Our beloved Dalai

Today, our beautiful 16 year old Tibetan Terrier Dalia had a stroke and joined her brother Deano in heaven.  Our 16 year old daughter Eve was home with the dogs while Lawson and I had run to the farmers market when Dalai had her stroke.  Eve did an amazing job of maintaining her composure while caring for Dalai as best she could while we rushed home.  We then rushed to the nearest emergency vet but there was no hope for recovery.  They gave us time to say goodbye, to be with her till the very end.  We were sobbing.  The vet was crying.  We are numb and already miss her so much!  I can’t even believe I am writing this.  Just this morning she barked at me to get up and get out of bed.  She walked down two flights of steps this morning.  She ate her food with gusto this morning.  She was running around the house life crazy just a day or so ago.  Life can change in an instant.

We were so fortunate to find Dalai in 2002.  She (and her brother Deano) came into our life while we were waiting to bring our daughter Eve home from India.  India had shut down adoptions (even for those of us who had met all the qualifications and who had our baby waiting for us) for a period of time.  We were a mess because we had no idea how long we would have to wait and we desperately needed babies to love on…..enter little puppies Dalai and Deano!  Deano and Dalai were such wonderful diversions.  All of the cute baby Dalai pictures are in storage in the United States because photos weren’t digital back then.  Here are a few photos we do have digital copies of the two of them together!
From the very beginning, Dalai was headstrong and opinionated!  She has always been the alpha dog in our family!  She ran the show when it was just her and Deano and then later when we inherited Dani and brought little puppy Felix home!  Dalai was always great about expressing her opinions to us.  We always knew when it was 8 am and 5 pm because Dalai would remind us it was time for her to eat.  During her time in quarantine entering Australia from the USA, she lost her voice because she barked so much trying to let those at the quarantine center know how unhappy she was with the circumstances!  Dalai was such a great teacher to us.  Some found Dalai aloof but we learned to meet her where she was.  Deano and Felix, our boy Tibetan Terriers, were/are huge love bugs but Dalai was the kind of girl who wants to be in the room with you but doesn’t need to be touching you all the time.   In fact, she needed space.  When she did come give you love, it felt so special!  She was really a daddy’s girl but she loved the rest of us too!
Eve and Dalai
We named Dalai after the Dalai Llama in part because of the Tibet connection and partly because she seemed to just be so settled in herself.  Our boy dogs are/have been a little neurotic and nervous…not Dalai!  Self assured, calm, assertive at times, chilled at other times….always so grounded.  It sounds silly but there have been times that Lawson and I wish we could just put Dalai in charge of things because she seemed more mature than either of us!  What ever are we going to do without her?
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Dalai was such a strong little girl.  She was a fierce little spirit in a small package!  She was too small for her breeder to show and maybe because of her small size she had tons of issues with her ears for a very long time before we finally had her ear canal removed.  She bounced back from the surgery with no problem and was still able to hear us (although she was selective in her hearing).  She lived in 6 different cities and 2 countries.  She took countless roadtrips between Alabama and Atlanta and Florida and Atlanta and Little Rock and Florida and finally a cross country trip with her siblings in a minivan!  She lost her beloved companion Deano at the age of 12.  She accepted Dani and Felix into our unit.  She even welcomed Karo cat into our family.  She helped love on me as I was recovering from my burns and she has helped us both grieve losing our parents.  She survived quarantine and at our last vet visit she looked to be beating cancer  She was such an amazing little spirit!
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Among Dalai’s favorite things were greenies (one every morning or we heard about it), Buddha hedgehog chew toys, food, walks, playing with her brother, sleeping (especially half on/half off the bed) and having her family at her beck and call!
Dalai half on half off bed
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Our hearts are completely broken but we are so grateful for every moment we have had with our Dalai Baba.  Tibetan Terriers are called “little people” for their human like qualities.  Dalai was a beautiful example of that!   We are officially sick of death and its constant presence in our life.  If there is any good that comes from this all too frequent guest in our life, it is a reminder to love with your heart wide open!  Dalai did that!  Dalai helped us be better human beings just by being herself.  I hope we are that for others in some small way,.  Hug your puppy or kitty or kiddo or parent or partner a little tighter today!  I’m off to cry myself to sleep…or so I hope.  Here’s what our daughter Eve wrote as a tribute to our sweet girl.  We will miss you our beautiful Dalai!  Thank you for loving us so well!


20 Comments on “Our beloved Dalai

  1. Such an inspiring and loving tribute. TT’s are such a great breed.

    • Thanks so very much! They are extraordinary! We feel so fortunate to have had three of them in our family so far! I hope we always will have one! Hugs to Lena!

  2. Am in tears reading this, have brother and sister myself and can relate to so much you have written, rest in peace little one, knowing you brought so much joy and love into your family’s life xxx

    • Thanks so very much Janine! It is heart wrenching! There is such a void in our home right now! Hugs to your babies!

  3. A beautiful tribute to your beautiful girl. She has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and will be so happy to see all who have gone before her. Your pain will pass, but you will never forget her. These ‘Little People’ find places in your heart that you never realised were there. They are just so special. My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

    • Thank you so much Rosemary! Yes, she is with her Deano boy now which is helpful to think about! They are unlike any breed we have ever encountered! We feel honored to be theirs!

  4. Oh Susan. Such beautiful photos. My tears are flowing for y’all. Having met Dalai and seeing her with all of you I know that behind that aloofness was a gal who gave you unconditional love. As Eve said she is pain free and at rest. Our loved ones both human and animal leave this World for a better place. But we miss their presence, their very being. God bless and much love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Thanks so much Rhonda! Her spirit was so strong! The house is so very quiet right now but our first 30a guests are arriving tomorrow so that will help so much to keep us busy and fill the void!

  5. Dear Kelleys:
    I will miss knowing she’s not in your family fold. Like Frank Sinatra, she did things HER way, and I appreciated her uniqueness. She stood her ground and really “ran” the house at times. I enjoyed the craziness of hedgehog-possession-against-all-would-be-takers. And HER schedule superceded human, cat, and other dogs; now that’s the picture of a self-confident lady. I thank her for bringing joy to a big circle and for refusing “to go gently into that good night.” ❤️

    • Boy did she ever do things her way! Gosh do we miss her strong presence! I think she was the most confidant one in our unit! You are so right in how she often ran the house! It was 6 pm yesterday and we finally realized, as Felix sat forlornly by his bowl, that we had forgotten to feed them! You were part of her pack you know?! Gosh do we miss you too! We are so ready for you to visit!

  6. Susan I am praying for all of you as you mourn. Fur babies become like people in our lives. It sounds like Dalai had definitely become that for you all. I firmly believe we will see our fur babies again. That is what I hold on to when I have lost one of my babies in the past. Love, Wendy

    • Thanks so much Wendy! They certainly do! They are our children too! I believe that as well and it does help as we mourn losing her. She’s with her brother Deano and our parents and will someday leap into our arms again as will yours!

  7. Sending you much love from me and my two TT boys Reggie and Vinnie.
    They’re not long in our homes but are forever in our hearts

    • Thanks so much Alison! Big hugs to your two boys! Love their names!

  8. Susan, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet fur baby. I’m crying with all of you. Thank you for sharing your stories and pictures of Dalai. We know she has found the Rainbow Bridge and is playing with those who went before her.

    • Oh thanks so much Miller! Yes, she’s romping with her boy Deano boy no doubt! Hope you can visit us sometime! Hugs to you!

  9. I am so sorry that you lost your Dalai I also had a dog Bodie who I lost exactly a year today!!! Run sweet Dalai and find Bodie maybe you two can have as many greenies as you want, you see Bodie would open the drawer every morning or we would also hear about it. He also was born in 2002 you are so lucky to have had her another year than I did.
    Got speed to your family!

    • Dear Jill, I am so sorry I somehow missed your comment! Thank you so very much for your kind words! I bet Dalai has found her brother Deano and together they are romping with your Bodie!! I am so sorry for your loss as well! Thank you again for your thoughtful words and forgive my delay in responding!

  10. What a beautiful tribute! She must have been one special pup! It is so hard to express the emotions experienced with the loss of a fur baby, but you have done so in such a heartfelt and meaningful way. Hoping the day comes very soon when the feeling of joy from your memories of your time together outweighs the feeling of loss.

    • Thank you so very much Carolyn! She was such a special girl! We miss her terribly but know how lucky we were to have her on this journey with us these past 16 years! I’m sorry I missed your comment when it was posted. We have just had our first round of US guests visit for two weeks and today is our first day where we aren’t tour guides. Hope you and Jim can visit us sometime! Thanks again for your kind comment!

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