That First Apso …

As “dog folk,” every owner has a story about their first Lhasa Apso … often accompanied by a far-away stare and a catch in the voice as they recount the memories that tumble into the present.  At pet expos and other dog events, many times we hear the phrase, “My grandparents had a Lhasa and … “.  These sturdy little mountain dogs certainly carve out a chasm in our hearts and imprint on our deepest psyche.

Today’s submission is about that first Apso and how he literally rolled into a family’s life.  In a big way.  Namaste, Parkir.


ParkirParkir Louie Roeder was my first Lhasa Apso and a rescue.  The day I rescued him — September 2, 2004 — our friends all said that he had set his watch just waiting for me.  I was a Tucson police officer and in my police car on my way to work.  I saw a little dog in a busy morning-rush intersection.  No one was stopping to help this little guy so I put on my overhead lights and got out of my car to grab him before he could get hit by a car. 

As I approached this little dog, he ran into the fast lane and immediately got run over by a cement truck doing the speed limit, 40 mph.  To my horror, I watched him roll and tumble under the truck until it left this stray pup in its wake, now on his back, motionless in the middle of the intersection.  I ran out into the intersection waving my arms to stop all traffic.  I swept up the pup in my arms and rushed him to a nearby vet.  He seemed fine, I only saw one drop of blood.  But, I was convinced he was dying because he must have suffered internal injuries.  How could he not?  As I walked into the veterinarian’ s office, I quickly told them what had happened.  I expected everyone to run over to take him back to triage him.  Instead they told me to put him on the floor.  I did and off this puppy ran!!  He tore through the office romping and playing!  I remember saying out loud, “He doesn’t look too damn dead!”  We all laughed.  I told the vet to fix him and I would pay for all medical bills.  And, also told the vet to “Please find a home for him … I don’t want him.”  The techs said they knew I would call back to see how he was doing so what name should they put on the board for this unwanted dog?  Well, he was run over at the intersection of Park and Irvington.  I told them to call him Parkir.  When I walked outside, I realized I had just named a dog!  I kept him.  

IMG_0992I didn’t plan to do agility with Parkir.  After all, he IS a Lhasa Apso!  But, one day when I was at an agility trial out of town, I got a call from Susie asking if I had been training Parkir in agility.  No, why?  Susie said Parkir was in the back yard doing the A-Frame by himself.  Twenty minutes later, I received another call.  Are you sure you’re not training Parkir in agility?  No, I’m not.  Well, he is outside doing the dog walk now.  When I got home, I literally told Parkir … “You want to do agility, then okay, let’s do agility.”  I had no idea what kind of ride I was about to board!!  Parkir went on to become the number one AKC Lhasa Apso in agility for several years.  This led us to participating in the AKC Invitational from 2007 to 2014.  In 2013, Parkir participated in finals in his 8-inch class at Invitational.

Parkir ended his AKC career with 7 MACHS.  Not bad for a street dog!  We also competed in USDAA agility.  Parkir achieved his PDCH in this venue.  And, in 2009, Parkir won CynoSport Grand Prix World games!  Yep, a Lhasa Apso won World Games!

Handsome ModelAside from Parkir’s accomplishment in agility, he had other talents.  He modeled for PetSmart on many occasions and he herded sheep with the best of them.  But, the most wonderful thing Parkir brought when he entered my life was him showing me what a fabulous breed the Lhasa Apso is!  Brilliant, mischievous, humorous, athletic and loving, just to mention a few attributes.  I have fallen hard for Lhasas.  I have two young ones now that I am loving and training.  

As quickly as Parkir came into my life, he left me just as swiftly.  I had retired him from agility so he could have wonderful senior years.  It wasn’t to be.  Parkir passed peacefully with his family on April 9, 2017.  I will miss him forever.  

Susan Roeder, Tucson AZ