Stephanie & Allyssa – A mom & daughter team breeding Shih Tzu as companians & therapy work.
- AKC Bred with Heart Member
- Good Dog Member
- Avidog Continuing Education
- Puppy Culture Socialization
- Embark Genetic Health Testing
Introducing Chimera Shih Tzu, a Mother & Daughter Team
Chimera Shih Tzu is our family.
Hi, I’m Stephanie! I handle most of the daily communication through Chimera Shih Tzu. We are an autistic family. My husband retired from the military after 20 years of Active Duty Air Force service. Our two children were born into the military life. Both born on military bases. Allyssa was born overseas. We traveled the world together. As autistic children, and autistic myself, the changes with each move were incrementally more difficult. The deployments, fear, anxieties, and lonliness of my husband being sent away on military missions was almost unbearable. For all of us, our dogs were the constant, the stability in our lives. They were always by our side, they traveled with us, they were our companions, our friends, they wiped our tears, listened to our worries, and kept us warm. We cherish the companionship our dogs provide and we take their care and wellbeing very seriously. We choose to breed Shih Tzus because our dogs are our whole lives now. Retiring from the military has given us the freedom to follow our hearts, instead of military orders. We choose the dogs!! We want to bless other families with the gifts of Shih Tzu companionship that we have enjoyed so much.
Raising dogs has been a dream of mine my whole life!
Dogs have always been a major and therapeutic part of our lives. We have experience with many different breeds including English Mastiffs, Weimaraners, Poodles, Bichon, Chinese Crested, German Wirehaired Pointer, and Shih Tzu. While we have enjoyed all our own dogs, all our fosters and rescues, it’s the Shih Tzu that we are really drawn to.
As a family with autism, sensory processing disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, as well as chronic pain and fatique, the Shih Tzus have really stood out to us in a therapeutic way. This breed is so friendly, easy going, good natured, docile, low energy, they really fit well into most any household. It’s important to us, that dogs we bring into the world will be cared for and loved the way that we love and care for our own. We feel good about placing our pups with families, knowing how much joy the pup will bring to the family, and how much love the family will shower on the puppy.
We had a lot to learn.
Before breeding, we had a lot to learn and experience.
I spent years learning all I could about dogs, about behavior, training, health, breed traits, and rescue. I took my children to the local animal control to scoop poop, clean pens, wash laundry, help to feed and water the homeless dogs. I helped several dog rescues and pet pig rescues build their social media presences. I assisted or was in charge of fundraising, evaluating shelter dogs, fostering, transporting, taking dogs to vet appointments, training dogs, attenting public events, screening volunteer applications, screening adoption applications, and more.
While fostering rescued dogs in our home we helped dogs to heal from trauma, to train them basic manners, to manage and heal their neglected health, to shape them into great adoptable pets, and to advertise them to potential adoptive homes with pictures and videos that showed off their wonderful personalities.
We also raised several litters of abandoned kittens. Some were still with their mommas, and some we had to bottle raise. Some were healthy, some were very sick and needed medical care.
I built a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting pet pig rescue. I spent years fundraising to help owners spay, neuter, microchip, and keep their pigs in their homes. I wrote books, websites, and brochures to help educate the public on the needs and care of pet pigs, the challenges and uniqueness of this special pet.
I volunteered with several pet pig rescues, fostering, raising orphaned piglets, networking, marketing their adoptable pigs, building adoption applications, screening applicants, working with the pigs, training them, and learning about what types of home would be a good fit for each individual pig, to find them the best match possible where they would thrive.
I very much enjoyed my time working with rescues, shelters, adopters, and donors. I really learned a lot about dogs, about people, how to help people & dogs succeed long term, and how to support those owners or dogs that are struggling. I learned what dogs need to acclimate into their new homes. I also learned that there is infinite heartache in the world. I spent 20 years picking up the pieces that others left broken. It really takes a toll. On the pets and on the people. It certainly hardened my heart and made me who I am today. It gave my children experience and world views that most adults aren’t even aware of.
We have a very well rounded bout of experience that I feel gives us a better perspective when choosing to breed and when choosing to place puppies in homes. We feel the entirety of that responsbility, including all the things that could go wrong in genetics or environment, and know that we want to be there for any dogs we bring into the world, for the rest of their lives.
My rescue friends have asked how I could choose to breed after seeing the heartache in rescue. My answer is that, while there is heartache in rescue, it is due to human error and human failure. I want to take a different path. I want to prevent that human failure from ever affecting puppies and dogs. To support a dog for it’s entire life, I will be there. I want to start at the begining and prevent these bad things from happening, instead of trying to fix them after the abandonment and neglect has hurt them. I can’t stop all the pain and suffering that others have caused, but I can provide a better life for the Shih Tzus that I bring into this world. We do this by selectively breeding for health and disposition, carefully choosing families for our puppies, and supporting those families as they care for our precious puppies. We are here for the Chimera Shih Tzus and their families, for life.
Goals, Passions, and Priorities
Our goal is to breed quality dogs, with an effort to reduce health problems, to reduce temperament issues, aggression, grooming difficulties, and all the reasons that people give up their dogs. In addition to the dogs, I want to put my own experience to use, by providing education and support to our pup’s families before and after they go home. I aim to continue learning, continue growing, to delve into all the literature and training courses to help me socialize and provide the puppies all they need during the crucial early developmental period that will shape who they are and how they handle the world around them. I want to help the dogs prepare for the their new life and to help the families prepare for their new dog. To make this transition as smooth as possible for all. I will be there for the life of the dog. This is my passion, this is my calling, this is what I’ve waited my whole life to do.
If any of our pups or families cannot keep their Chimera Shih Tzu for any reason, our door is always open. We welcome all our dogs back in our home, at any part of their life, for the rest of their life. Moreso, if there is anything we can do to help a family through a diffiult time, so they can keep their dog, we are happy to do all we can to keep the dog in their home with the family they know.
We are their family and they are ours.
The dogs are helping my children grow into young adults with a purpose. There is so much to do: contracts, photographs, videos, messages, emails, setting up social media accounts, training, reseaching pedigrees and lines, networking with other breeders, learning about and understanding genetics, finding quality places to advertise litters, raising litters, vaccinating, microchipping, deworming, finding veterinarians to work with, learning about the breed specific health issues, learning about the dogs deeply enough to make educated breeding decisions, which dogs to pair up, which dogs to spay/neuter, or place in pet homes, and most of all, to think about life. To think about the life we are creating, the responsibility we have for those lives, how we can make lives better for others, and how we can protect the lives that we brought into the world.
We do what we do because we were born to do it! We’ve only been waiting for the right time to make it happen.
- To breed and poduce healthy, sound, balanced, well tempered, long lived Shih Tzu
- To breed dogs with the best companionship qualities for pet homes
- To breed dogs that may be suitable for therapy work or Service Dog prospects
- To breed dogs that are a groomer’s favorite client, not the difficult client!
- To genetic test all our breeding dogs to make better educated breeding decisions
- To produce a variety of interesting colors including blues, lavendars, dobie marked black and tan, brindles, chocolates, and more!
- To breed dogs that are conformationally sound to reduce injuries, disabilities, and painful ailments in their youth and as they age
Chimera Shih Tzu Family Goals
- To further our own education and utilize reputable sources to better prepare puppies for the world, resulting in fewer behavioral challenges. Our current education includes Puppy Culture, Avidog, Good Dog, AKC, a network of Shih Tzu breeders, and our own experience with rescuing and fostering animals in need after they were failed by humans.
- To educate on responsible dog ownership including illness prevention, injury prevention, training as enrichment, regular grooming, regular veterinary care, and leaning on us for support or assistance if you ever need help.
- To welcome home any Chimera Shih Tzu that find themselves in need. Our dogs should never have to face being abandoned or given up, and they will always be our own responsibility, not the responsibility of a rescue or shelter facility. Puppies we have placed can come right home, right here, where it all started, and we can figure it out from there. They can come back home at any age, for any reason.
- To provide education and support to our puppy families that they may won’t need to place their dogs back with us, or with anyone else. A dog that reaches the end of old age with the family we chose for them as puppies is my ultimate goal. For the dog’s life and the person’s life to be enriched for all those years of mutual companionship.
American Mini Pig Association, LLC, President & Co-Founder
(2015 – Present)
Learn more about the AMPA – American Mini Pig Association on Facebook or http://www.AmericanMiniPigAssociation.com
My partner Kimberly & I wrote a huge educational website, started two 501c3 nonprofits, we have an online store, have published books on Amazon.com, run a Therapy Pet Training & Certification Program, assist in requesting cities to update their zoning ordinances to allow pet pigs, offer membership for owners, breeders, and veterinarians, have a strict screening process for breeders to meet the highest of standards in our Breeder’s Code of Ethics, and have a pet pig registry to record lineage and statistics on pet pigs.
American Mini Pig Rescue, 501c3 Nonprofit Organization, President & Co-Founder
(2015 – Present)
An ongoing effort to support pet pig rescues. Part of that mission is to educate on responsible pig ownership, to educate, assist, and support owners in keeping their pet pigs, avoiding the need for rescue to take on more animals. We have raised over $60,000 to assist in spaying, neutering, and microchipping pet pigs.
American Mini Pig Education, 501c3 Nonprofit Organization, Vice President & Co-Founder
(2015 – Present)
An ongoing effort to educate the public on the realities of pet pigs. Pigs are not a pet for everyone. Sadly they are one of the most misunderstood pets, too often becoming a burden to their families, ending in neglect or abandonment. We have traveled all over the United States and also to Mexico in efforts to educate and advocate for pet pigs. We work with breeders, rescues, veterinarians, and pet pig owners for the common goal – the welfare of pet pigs.
Betsy’s Barn Pig Rescue, Previous Board Member & Foster Home
(2019 – 2020)
I volunteered my time to catch and load rescue pigs, fostered dozens of rescue pigs, assisted with social media, photos, videos, outreach, education, fostered a pregnant mom, took pigs to the veterinarian for spays and neuters, handled microchipping, vaccines, deworming, training, transport, adoption application screening, placing pigs in adoptive homes, networking adoptable pigs, fundraising, and more. It was a wonderful time in my life to be able to help this rescue at a time they needed it.
Southern States Mastiff Rescue, Foster Home & Volunteer Coordinator
(2009 – 2013)
I was a foster home to dozens of mastiffs. We took dogs in for veterinary care, surgeries, spays and neuters. We did vaccines, microchipping, vaccines, heartwork treatment, basic medical care, arthritis care, medicated baths. We spent time training basic manners and working through any behavioral problems with dogs. We organized volunteer events. We attended public events to educate the public and showcase adoptable dogs. I created and managed the Virginia chapter’s Facebook page, posting adoptable dogs. We transported dogs, evaluated dogs for suitability in the rescue, screened adoption applications, did home visits to potential adopters, and more. We also met some dogs that could not be saved, due to temperament. We learned a lot about dogs in these years. It was a wonderful four years that we lived in Virginia while stationed at Langley AFB, serving this wonderful rescue. We met many amazing dogs and people. We ended up adopting our very last foster before moving to Oklahoma. She was an emaciated, elderly girl that had been roaming the streets for months. She was due to be put to sleep with severe health issues. We met her at the shelter to evaluate her, and she never left my side again until she passed away from breast cancer several years later.
We have been a traveling military family for the past 20 years, only recently moving to Florida, but have always has pets, rescues, and fosters. You’re welcome to verify with veterinarians we have used in the past. Once we feel we have a chance to establish trust and earn it, we will ask our new Florida veterinarians for a letter of breeder recommendation to share here.
Armistead Avenue Veterinary Hospital (757) 723-8571
Warwick Animal Hospital (757) 595-3337
Western Prairie Veterinary Hospital 580-482-1738
All Pets Medical Center (580) 482-7387
Lawton Veterinary Hospital (580) 699-7387
Westgate Animal Clinic (402) 769-0377
Best Care Pet Hospital (402) 734-1494
Myakka River Animal Clinic (941) 488-1455 (Current Client)
Englewood Animal Hospital (941) 474-1295(Expected to use in near future)
Grace Vet Clinic (Expected to use in near future)
Shih Tzu Breeder Colleages
Carla Glutting – KY
My dog breeding mentor is Carla Glutting in KY. Carla has owned Shih Tzus all her life. She has a lifetime of breeding experience with various animals while growing up on a farm and then running her own family farm. She currently breeds Shih Tzus and is a wealth of knowledge. I am blessed to own three of her beautiful babies. I have known Carla since 2014. I met her through pet pigs. When she was breeding mini pigs, I co-founded the American Mini Pig Association which included breeder membership and pet pig registry. She become one of the approved breeder members under our registry so I worked closely with Carla for several years on a business level, while our friendship had started a year or two prior to the launch of the business. She knows me personally, professionally, and has guided me in raising Shih Tzus, and entrusted me with three of her precious angels. I can provide Carla’s contact info upon request.
Lolita Ramsey – MO
My dear friend Lolita is Morningstar’s Shih Tzu. Lolita I also met through pigs, as she was a fellow pet pig mom who became a pig rescue. She was an integral part of the 501c3 nonprofit that I co-founded, American Mini Pig Rescue, in support of rescues across the nation. Lolita’s family has become like-family to my own family but she also has known me almost 10 years on a personal and professional level. She has stayed in my home, met my dogs, and seen the care they receive. Message Morningstar’s Shih Tzu on Facebook to ask about us.