This is the story of Bobby, a rambunctious little Lhasa Apso puppy who moved from England to France and turned into a loving, yet very stubborn friend.
- Pet Name — Bobby, already named (nickname Bo chan)
- Age — 3 years old
- How you got it — He was a bequest
- Breed — Lhasa Apso
- Favourite food — Chorizo sausage
- Favourite activity — Howling at the church bells (with the rest of the dogs in the area)
- Favourite place to hang out — On your lap
- Favourite toy — He doesn’t do toys but will chew your shoes
- Residence — Aude, France
THE PUPPY WHO LOST HIS HUMAN
Bobby came to our family after my mother’s very dear friend passed away. As my mother’s friend was in her 80s my mum made a promise that if anything happened to her friend, that she would look after Bobby. When Bobby was just a puppy my mum’s friend took ill suddenly and died soon after. This was of course traumatic for everyone involved and caring for a puppy is something that the rest of the family couldn’t take on. At the start of Bobby’s life all he knew was living in a large pen in a house and his experience of the outside world was a lawn in a small back garden.
THE MOVE TO SOUTH OF FRANCE
The promise between two friends was honoured and after all the inoculations and pet passport were in place, he was ready to move from England and begin his new life in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the South of France.
When he first arrived, he was ill-equipped to deal with things around him. He had never really experienced a normal life. Strange noises, smells, sights and sounds all were alarming to him at first. For example, he got very upset when he saw people lying down, as this probably reminded him of his original owner ill in bed.
BERTIE AND HECTOR – THE SUPPORTING BROTHERS
We first took Bobby for a walk around the local lake, a large area surrounded by mountains. He just lay down and tried to get as flat on the ground as he could – he had never seen wide open spaces before and didn’t know what to do! Luckily for Bobby our family two other wonderful dogs were there to lend a hand. Bertie – another Lhasa Apso, a well-balanced, nothing-phases-him canine superhero and Hector the Tibetan Terrier, a dog with savoir-faire.
We’ve always felt that if it wasn’t for our other dogs, Bobby would have had a much harder time adjusting. They taught him how behave and they led by example how to act when on a walk, at a market and approaching other people on the street for instance.
FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH WATER
When Bobbly saw water for the first time, he was bewildered and anxious, but as soon as he saw Bertie and Hector splashing around he approached the river and promptly plonked his paws in the water to feel this strange substance. A few weeks later another water baby was born and now in summer he enjoys nothing more than taking flying leaps into the local lake and wading in the rivers.
THE HERITAGE OF THE LHASA APSO BREED
Bobby was a rambunctious little puppy. He has always loved to play and has very stubborn streak. Perhaps this is due to his Tibetan origins. Lhasa Apsos were traditionally bred to live with the monks in monasteries around Lhasa, Tibet. They were alert dogs – used to sound the alarm in the interior of houses and monasteries unlike the large Tibetan Mastiffs that guarded outside. They were known in Tibet as "Abso Seng Kye" which means “the Bark Lion Sentinel Dog”, so you could say they were a kind of spiritual burglar alarm.
They are a very old breed and also one of the breeds in the world who are most closely related to wolves according to recent research. This is perhaps most noticeable in Bobby when he howls every day at 12pm and 7pm when the local church bells ring.
Bobby is now 3 years old and enjoys his life with our family with love, walks and swims. He sleeps on the bed and goes to the local dog training club (which is still a work in progress). Our dogs are little celebrities in the small village where they live. Bobby is often greeted with Bonjour Pollux! That's the French name of Dougal from the "Magic Roundabout" who was a Lhasa Apso.
THE HEALING POWER OF DOGS
He can be very cheeky but is also a sensitive soul with insecurities left by his traumatic start – so he needs lots of cuddles and attention, all of which are happily provided for him! He helped my mother heal from the loss of her close friend. His life changed and so did ours when he moved to France and he has given our family, love, loyalty, fun and ear-splitting barks. He (along with the rest of our canine family) is testament to the healing power of dogs.
Author: LC, Bobby's human sister