I Got You, Babe: Cher's Happy Tail

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 1:45pm
Shih tzu laying on park bench

Susan H. is a long-time volunteer at the ASPCA. A regular fixture at our Adoption Center, she has seen countless animals come through our doors, and over the years she’s even adopted a few. But none of them have a story quite like Cher, an 8-year-old Shih Tzu who became the newest member of Susan’s family in March. Cher’s beginning is so horrific, it’s almost hard to believe. But the outcome of her story, her very “Happy Tail,” is too inspiring not to share. Here’s what happened.

In January, NYPD and ASPCA responders were called to a grocery store parking lot in the Bronx, New York. Early reports described an abused, neglected dog that had been shoved into a garbage bag and abandoned. Once at the scene, however, responders were shocked to discover not one but two dogs in the garbage bag—their fur was so severely matted that they were stuck together. Both Shih Tzus, the male, age 2, and the female, age 8, were rushed to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for immediate treatment.

At the hospital, doctors began the delicate task of separating the two dogs, who came to be known as Sonny and Cher. Sonny was suffering from some skin problems, and Cher, the older of the two, was diagnosed with rotting teeth, a mammary tumor, an irregular heartbeat, and perpetual dry eyes. After treatment, she began recovery in the Anti-Cruelty Group (ACG) unit of the hospital, which is where Susan first encountered the tiny 10-lb. pup.

White and black shih tzu outside

“I immediately fell in love with Cher,” Susan recalls, but she was told that the dog needed a few more weeks to recover. In a case of such cruelty, it might be tempting to assume that Cher was dispirited, but, amazingly, she could not have been sweeter. The staff even noted that she “loves every person she meets.” Susan put her name down and waited patiently, and on March 22, Cher was cleared for adoption. With a wagging tail and an open heart, the sweet pup went home with Susan that same day. Sonny was adopted into another loving home soon after, on April 12.

When asked how Cher is adjusting to her new life, Susan sounded so in love. “Cher is very affectionate and cuddly and very adorable,” she says, “which I find surprising given her situation.” Susan has another dog, Wintuck, adopted from the ASPCA in 2012, and the two get along really well.

To mark Cher’s new beginning, Susan also gave her a fresh new name: Daisy. Daisy will need daily medication for the rest of her life, and must visit a cardiologist regularly. But the small Shih Tzu doesn’t let her past get her down, and she now spends her days happy, playing, and, most importantly, loved.

Do you have a Happy Tail you’d like to share? Email [email protected] and we might feature it on the blog!

Two shih tzus on a walk

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Julia Warhol

Would have been even better had the two stayed together... I mean, adopted together. But fantastic that they are doing well in their respective homes.


Daisy is a little angel, so adorable, sweet, brave, forgiving. Wintuck is an angel, too, I am so glad these 2 precious dogs have each other and Susan to care for them, love them, cherish them. Susan, you are an inspiration.


What a horrific beginning. Poor baby. Thank you ASPCA and You Susan. I just don't understand the absolute cruelty of humans. Ihave a shitzu and four Lhasas a chow and have just adopted a rescued mini Schnauzer from a puppy mill. The love of a rescue dog knows no bounds. daisy is a lucky little girl. God Bless Adopters......Adopt Don't Shop........


"Adopt Don't Shop" would be a great tee shirt for the ASPCA to sell!

elisa cuyumjian

can'I have a dog?I live in Brasil sorry the ingles,I dont' spike very much and writh is more dificultie.



We have shit Zu's and have had for the last ten years, all of which were adopted.
This is such a wonderful story and I just wish that I could have adopted her; she would have fit in perfect with the two we have now.


Thanks Susan for adopting Daisy. ShihTzu's are the very best little dogs. I have two and I love them so much, you will never regret doing this as I know you already know. Thanks again


I am so glad to hear about the happy ending for Sher and Sonny. People who are cruel to our animals, God's Creatures really need a reality check. If you can be cruel to animals just think what someone can do to a human.
Suan thank you for all your love for Cher and whoever has sonny thank you, it is so important to love creatures from "God".
I had a Black Lab who has gone to Doggy Heaven and I miss terribly. I can tell you this my lab safed my life and for that I am so ever grateful.


I agree, Donna!
My parents & I lost our three Cocker Spaniels several years ago (not at once, but obviously, it was & still is hard). Last year in March, we had to put our 19-year old Tarra, a Springer Spaniel mix, to sleep. Out of all of the dogs we had, she lived the longest & we would have had her 15 years last September. However, after Tarra's loss, we adopted another Cocker. His name is Avalanche, & he is black with a white streak down his chest. Of course, he is very adorable, too!


What a horrible cruel thing this cute dogs had to go through from some inhuman person. I am so happy their later part of life is loved. God bless those who have a heart.