I had a Lhasa Apso that I got while in college, so I had her pretty much my entire adult life. I had no husband or children, so she was the main focus of my life. She passed away at 13 from long term illnesses. I knew that I HAD to adopt another dog and wanted a rescue dog. I searched on Petfinder for Lhasas and Shih Tzu types / mixes. It seemed like a lot were gone by the time I contacted them (sometimes even the same day they were posted on the site). I finally found one that really jumped out to me. After knowing how quickly the dogs can be taken by somebody else, I was able to send the people a deposit through paypal (not many groups do this) for them to hold her for me. I figured that if something didn't work out, it would be a good donation to their group. I drove over 5 hours away. I almost backed out after getting there. She was very timid and clingy to the foster mother. Haley was left at an the gates of a shelter in a hail storm, so they named her Haley. If my mom hadn't traveled with me and sort of "forced" me to take her, I may have just said I didn't want to take her away from the foster mother -- even though they had no intentions of keeping her permanently. I think I was just so nervous to actually get to know a new dog and be responsible for another being. I was so comfortable with Chewey (my previous dog), that I think it was a really scary feeling to know I would have to start over. I had no type of connection with Haley when I first got her. She was very frightened and nervous, also. She rode in the backseat with my mom while I drove, so I also didn't bond then. However, we stopped at several rest stops, and Haley and I bonded more and more with each stop. I could see her relaxing, so that made me relax. It was definitely awkward at home for a little while because of being so used to Chewey's ways and habits. It didn't take very long to fall in love with Haley, though. Chewey was easy going, laid back, well-behaved, didn't care about much going on around her, and was nice to pretty much everyone. Haley is definitely not the same. Haley is mean/protective around bones and certain toys, barks at people, and is protective of me if somebody tries to touch me or hug me. You definitely have to get used to different traits, but you will love your new dog.
I am still addicted to Petfinder. I have thought for the past year or so about getting another dog as a playmate for Haley and look on Petfinder at least several times a week. I constantly sent pictures to my parents -- their dog passed away about 5 years ago and they hadn't been ready to get another one. A contact I have through a friend who works at a shelter near my parents contacted me about a dog they had. She thought I might be interested. For some reason my mom was suddenly ready and jumped on it, even though the contact was for me. They have had their dog for a little over a week and couldn't be happier -- even my dad who kept saying he didn't want another dog and wouldn't be responsible. He has been showing it off to everybody and showing more affection for it than he has for any of the dogs our family has had in the past. Their new dog is a Yorkie mix and very sweet. So far the only really bad trait he has is that he really "likes" my dog and will not leave her alone when we visit.
You don't know what background a dog has had when you adopt, but there are going to be many that are not affected by past bad situations. Some are going to have personality issues while others do not. This can also be said for dogs purchased from breeders. I know that Lhasas can typically be not the nicest of dogs. Maybe my Chewey was a rare one (even though purchased through a breeder), because she was very nice. Haley is a Lhasa mix and tends to show some of the typical characteristic traits. I think it is just like people -- you don't really know what they are going to be like until you are around them for a while. If you find a dog on Petfinder that interests you and that you like but don't have immediate chemistry, I say give it a shot and you will find that you quickly love the dog.