Shih Tzu Day 392 (July 25): Nutro Small Breed Taste-Testing Party!

Nutro taste-testing party preparation

table with Nutro crunchy treats.

Well, it finally happened—our Nutro small breed taste-testing party! The day began with wash­ing dog blan­kets and beds, and then, I man­aged to get all four shih tzus bathed. John couldn’t help before leav­ing for work, so I did it myself, as quickly as pos­si­ble. I towel dried them but then let them air dry.

Our first dog guests, Rosey and Mimi, arrive.


I wanted to make a fresh batch of doggy hors d’oeuvres, even though the dogs would be sam­pling Nutro bis­cuits and treats. I made a quick trip to the store for apples and sweet pota­toes and made all three of our shih tzus’ reg­u­lar treats: apple and chicken, sweet potato and chicken, and chicken jerky.

Leti­cia came over at 2 o’clock, with Ori­ana, Rema, Junior, Evita, and Cea, my party com­mit­tee. Their job was to set up the taste-testing table in the back­yard, putting out the pome­gran­ate, banana, peanut but­ter, and apple treats, as well as the read­ing mate­r­ial sup­plied by Nutro. They also had the respon­si­bil­ity of fill­ing the goody bags. Nutro sent 10 gift bags, dog bowls, col­lars, pack­ages of wet food, and 4 lb. bags of Nutro Nat­ural Small Breed kib­ble. They also sent pic­ture frames, dec­o­ra­tions, and glue.

Flower was beautiful but aloof.While the chil­dren took care of their tasks, Leti­cia and I did the shop­ping. Nutro had gra­ciously given us a Visa card for peo­ple food, so we bought lots of fruit for a big fruit bowl (which she dec­o­rated with the top of the pineap­ple), veg­gies, pick­les, olives, a vari­ety of rolls, meats, cheeses, fla­vored mus­tards, sweet potato tor­tilla chips, and Pringles.

Chelsea Girl wasn't sure what she thought of all the dogs.


I also picked up Apothic white and Apothic red wine as well as a bot­tle of Chateau Ste. Michelle Ries­ling, and Crys­tal Light apple­tini and lemon­ade for the chil­dren. When we got back, Leti­cia was on food detail, with Junior help­ing, while I checked on the taste-testing table, which looked great.

Guests begin to arrive

Our first guest, John’s sis­ter Lynda, arrived at 6 o’clock. Shortly after that, our neigh­bor Jan arrived with her cock­a­too Chelsea Girl.

Owner, 2 shih tzus and malteseOur first dog guests arrived a lit­tle later. Many of our read­ers know how we came to have our shih tzus, but I will relate the story briefly, since it has to do with these guests. John had been par­tic­u­larly close to our Yorkie Joey, and when she died, he wasn’t sure if he wanted another dog. I always told him, though, that I didn’t want another one—I wanted sev­eral, and I wanted a vari­ety, like Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s clan.

Shaymus and BeBe arrive at the party.In early 2011, I met a sweet fos­ter dog at PetS­mart named Bella. I found out she was a shih tzu. A lit­tle later, my niece Heather had a party and I befriended a shih tzu there. After those two encoun­ters, I was sure I wanted a shih tzu. John and I were tak­ing a bike ride one Sat­ur­day morn­ing that June when he pointed out a dog run­ning on the bike path. It looked like a shih tzu—a very scared shih tzu run­ning for its life.

Max surveys the partiers. We ended up finally catch­ing the dog, after chas­ing her for two miles, and bring­ing her home with us. Over the next 48 hours or so, I came to really like Rosey. That Mon­day, though, I made a trip to PetSmart’s clinic; they checked her for a chip, found one, and tracked down the shih tzu’s owner, Jane. As it turned out, Rosey lived with another shih tzu (Tuffy) and a mal­tese (Mimi). They were very happy to get her back.

Rosey investigates the toy box.

I knew I was going to miss Rosey. That inci­dent led to me look­ing online for a shih tzu to adopt, and even­tu­ally, to us tak­ing in Flower, Dot­tie, Candy, and last but not least, Nigel. Last week, when I was mak­ing out my invi­ta­tion list for the party, I thought about Jane, Rosey, Tuffy, and Mimi. I didn’t have Jane’s num­ber, but I knew where they lived, so I stopped by and extended an invi­ta­tion. I wasn’t sure if they would show up, so I was very happy to see them at the door, with Jane’s sis­ter Kathy, and her schnauzer-Chinese crested, Beau.

Chloe arrived ready to taste Nutro treats and make friends.The next guests to arrive were our neigh­bors, Todd and Kelsey Sil­ver­nail, with their new boxer puppy Dex­ter, their friend Chad, his dog BeBe, and Shay­mus, a friend’s Boston ter­rier that we had met pre­vi­ously. Although this was a small breed taste-testing party, we didn’t dis­crim­i­nate against big­ger dogs like BeBe!

When another neigh­bor, Dorothy, showed up with her dog Chloe and Max, her daughter’s Yorkie, I was sur­prised to find out that she knew Jane. Their sons had been in band together years ago, and it had been a while since they’d seen each other.

Beau made a new people friend (Chad).With their arrival, we had nine doggy guests! Other peo­ple guests to join the fes­tiv­i­ties included my friend Kar­leen and her daugh­ter Cas­sidy, as well as another friend, Susan, and her daugh­ter Allison.

Party poop­ers

I would love to be able to say that Flower, Candy, and Dot­tie enjoyed the fes­tiv­i­ties, but, sadly, they did not. When I take them walk­ing (a recent big vic­tory!), Flower tries to run up and inves­ti­gate any dog. You would think she would be more com­fort­able in her own home, but her and Dot­tie with­drew to Shih Tzu Cen­tral as soon as peo­ple and dogs started show­ing up, and Candy retreated to her cor­ner out­side. Nigel, of course, greeted each per­son and dog.

Dottie and Cea at Nutro taste-testing table.After the party had been going for some­time, I car­ried Candy over to Cas­sidy, to get a pic­ture of them near the taste-testing table. Candy might not have enjoyed it, but she stayed still, and Dot­tie allowed Cea to hold her a while. I was encour­aged and car­ried Flower over to Lynda. Flower did what she used to do when she was afraid—pooped on Lynda’s foot, and then jumped out of her arms and ran for the back­door. I brought her back out later, and as long as I held her she was okay, but she had no inter­est in join­ing any of the dog activities.


Evita with Tuffy shih tzu at Nutro taste-testing table.Since it was a taste-testing party, we had good inten­tions of see­ing which dogs liked which Nutro treats best. I didn’t taste any, but as far as scent, the pome­gran­ate was my favorite. Beau and Nigel seemed to like all of the flavors.

Shay­mus seemed fond­est of the peanut but­ter treats and the banana ones. We had writ­ten down more results on the ban­ners by the treats, but the wind picked up and blew them around the yard, so we couldn’t tell which results went with which treats.

Cassidy and Candy at the Nutro taste-testing table.

(After the party, I tried the taste test again with our female shih tzus, since they wouldn’t try any­thing with guests around. I have never been able to get them to eat crunchy treats, but Flower tried all of the fla­vors, and ate all of them but the banana, which she spit out. Dot­tie and Candy sniffed, and then politely turned their finicky noses away.)


Boston terrier and shih tzu with Nutro goody bag.Jane and Kathy had planned on only stay­ing a few min­utes, and although they were the first to leave, they were there for much longer. Kathy said we had given Beau the best night of his life! I think we said good­bye to our last guests around 9 o’clock.

As each per­son got ready to leave, Rema handed out a bag of good­ies for each dog. We were given a coupon book that we could give to one lucky win­ner, bear­ing 12 $35 coupons for a free 15 lb. bag of Nutro Nat­ural Choice dog food.

Todd, Kelsey, Dexter, Chad, Shaymus and BeBe prepare to leave.I was so happy with the turnout, though, that I passed the coupons out to all the guests instead. Thanks Nutro, for giv­ing us this oppor­tu­nity to bring together dogs, fam­ily, friends, and neigh­bors, for a great time! The only thing that would have made the party more com­plete is if our dog blog friends from around the world would have been able to join us! Please visit our Face­book page for more pictures!

Cassidy and Allison visit Dottie, Candy, and Dottie at Shih Tzu Central.

Rema loads the Nutro goody bags into Jane's car.

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