A Pekingnese-Shih Tzu With Five Lives (So Far)!


On our travels across the country, we stopped in Nashville, TN where I met a 12-year-old Pekingnese-Shih Tzu named Toby.

Pekingnese-Shih Tzu
Toby Hicks is a 12-year-old Pekingnese-Shih Tzu who lives in Nashville, TN.

Good evening Toby. It’s a pleasure to meet you!

It’s getting close to my bedtime so if we could dispel with the pleasantries and get down to business, I’d appreciate it.

Alright then! How about if you tell me a little bit about how you met your family?

Dad and I met when I was just six weeks old. He and his two boys picked me out as a surprise present for their mom (Rich’s wife), Cavil. They knew she missed having a dog and saw me and I guess inspiration struck!

dog swim
Toby enjoys swimming in lakes with his mom Cavil.

How sweet!

Yes, I’m very thankful I adopted them because shortly after they brought me home, I used up one of my lives…

What do you mean?

I’ve heard cats have nine lives. I figured dogs, since we’re a better species, must have at least ten. That’s what I’m counting on.

I used my first one when I was just six months old or so. My parents brought me home and after a short while noticed I didn’t seem to be feeling well. They took me to a vet and that’s where I was diagnosed with a neurological issue that, to this day, affects my back.

cute dog
At six weeks old, Toby was just a bit bigger than his dad’s hand and could fit inside a tiny shipping box.

Oh my!

Yes. It’s kind of hard to get around sometimes. I kind of hop around in case you hadn’t noticed… My parents told the breeder and she asked them if they wanted another dog. They said yes. My heart sank. But then they said they wanted another dog AND wanted to keep me! I was so happy! Not only would I stay with my parents and not only would they take great care of me even with my back problems but now I would have a younger sibling!

Pekingnese-Shih Tzus
Toby loves his brother Rascal; the two are just six months apart in age and are inseparable.

Is that how Rascal came into the picture?

Exactly! He’s about six months younger than I am. We’re the same breed but you’d never know it by looking at us. I love him. I also love to torment him. I direct the action and he follows my instructions. Smart dog.

But I do understand Rascal got a little rambunctious once…

Oh yes. That was my second life. I was chasing him up the stairs and he pounced on me and I fell down the stairs and slammed into a wall. I stopped breathing. Mom gave me CPR and rushed me to the hospital. I was three years old at the time. They gave me oxygen and steroids and weren’t sure I was going to make it. After two weeks, I was strong enough to be released from the hospital. But those were scary times. Rascal hasn’t forgotten it. He still feels bad about it. Of course, whenever we get new toys, I continue to remind him about it so he lets me have first dibs on all the new things.

That’s a little sneaky….

But completely understandable, right?


My third brush with death was almost an exact replay except it didn’t involve Rascal. We were at a friend’s house just a few years later and their son picked me up and dropped me. Of course, he was at the top of the stairs. I went rolling down the stairs and lost consciousness again. The vet filled me with oxygen and steroids again. And, again, I pulled through. At this point, I’m thinking I must have one heck of a guardian angel!

I’d say so! And the fourth life?

We were visiting another friend while my parents and the boys went on vacation. They had a really nice, big yard. I loved it! And then I found the gate, which was open. So I walked through it. I wanted to explore. And explore I did! I explored so well that no one could find me. For days, the entire town police force, the neighbors, virtually everyone was looking for me!

All they had to do was go a few doors down, look for a nice, warm dog bed that was off to the side in a garage, and they would have found me!

Wow. Your dad must have been so happy they found you!

He was. He’s works as a Senior IT Manager here in Nashville. He’s really good at his job but I think he’s even better at playing the guitar and singing. Did you know we used to travel the country, me and my entire family, in a bus? One of my dad’s sons used to be country singer and dad played rhythm and sang harmony, mom sang and handled the business, and my dad’s other son played lead guitar. We were like a real-life Partridge Family! We performed at venues all over, from Albuquerque Balloon Fests to the Daytona Speedway and we were even an opening act for the Charlie Daniels Band!

cute dog
Toby with his dad Rich in Nashville, TN.

No way!

Way. I loved my life on the road. I miss it. I really loved looking out the windows of the bus. Now I look out the windows of a car. It’s just not the same as a bus where you can see everything because you’re so high off the ground.

I understand completely. Tell me, Toby, what’s your favorite thing to do in the whole world?

Hmmmm. I have a couple of favorite things. First, I really like to sunbathe – inside and outside. I just love the sun. Second, I really like a good heating pad on my back. That feels magnificent. Third, I go nuts rubbing my face on concrete. I know it sounds weird but it just feels so good! And finally, I love it when my dad plays with me. Even though I’m 12 and he’s 53, we still play! He gets me running around and then he picks me up and flips me over. I totally lose it when he does that. I just laugh and laugh and my tail wags like crazy. I can’t help but smile all over!

cute dog in football helmet
When he was six months old, Toby loved to sit inside a high school football helmet.

That’s awesome Toby! I can just picture you and your dad playing like that! One last question: what celebrity do you think most looks like you?

That’s a tough one because I don’t think anyone looks like me. I’m an original. But, I suppose if I had to pick someone, it would be Owen Wilson… but he needs bigger bags under his eyes.

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