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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