The Salty Dog: Good Karma in Sarasota


I am a Tibetan Terrier (TT), an ancient breed. I am fierce. I was bred by the Tibetans to sit for hours on top of snowy mountain peaks and to use my keen eyes and sharp bark to warn my humans about invaders. I am a watch dog.

In Tibet, the members of my breed are referred to as “Little People” and as the “Holy Dogs of Tibet.” We were never bought or sold but given to guests as good luck charms. We were gifts; we were treasured.

We are not in fact terriers; the English named us and made a mistake. There’s no terrier in our bloodline. Our Tibetan name is Tsang Apso, or bearded one from Tsang. Our hair grows thick and long. The Dalai Lama named his own TT “Senge” which means Little Lion.  We are fierce.

The move to Sarasota, although good for my sun-loving human companions, has not been as good for me. Look at me now.



My coat has been shorn, not because I’m a shedder (because we TTs don’t shed), but because it’s so darn hot here. Really hot. All summer long. From June to September I walk around nearly naked. With this hair cut, I look like a goat. Put a clanging bell around my neck, and you’d never know I am a  TT. [This may be why some Tibetans called us “Rapso” meaning goat-haired.] But I don’t bleat. Grrrr. Even shorn, I am fierce.


Instead of sitting atop a mountain, these days I guard the pool from my cabana.

Life is tough.

TTs are tougher.

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