ALL I want for Christmas is . . .

A Shih Tzu Puppy
I’ve been so lonely since my little Tabitha died

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I guess Santa got my letter

Some of you were aware that I finally decided that, apartment ready or not, sharing my life with another Shih Tzu was exactly what the doctor ordered to turn this miserable year around.

I’d love to be able to rescue but, like almost everything else, it’s a bit more complicated in my case.  I am highly allergic to all cats and almost every other breed of dog, so if I am to remain breathing I must make sure the animal I live with is a purebred Shih Tzu.



The very idea of buying a dog activates my own black and white thinking – in spades!

After much investigation, I finally found a breeder I trusted, put a deposit down before making final payment on one of the most adorable little puppies I’ve ever seen.  I was just about to hop on a plane to go get the little guy when everything blew up in my face.

Won’t anything ever go right again? was my reaction,
tears of disappointment streaming down my face.

If you’ve been following along since the gang mugging, resulting medical drama, forced move, FOUR repeats of iPhone failure, the auction where everything in my rented storage space was sold after they couldn’t reach me by phone, etc. – this year alone – you’ll understand that was not quite the over-reaction it might otherwise seem to be.

Getting back on the horse

On the recommendation of Lynn Fontaine, the wonderful and spiritually generous original breeder, I spoke with Twana of Pe-Kae Treasures – a breeder she had known for quite a while (and only a day trip away by car).

SO . . . while this article auto-posts, Peggy Ramundo and I are in her car and on our way to pick up my little Christmas puppy.

Oh yes, there really IS a Santa Claus!

ShihTzu in car


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Wanna’ see his first baby picture?


My own little piece of [gluten-free] pumpkin pie heaven

The breeder’s name for him is Pumpkin (he was apparently a lot more “orange” than it appears from the photo above, taken when he was less than 7 weeks old – with a chocolate mask and ear tips, not black, as it appears in his i-net baby pictures).  When I meet him – TODAY! – I’ll decide if that name stays or if he looks like some other name to me.**

If he were older, of course, I would NEVER rename him, but at the tender age of a little over two months he can’t really understand much language, so I doubt he answers to his name yet.

An added benefit

Since I only wake to touch and not to sound, each of the other Shih Tzus who have lived with me throughout my life have been a HUGE help toward chrono-regulation.

I can’t WAIT until this new baby has been trained to awaken me with a puppy kiss so that he can go outside!


As I said in response to a comment on ADD and Christmas Too (repeated here because I seriously have to stop blogging and GO!), I am SUDDENLY wondering if I’m going to be able to maintain my Deck-the-Halls sanity this year!

I have been frantically puppy-proofing like a mad thing, and seriously regretting my decision to dig out everything all at once (as I make repeated trips back down to my basement storage unit to remove a great many things I recently brought UP those same stairs – anything likely to pose a danger to a less than 10-week old TINY dog!)

Even if, for the entire month of December, I have to close off the living room (which currently looks like Macy’s Christmas storeroom after an earthquake) and hastily move a great many items of decor to the shelves in my office — not the prettiest presentation or conducive to the best of functioning — the joy of being a Shih Tzu mom once again will leave me radiantly happy this Christmas.

I hope you are radiantly happy this Christmas too.

On Pinterest, ALL Shih Tzus are mine!

(Scroll DOWN for Puppy Update & links)

© 2014, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”

PumpkinScarfPuppy Update:
The trip was uneventful, we are home, and he is adorable.  He also seems to be unusually smart. It took once for him to learn where I wanted him to go to the bathroom, so potty training is practically done and over with until his final shots, when it will be safe for him to go outside.

Twana sent me home with a Santa Bag of puppy essentials, including a container of the Taste of Wild Bison Small Bite puppy food he was used to (and some Iams® ProActive Health™ Puppy Biscuits for a healthy treat).  She told me he liked, of all things, bananas and broccoli!

A bit overwhelmed and shy at first, the NEW YORK MINUTE he figured out that I was the keeper of all things banana, he decided he’d stay (and began to look around the joint – to see if he could locate my stash, I guess).  He is sleeping on my lap as I type – and I will be joining him in dreamland as soon as I hit update.

**Update TWO: I’ve been trying out a variety of names on this little tiny boy, and the one he seems to respond to best is TinkerToy (actually comes when I call) — so unless somebody quickly suggests another name that better strikes both our fancies, Tinkertoy it is.

Further update in comment below.

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Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

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You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on
(in case you missed them above or below)

Other supports for this article – on

A Few OTHER LinkLists by Category
(to articles here on

Shih Tzu Related Offerings ’round the ‘net

BY THE WAY: Since is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

30 Responses to ALL I want for Christmas is . . .

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  11. Ana Lopez says:

    Hi Madelyn – Tink is ADORABLE! We are so happy to hear that he loves his new GoodiePup Sweet Potato Chewies. We took great care when developing our treats, to make sure we only included ingredients that we’d want our own pups to eat. Our best friends deserve the best!

    For those who would like to check us out, please visit for a variety of treats. Always made in small batches with simple/human grade ingredients. No wheat, corn or soy. No artificial flavors/ingredients. No preservatives!


    • Thanks! I think so, of course, but then I may be just a tad prejudiced. I’m thrilled and impressed that you took the time to jump over to “meet” his little baby self. He is now two years old — TODAY — and a great big 10-1/2 pounds.

      READERS with dogs: Chewies are a healthy Tink-approved rawhide alternative treat from a small company in Cincinnati, Ohio (so I can buy them “live” – but you can order online).

      They are made with ONLY one ingredient: Dehydrated sweet potatoes. Dehydration removes much of the moisture, but not quite as much as freeze drying, so that each piece reaches perfect chewiness. Just like home-made without the work. Goodiepup has other treats too, but Tink is crazy about sweet potatoes.

      Disclosure: This is an unsolicited RAVE about a product I purchased with cash money. 🙂


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  18. Janice Jones says:

    What a Cutie! I love his little liver nose and his hair coloring is amazing. Looks like you got a great little puppy and what a wonderful time of year –what could be better than starting the new year with a new puppy.

    Gotta love those bananas and broccoli, but I might add two more treat options that my Tzu’s love. Their favorites: Raw carrots and cooked green beans. They seem to gobble them up faster than any meat item I offer. Go Figure, maybe the ancestral Shih Tzu diet was vegetarian.

    I love your site and can’t wait to dig in. Living with two ADD family members (husband and grown son) I’m sure I could use some help, not to mention that they might benefit as well.


    • Thanks, Janice – he has the smallest nose of any Shih Tzu I’ve ever had (also the only liver) — and I adore him more every single day.

      It looks like he’s getting lighter, however. Mask no longer reads black, gold undertones growing out. When his undercoat coat starts filling in, THAT will tell the tale. I’d love him if he turned out purple, however.
      SIDEBAR TO READERS: Janice is a Shih Tzu breeder (‘tho not Tink’s). Her site, http://www. supports a-whole-lot-MORE than Shih Tzu owners – or even little dog fanciers: health, training, picking the right dog, and more. GO CHECK HER OUT.

      TinkerToy has recently figured out that if he wants my attention OFF the computer and ON to him, all he has to do is find something he knows I don’t want in his mouth and trot over to my chair, looking like he is saying, “So, distract me, Mom!” SUCH a funny breed – and SO smart!

      I don’t have it IN me to be a breeder – but I sure wish I did. I breed vicariously by following folks like you and pinning cute pics and links to helpful articles on my Shih Tzu-focused Pinterest Boards.

      We’ve already discovered the carrots (which may have replaced bananas on Tink’s list of favs while he’s teething, since they’re sweet AND crunchy!) I’ll give the beans a try. COOKED green beans? Not raw?

      I had no idea that you had a personal interest in ADD (but I did read your background and know that you worked with the neurodiverse as an educator). START with THIS Linklist – foundational explanations for what’s going on.

      I’m sure you know a great deal of the info – so skim – but I’ll bet you a puppy that SOME of the info will be brand new and spark at least one aha!

      Thanks for jumping over and giving my early puppy-saga a read – and especially for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Happy New Year to you Madelyn and your precious pup. I am so happy things worked out for you. I always have the feeling that things happen exactly how they are supposed to happen. I hope this lil man is everything you imagined and more! I’ll be keeping in touch and watch your relationship grow with ????, what’s the final verdict on his name??? Hugs, Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tinkertoy and I just got back from spending New Years with friend & colleague Peggy Ramundo – so this is my first MINUTE at the computer since earlier New Years Eve. Was planning an email update tomorrow to say Happy New Year and express similar sentiments to you and Sawyer. I KNOW he is quickly becoming the apple of your eye.

      Tink got his last series of shots, etc. & the ok from the vet to go outside, so for the past 2-1/2 days he has been in heaven exploring grass, sidewalks, leaves (and sticks – gotta watch him like a hawk!)

      He is a VERY smart little boy. I talk to him practically non-stop and his vocabulary is amazing. Already knows several versions of his name, sit, fetch, come, broccoli, banana, carrot, big duck and little duck (two of his toys), fresh water, dog yummy (the little pieces of puppy bones he gets ONLY when he uses the pee-pee pad or goes outside) – and the understanding of quite a few more are close. He thinks “heel” means “okay to walk again” but doesn’t exactly get the placement just yet (we stop and “sit” often – then heel)

      Still working on stay (meaning, for now, in the sit position until he gets his treat), drop it or leave it, and no. He gets that I’m not happy with him, but not exactly that it means “stop that.” We do [brief] time outs in his carrier in the next room from me for kleenex shredding or nipping (breaks my heart when he whimpers), so I think he’ll have NO some time next week.

      The dog LIVES to please – friendly toward all so far – and behaved himself VERY well in the neighborhood hang where we spent the last hours of New Year’s Eve (quiet in his carrier on my lap for almost three hours). He handled the vet visit like a little pro and mostly understands already that going to the bathroom outside makes me ecstatic. Oh yeah, and he knows “go potty” and begins his circle dance immediately.

      For an 11 week old puppy, that is incredible, don’t you think? He catches on VERY quickly – and would probably do calculus for a piece of banana. I may have to enroll him in Agility just to keep him learning. He is still only 4-½ pounds and I love him to pieces.

      He is conked out in his chair (snugged up next to mine when my focus is on the screen) – and I am about to put BOTH of us to bed (he sleeps with me, but still in his carrier – door unzipped – until I can trust that he is FULLY potty trained).

      I can NEVER thank you enough for your kindness in making a Christmas puppy happen for me. But for your referral, it would have been sad and lonely instead of messy and WONDERFUL. There aren’t very many breeders, I imagine, who would refer someone to another breeder. YOU are AMAZING!

      I hope this year is wonderful for you and your kids (and ALL the pups) – and that you have more business than you can handle with your careful breeding schedule. You MUST keep me in the loop when Sawyer starts to sire. You know I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the little guy I never met but fell in love with anyway.



  20. RESPONSE to Andy Wolmer:

    Thanks. I don’t know HOW your comment ended up on the photo page alone, where it doesn’t show up for anyone to SEE.

    If I had missed the “backstage” notification, I would never have seen it myself. SO glad to hear from you – and I guess this means you DID get my email?

    Perhaps we will speak again soon?



  21. I am so pleased that it all worked out and you are happy with your boy. What a way to start the year. Blessings to you and your new family member~Lynn Fontaine at Meadowlyn’s Dream Shih Tzu and Imperials

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is a darling – and I am so grateful that YOUR generosity of spirit made it possible (and that you jumped over to read about him and leave a comment). He gets bolder every day – really, I keep threatening to actually NAME him Hoover – because he thinks anything he finds on the floor is his to vacuum up with his tiny mouth. Since I am still decking my halls, I have to watch him like a hawk (and I don’t think I have ever swept or vacuumed so many times a day in my entire LIFE!).

      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, despite recent events – and that the New Year is *everything* you would wish it to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. wendy says:

    Oh my friend, I’m so happy for you. I’m sorry I have been MIA for so long. My health has not been ideal for the past month or so. If you want the short version, all tied up in a bow…kind of…well it tells what the plan is from here, here’s the link to my update post.

    But enough about me…..
    How cool is that?!
    I’m so delighted. You need this love in your life, and a great way to end this miserable year and an absolutely wonderful way to start the next one.
    He is adorable.

    Bananas and broccoli. My last dog, Sandy, loved both of those too. Kiki likes bananas, but it’s not a treat like it was for Sandy. I did find out last night that she likes carrots! Unfortunately, she seems to like any stick, leaf, or fluff she finds on the floor. Somehow she seems to get my hair….it is very sad when a tiny dog tries to go poo and out comes a long human hair.
    She is still a scrounger dog though. She looks at everything as a source of food. It is sad to know at one time she was always hungry. (we do Blue Buffalo too!)

    I’m so very happy you are Radiantly Happy!!
    that is a gift to me!
    xoxo w

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am SO happy to hear from you, Wendy – I figured that health issues were behind the apparent silence.

      It has been on my list to hop over to your blog to see what was up, but it hasn’t yet made it to the top (it keeps getting bumped!).

      Kiki seems fairly “typical” to me – every time I must consider a name for a puppy I always think HOOVER would be the most apt.

      I may have to bite the bullet and get an honest-to-goodness vacuum cleaner, despite my extreme hatred of cords — my cordless works just fine for my tastes, but it sometimes leaves something behind that I don’t want to have to pull out of a puppy mouth.

      It is MORE than sad that ANY of God’s creatures are always hungry – which reminds me that I need to send my Christmas gift to Heifer International. ( for how donation works or for more detail).

      My Christmas wish for YOU is that 2015 will turn out to be the first of many years of RADIANT HEALTH!!
      xx, mgh


  23. Trish says:

    Congrats on your new “baby” and Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Trish – for reading & commenting, of course, but mostly for understanding what a BIG deal this little guy is in my life at this time. Merry Christmas to you too.

      It’s a darned good thing I celebrate Twelfth Nite, because I believe there is NO way that I could be ready by Christmas Eve, considering all. A light strand on my biggest tree is dead (pre-lit tree hassle!) It will have to be replaced before I can move on to emptying boxes of tree baubles currently stacked shoulder-high on my sectional couch in my puppy-proofing frenzy.

      One short week ago I might have been mightily annoyed – looking down at the tiny tummy-with-fur asleep on my lap, it is simply something to add to my growing to-do list.

      Perspective is all, huh? Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment.


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