy dogs—all I know is that it calms me to sit and pet her. We treat her as if God has sent us something to love that would love us back and keep us young and feeling adored. That is a very good feeling. Living to fifteen years on average, she will be with us for a long time. Thank you to the Norwegians now back in Norway, thank you to the Archers (Australian Anglican missionaries who live near us) for picking her up and bringing her to us. There simply are not words in adequate numbers or meaning to explain the difference she has made in our family, but she has, and we are blessed by her.