Shih Tzu Day 93: A Dog in Our Bed

A Dog in Our Bed

two shih tzus on a couchNigel aka James Brown aka Elvis is doing well today. Delores told us she thought he would want to sleep with us, so we carried him up the stairs to see what he would do. When I sat him down on the bed, he immediately lay down, right at home. I felt kind of guilty, since the girls don’t sleep with us, but it is the choice they make, so I am sure they didn’t lose sleep over it.

I didn’t want to upset the routine too much, so when I got up to get ready to go downstairs, John stayed behind with Nigel. After the girls and I said our hellos, John gathered up Nigel and Spot Collins, sleeping in a kennel in the spare room, and brought them down.

Share and Share Alike

two shih tzusDelores said that Nigel had been on a special diet. She wasn’t sure if he had allergies, but they had been giving him Taste of the Wild, which is grain-free dog food. She sent a bag of kibble and two cans of wet food home with me. Since I have been wanting to experiment with the girls’ diet anyway, I added some of his kibble to theirs and gave them a tablespoon of his wet food in place of their cottage cheese. Flower and Dottie liked it, but Candy wouldn’t try it. I fixed her a new bowl with cottage cheese.

a tabby cat and shih tzu drinking out of same bowlAfter Spot Collins ate his food, he decided to help Nigel eat his. The invalids have to support each other. After that, Nigel and SC hung around together. The Dumb Friends League called and said that Panda was much better and was being released today. I told Mom I didn’t see any reason why Spot should stay here another day. I don’t think she will have a difficult time giving him his medicine for the next few days. Plus, he is eating and drinking and I don’t think he needs his daily sauna anymore.

shih tzu and pink bird toyI needed to get some work done before driving across town to pick up Panda. While I worked, with Dottie next to me, on her side of the couch, Spot Collins climbed into my lap. Soon, Nigel scratched at the couch and I let him up and sat him on the other side of me. Pretty soon, he put his head on my lap next to SC. Later, however, he crawled over my lap to lay next to Dottie. He looked like her son, lying next to her. I wasn’t sure what she would do, but she just looked at him and then looked away.

shih tzu and kittyNigel got acquainted with the girls’ pink bird they rarely play with. I am going to move some of their other toys into the living room so he can have something else to entertain him. I thought it was really cute when I looked up and saw SC and Nigel drinking water out of the water bowl at the same time. In the early afternoon, however, Flower seemed to be getting a little testy with SC. She was circling him on the blanket I had down on the floor, in what didn’t seem like a friendly way, so I decided to put the kitten back in his kennel until I took him home. He didn’t like that very much, and meowed for the rest of his stay.

Slow Down

In the afternoon, Flower decided to sprint across the yard. Nigel started running behind her, but I stepped in to slow him down. I don’t want him to hurt his incision. I was glad that Candy and Flower started playing after that. Nigel doesn’t seem to have affected Flower, but I thought Candy might have been acting a little less happy than usual. I don’t know what goes through their minds, but I didn’t want her to feel less loved, so I make sure to show her and the other girls as much attention as our recovering foster dog gets.

I wrote Delores to tell her that Nigel was doing well. I also told her that John was already very fond of him. I know he loves the girls, but I also know that he is really enjoying the company of a well-adjusted, non-fearful dog.

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Shih Tzu Day 92: And Then There Was Nigel

Spot Collins

a tabby next to a shih tzu on a dog bedThe girls still don’t quite know what to think of Spot Collins. He makes regular trips to Shih Tzu Central, to drink from the girls’ water bowl and to try out the dog beds. He seems to prefer lying next to Flower, although she doesn’t seem as happy with the arrangement.

grooming practice

a shih tzu sitting on her sisterDelores at BFF Rescue called me today and asked if I would have time to help her groom some new dogs she got in that will soon be going to foster homes. Barbara, her daughter-in-law, usually helps her, but she was out of town and I had told Delores about my grooming class. If John had been available, I would have asked him to come with me, since he does the most grooming, but he was working, so I agreed to help out.

maltese-poodle mix on couch

When I got there, Delores was conducting a necessary procedure: using flea and tick shampoo on one of the dogs that looked like he might have had a problem recently. My Yorkshire terrier never had that problem, so I wasn’t sure how to tell if it looked like fleas or ticks were present. Delores pointed out to me small dark spots on one of the dogs. She said if they weren’t moving, the problem had been fully taken care of by the treatment they received before she took them into her care. That seemed to be the case, but to be safe, I helped her wash another dog with the shampoo as well.

Once we dried them off, I went to work clipping a maltese-poodle mix and then a type of terrier. They both handled it better than our dogs. The poodle lay down on its side and went to sleep while I was clipping him. I plan on trying that on the girls, since I just read that was a good way to groom in some instances, since you need to teach fearful dogs how to be calm and relaxed on the grooming table.

introduction to Nigel

black and white shih tzu on couchWhile I was there, I met Nigel, the shih tzu Delores asked us to foster. He is about a year and a half and only 10 pounds, which is a pound and a half lighter than Candy. He seems smaller though. Nigel is what is referred to as an owner release. He was dropped off at a shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, where they discovered he had a serious cause of pneumonia. I imagine the family wasn’t able to afford the veterinary care he needed.

Shih tzu face offThat shelter treated him before sending him on to BFF Rescue. As is the usual case, BFF took him to Clear Creek Animal Hospital, where Doctor Lindsey examined him prior to his needed sterilization procedure. During the exam, she discovered that he had a large hernia that would need surgery as well. She performed both surgeries yesterday, and prescribed antibiotics and pain medicine for ten days. Delores and I had arranged that I would get him Friday, but since I was already there, I said I would just take him home with me.

I would describe Nigel as a scrawny little dog, probably because he has been sick for a while. His face is so black that it is hard to see his eyes. It wasn’t the color as much as the wildness of his fur around his face that made me think of James Brown. The white fur around his neck is quite a contrast to his black face. His paws look huge compared to his tiny legs.


tabby cat and shih tzu on couchI wasn’t sure what the girls would think about Nigel. When we walked in the door, they didn’t get excited, but they also didn’t seem disturbed by his presence. They just watched him. He toured the house, including Shih Tzu Central. A little later, he visited their corner again, this time to begin stealing bones and mainly unused toys from them. We will have to get him his own dog bones and toys, as well as a dog bed. He didn’t come with one, like Flower, Candy and Dottie did.

welcome committee


shih tzu waiting for treatNigel gravitated towards Spot Collins, maybe because they are the “outsiders.” When they heard John’s truck in the driveway, the girls started barking as usual. Candy ran to the door, wagging her butt. Spot Collins followed, with Nigel right behind him, wagging his tail.

John was happy about his welcome committee. He has been so patient with the girls, even though they still shy away from him — especially Flower and Dottie — three months after getting here. It was nice for a dog to instantly respond well to him, since he is such a dog person and so good to all animals.

When the dogs followed us outside for their nightly treat from the Treat Man, Nigel forgot his manners and maneuvered his way quickly to the beginning of the line for possibly his first taste of Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky.

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Shih Tzu Day 91: Sheltie Shack

Digging into the Past

When I first saw a picture of Candy online in June and called Delores at BFF Rescue to ask for details about her, she explained that her and her half-sisters Flower and Dottie, all in a foster home through her rescue, had been puppy mill mothers.

She told me that a Kansas organization named the Sheltie Shack had been the rescue that was initially involved. I have recently been thinking about their origin, and I decided to look up the shelter online. I found a number for the founder, Linda, and called her. I told her who I was and that I had a blog telling the story of three shih tzus I had adopted. I said I had heard her organization had rescued them and asked her if she would tell me what she recalled about that day.

Linda was very pleasant to talk to. She remembered the dogs instantly. She said she had heard that a local breeder was not going to breed shelties anymore. When she inquired about them, the breeder told her she could take them off their hands. The breeder also relayed in the conversation that they would no longer be breeding shih tzus, and that if she wanted to, she could take the ones they had. Concerned about what could happen to them if she didn’t take them, the rescuer said she would make arrangements with other rescues to place them in homes.

When she picked them up, six shih tzus were in an outside chicken coop-type dog kennel. They were in need of grooming and affection, having lived a life isolated from humans, but otherwise, the rescuer had seen fair worse cases among the hundreds of dogs she had rescued. I was relieved when she said that. I thought maybe their life hadn’t been as bad as I had imagined.

She told me a few of the shih tzus acted very frightened. The others simply acted confused, most likely because they were being moved from the only home they had ever known.

I thanked Linda for sharing the story with me and asked her if she might have some pictures of the girls from the day they were rescued. She said she would look into it and send me what she could find. I will share those pictures if she finds any.

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Shih Tzu Day 91: Cats and Spats

Kitty Doing Better

tabby cat on couchSpot Collins is still with us. He seems to be doing well. Panda isn’t doing as well, though. When I checked in at the Dumb Friends League, I was told that he still isn’t eating. Mom is worried, but hopefully we’ll have good news soon.

Tear Stains

shih tzu up closeshih tzu up closeWe groomed Candy and Flower a little. I have been researching the tear stains on Flower’s face, after discussing it with Liz Hover, the mom of Sadie Shih Tzu. She said that Sadie had tear stains, but that they eventually went away when she started feeding Sadie an organic homemade dog food recipe she makes out of all organic products, including elk or bison (chicken, turkey or beef also work), veggies, eggs, apples and blueberries. I am going to try it when I gather those ingredients. In the meantime, the owner of Paws n’ Play said to make sure that the kibble I feed them is high quality grains. She said to try that step before trying grain-free kibble. She gave me some Fromm samples to try.

I also bought some moist towelettes to use on the stains to see if that would work. I read that people also use corn starch, so I bought some to try the next time I bathe Flower.

My Couch! My Mom!

shih tzu on animal print blanketDottie definitely needs to learn to share Mom. Flower tried to jump up on the couch this afternoon, and Dottie growled at her again. Flower jumped back and didn’t attempt it again. However, Dottie forfeited her place at the end of the couch a while later, leaving it open. Flower came up and licked my leg, scratched at in and then came up. I think Dottie gave her a dirty look. The whole time that was going on, Candy sat peacefully outside, in front of her shed, enjoying the great outdoors.



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Shih Tzu Day 90: Kitty Invades Shih Tzu Central

Muddy Buddies

shih tzu with muddy feetshih tzu with towel on her headWe woke up this morning to the sound of Spot Collins meowing in the bathroom. Shortly after that, the dogs started barking. I headed out the bedroom door to greet the dogs, and John picked up Spot Collins to take him downstairs.

shih tzu with towel on her head

When the girls came back from romping in the grass after breakfast, I realized it was bath time for the dogs. Grass and mud covered all of their paws.

Dottie and Candy are better at baths than they are with blow dryers or clippers. They both shook, but we bathed them without them getting too traumatized. Flower was very good.

I took the dogs upstairs separately, beween baths, to blow dry them. As unexpected, they all tried to run, but they couldn’t go far, since the doors were shut.

Wherever they went they were close enough where I could point the blow dryers at their bodies at least. I left their faces alone.

Spot Collins Visits Shih Tzu Central

shih tzu with towel on headWhen all of the dogs were finishing drying at Shih Tzu Central, Spot Collins wandered over, drank a little of their water and then jumped onto the dog bed occupied by Dottie and Flower. Dottie stared at him a few minutes and then decided to get in another dog bed. Flower just kept staring at him like he was from another planet.

two shih tzus and a kittenSpot Collins is better. He drank lots of water and ate his kibble. When John took a shower, he set SC’s carrier nearby, so he could get his prescribed sauna. He is still sneezing quite a bit.

shih tzu with kittenWhen John left, SC kept crawling up on my lap. I let him stay there for a while. Flower stayed away from the couch. Dottie wanted up, but instead of sitting on the couch, as usual, she sat up on the arm.

shih tzu and kittenFlower started getting more aggressive towards Spot Collins after John left. She was growling at her, so I ended up putting the kitten back in her carrier for awhile. When I let him back out, Flower was too busy chewing on her bully stick to notice.

Flower jumped up on the couch for her massage-scratch-petting session. As soon as I started petting her, Dottie showed interest, too. Their fur was so soft after their bath this morning. Flower just sat next to me, so I could scratch her chest and haunches. Dottie, however, rolled over on her back for a tummy rub.

Candy never comes up for petting action. However, when we were watching Dancing With The Stars, I sat her between John and me. She actually relaxed and lay down, one paw on my leg, and stayed there for probably twenty minutes while John petted her.

Google Alert

I have Google Alerts set up on words involving my work, as well as words that will pull up articles to tweet about, such as puppy mills and shih tzus. I also have an alert for the Denver Dumb Friends League, because I like to tweet info about animal shelters and rescues. Today, my Google Alert gave me three articles on the Dumb Friends League; one was my post on Day 77, telling about Mom’s adoption of Panda and Spot Collins. It was a pleasant surprise, because I never expected to get an alert on my own articles.

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