Over 30 years ago, Susan spotted a terrified dog running down a suburban Maryland street during a thunderstorm. Despite papering the neighborhood with DOG FOUND signs and calling the local vets and shelter, no one came forward to claim the little dog. Susan soon fell in love with her, but no one, not even the vet, knew that the dog was a Tibbie. It was only when the owners turned up, months later, that Susan learned that her name was Kensing Daffodil, a Tibetan Spaniel. Given the rarity of Tibbies in the U.S in those days, it was against all the odds that the drenched little dog turned out to be a Tibbie. Susan never saw Daffodil again—a heartbreak she feels to this day.
A short time later, while rehabbing a 19th century farmhouse deep in the West Virginia hills, Susan found an old picture frame, caked in dust, leaning against a wall in the attic. When she turned the frame over, a company of WWI-era& soldiers were looking up at her. A light-colored object in the center foreground caught her eye. Unable to make out what it was, she wiped away the dust with her shirt-sleeve. Here’s what she saw:
Susan remembers the eerie feeling that swept over her, and tears filled her eyes. Was that really a Tibbie in the photo? When Susan researched the U.S. Army unit in the photo, she learned that the photo was taken in 1917 in Alabama and that the unit never saw service overseas. An Airedale, a breed used on the battlefields of the day, appears elsewhere in the photo, but it’s clear that the little dog at the center, held up by the smiling cook, is the unit’s mascot. Maybe he’s an old-style Pekingese, but even that seems implausible. We’ll never know the real story, but Susan has always believed that finding that photo—an unlikely subject in an unlikely place—so soon after losing Daffodil was a sign. Destiny was sending her a message that she and the Tibetan Spaniel were meant to be together.
Not long after finding the photo, Santera Kissa Mi came into Susan’s life. Kissie gave Susan four lovely pups and the generations that followed. See Meet My Tibbies.
Writing about Tibbies
Susan brings decades of writing and editing experience to her books and articles about Tibetan Spaniels.
She considers The Tibetan Spaniel – A Gift from the Roof of the World, which took four years to research and write, to be the best contribution she could make to her beloved breed. From the outset of the project, her goal was to write a different kind of “breed book”: to entertain as well as inform, to draw on the experiences of pet owners as well as breed experts, and to present a world view of Tibbies in all countries.
She draws inspiration for The Abby Swann Mysteries from life with her own Tibbies and from a love of history, art, antiques and of her Delmarva home country. Each book blends a little mystery, a little history and a little fantasy to bring the joy of a life with Tibbies leaping off the pages.
It’s a Tibbie Life
Susan is a long-time member of the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America, where she serves as the national Rescue Coordinator for TSCA Rescue. She is also a founding member of the Potomac Valley Tibetan Spaniel Club and proud to be the patron of the Tibetan Spaniel Association of Victoria (Australia). She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America.
Susan keeps in touch with Friends in Tibbies worldwide through Facebook. She has helped organize several Tournament of Tibbies events and enjoyed hosting the Tibbies by the Sea Beach Walks on the beautiful Delaware coast. Susan is grateful to her many Friends in Tibbies for encouraging her to keep writing about Tibbies.
Susan lives in Delaware with her two Tibbies—Twyla and Honey. She is a retired systems support manager for the State of Delaware Department of State. For fun, she loves reading and movies, follows pro ice hockey and tennis, studies history and enjoys nature in all its forms.