Dottie Shih Tzu’s 7th birthday
I am happy to say that Dottie celebrated her second birthday party at her forever home today! She is now 7 years old. We did things a little differently than we did last year.
Remembering last year’s Shih Tzu birthday party
For Dottie’s first birthday with us, two and a half months after she and her half sisters came to live with us, I dressed Dottie, Candy, and Flower up (Nigel hadn’t come to live with us yet). I was trying to get Dottie used to riding in the car, so I took her with me down the street to get a cheeseburger and fries for the shih tzus to shake. She shook the entire time.
How things have changed in Shih Tzu Land
Looking back, I am happy to say that things are quite a bit different! Yes, Dottie sometimes still does shake in the car, but all of the dogs are used to going on car rides, because of our frequent trips to the park. Also, they are now all used to walking on a leash!
Majestic View Park
I don’t like to take all four shih tzus for walks without John, because they are a handful, but since it was Dottie’s birthday, I attempted it. I also wanted to make it more special than behind Wal-Mart, where we normally walk on weekdays, so I decided to take them for a walk at Majestic View Park, our normal Sunday morning routine.
First off, I got down their leash and harness box and Dottie, Nigel, and Flower got excited, as usual — but there harnesses weren’t in it! I searched all over the house, and finally found them in the spare bedroom. I must have gone up there to get something with the harnesses in my hand and absentmindedly set them down on the bed. Once I got the harnesses on them, I fixed the flex leashes for Nigel, Flower, and Candy so that they wouldn’t extend all the way, which, hopefully, would help me control them.
Flower, Nigel, and Dottie all followed me out to the car in the garage, but Candy hesitated in the hall, as usual. I picked them all up and put them in the back of the Focus, and then came back in for Candy. I put the birthday girl in the place of honor in the front seat, on a new furry blanket I got her.
When we got to the park, I put Nigel’s leash on him and let him out my door, although I try to normally let them out the hatch. Then, I carefully let Flower down (the last time we went to the park she jumped out before we could get the leash on her!), put Candy’s leash on her and let her down, and then picked Dottie up and set her on the ground.
I know that the sign in the park says that all dogs need to be on leashes, and technically, Dottie is always on a leash. It’s just not always in my hand! She is so good that when no one is close, I let her walk herself, next to me. I also let Candy walk herself usually, because she is very good and stays close to me.
We did okay for the first few minutes, but once I let out their flex leashes, Flower and Nigel started weaving back and forth, and I spent more time untangling them and me than walking. We stopped at a bench and I got out the treats I made for Dottie: chicken and sweet potato, chicken and apple, and chicken and banana (I still haven’t perfected the banana treats). Nigel stole the first treat I put down for Dottie and one I put down for Candy, so he got scolded. I brought along the three birthday tiaras I had from the last birthday, and the shih tzus took turns wearing them.
A few people we saw commented that I was brave to walk four dogs, and I agreed! I told them I normally wouldn’t attempt it but it was a special day.
Mother-daughter birthday date
When we came home, I settled the other shih tzus in, and then took Dottie back out to the car with me for our “mother-daughter” date. She sat in the front seat with me for about three-quarters of the way, not shaking at all, and then climbed into the back.
Our destination was Muttz, a pet store where I bought the shih tzus Big Bark “steer sticks” (pizzles — translate “penises”) several months back. I called before we left to make sure they had some in stock. The woman told me they were having difficulty getting in the large bag I bought before but that they had a one-pound bag of steer stick pieces, which sounded better for the shih tzus than the larger ones anyway.
Dottie obediently followed me into the store and stood next to me while I looked at jerky and other treats. When the clerk came to say hello, however, Dottie started shaking. I explained that she came from a puppy mill and still wasn’t very good with people.
I bought the steer stick pieces and a piece of duck jerky for Dottie, and when we were leaving, I spotted a blue flowered dress that was half off. I hadn’t been going to dress Dottie or the others up this year, because I know I like it more than they do, but it was so cute that I had to try it on Dottie. I ended up buying it. The clerk asked if it was Dottie’s first time in the store, and I said yes. She said she could get a free toy, and I told her that was great since it was Dottie’s birthday. I picked out a stuffed star to go with the yellow flowers in Dottie’s dress.
On the way home, I decided to buy a cheeseburger and small fries for the shih tzus (and me) to share. I took them all out on the porch and put a small piece of hamburger and fries in each of their food bowls.