Nutro taste-testing party preparation
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
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.
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!