Shichon owners are in love with their “teddy bear” babies, as I can attest. Our little dogs have great temperaments, are known for being cuddly loves, are fairly quiet, and do not shed. Always playful, they make the perfect family pet, and they’re pretty smart (though some can be stubborn). Whenever people see Shichons on the street or at a dog store, the instant reaction is “Awww, isn’t he cute?” Owners of Zuchons, as Shichons are often called, band together to discuss their pups, talking about the best food to feed them, comparing cute antics and some even share photos of their dogs dressed in various costumes.
I belong to a couple of Facebook groups of Shichon owners, and we carry on about our dogs, commiserating when one of them has an operation or is about to be spayed or even when one has his/her first haircut. (I know it’s silly, but I’ve also received some great advice and shared some info about what works for Izzy and the types of food he eats. It’s definitely great to have that community.
When one of my FB buddies wrote the other day about her female Shichon’s battle with a giant eagle, we were all aghast. Even more shocking was the photo of the poor pup with five huge holes in her side – where the eagle’s talons had been! Thankfully, the pup’s human mom was close by and able to chase away the eagle, who had the pup in its talons and struggled to fly away with it. After a quick emergency trip to the vet’s, the dog is on antibiotics and recovering from both the physical damage as well as the emotional.
Shichons are little dogs, usually less than 15 pounds. Izzy is barely 17 pounds and most Shichons are smaller than he is. Because they’re fast, furry and often a light beige or white, they can be mistaken for other small animals such as rabbits and mice by flying predators like hawks and eagles. High-flying birds scan the ground constantly for what will constitute lunch or dinner, and they’re not always right about which small objects would make a good meal. If you scan the internet, you can find plenty of exciting videos of eagles snatching babies off the ground or attempting to fly away with a deer or wolf in their talons. Normally, eagles weigh less than 10 pounds and usually can only carry a 3 or 4 pound animal, but every once in a while they break the rules.
Raptors aren’t the only ones lying in wait for small animals. Coyotes, bobcats, and even raccoons will drag away a small dog or cat. Dog owners who live in the country or the mountains have to be exceptionally careful to keep an eye on their pets because a hawk, owl, eagle, coyote, bobcat or other predator can steal a small animal in the blink of an eye. It’s important to be vigilant in order to keep our animals safe.
I’ve had some close calls with Izzy and larger dogs (as I wrote about earlier), but as much as I watch the birds when we go for our walks, I’ve never thought about worrying that one of them would swoop down and carry my pup away. But now I worry.