Thanksgiving #2 with the Shih Tzus (What a difference)

When I started to put together my post about this Thanks­giv­ing, I went back to see how our first Thanks­giv­ing with Candy, Dot­tie, Flower and Nigel was. I was amazed. We have def­i­nitely seen a lot of progress with our puppy mill shih tzus, although Nigel was as friendly to every­one as usual.

Dottie Flower Nigel Shih Tzu Thanksgiving 2012

I had to leave to pick up Mom at about 9:45. Before I did, I put a green sweater on Nigel, a pink and white dress on Candy, an ani­mal print sweater on Flower, and Dottie’s birth­day dress on her. When I started get­ting my boots on, Flower, Dot­tie and Nigel thought we were going for a walk, so they rushed me. (That wouldn’t have hap­pened last year, since I couldn’t get them to go on walks.) I didn’t put their har­nesses on them. I just opened the door and they all scram­bled out behind me. I’m sure they were a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed to find out they were only pick­ing up Grandma and com­ing right back.

Flower Shih Tzu eating Thanksgiving dinner.

Leti­cia and the kids arrived about 30 min­utes later. The female shih tzus went to their cor­ner. Once the din­ner was ready, I fixed them plates of turkey, sweet pota­toes and a lit­tle bit of mashed pota­toes and cran­berry sauce, and then I set all four bowls out­side. None of them hes­i­tated from rush­ing out­side and dig­ging in. The girls went back to their cor­ner but then couldn’t resist the smells and one by one, wan­dered up to the table, look­ing for scraps.

When it was time to take Mom back home, I asked Cea and Evita if they wanted to come along for the ride. It didn’t pre­vent Nigel, Flower and Dot­tie from once again trot­ting out to the car and get­ting in. Nigel sat on my mom’s lap until we dropped her off. I put one of the seats down, so Cea and Evita sat together and Flower and Dot­tie went between the other seat and the back of the car. Once I dropped off Mom, the girls came up front and Nigel sat with them. Flower got com­fort­able enough to sit on the con­sole, some­times fac­ing front­ward, and some­times turn­ing around.

Dottie Shih Tzu eating Thanksgiving dinner.

They were a lit­tle put off when Gabe, Crys­tal, Avi and Samuel showed up. Samuel is nearly one year old, and he wanted to play in the dog area. They didn’t seem to mind it very much, and they even­tu­ally did come out and start wan­der­ing around.

Candy Shih Tzu Thanksgiving 2012

On Sat­ur­day night, Aunt Betty and a friend came over. The females once again retired to their cor­ner, but about two hours later, they came out, with Candy even doing her “I want some­thing but can’t tell you what” dance. John reached down to pick up Flower, and she let him! He held her on his lap at the table for about 15 min­utes. They have come such a long way with him that I think he is now Dad and not the Man.


Be sure to check out last year’s Thanks­giv­ing blog to see what a dra­matic dif­fer­ence one year makes!

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Shih Tzu Face, Feet and Fanny Trim

I took a dog groom­ing class some time ago from Lia at the Gen­tle Groomer because tak­ing four shih tzus in for groom­ing is a lit­tle expen­sive! John is the one who usu­ally does the groom­ing, though, because he is much bet­ter. We can never quite seem to get ahead, espe­cially when it comes to pulling hair out of the ears and get­ting the hair out from between their paws.

Clear Creek Animal Hospital receptionist

I thought about mak­ing an appoint­ment with Lia, but since the shih tzus are a lit­tle bit used to going to the Clear Creek Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal, and since Flower was kicked out of groom­ing school because of her behav­ior, I thought I would call and talk to them about par­tial grooming.

Dr. Lind­sey answered the phone and said they do offer that ser­vice. I also told her that we had run into Delores from BFF Res­cue at the park and that she had men­tioned that a few of Candy’s nip­ples were a lit­tle dis­col­ored and oddly shaped and I might want to get them checked. Dr. Lind­sey said she would take a look when we were there.

I felt very guilty this morn­ing when I loaded the shih tzus into the car. Dot­tie, Flower and Nigel were so excited (Candy is always more reserved) and I knew they thought they were going to have fun at the park. When I got them out of the car at Clear Creek, they balked at going in, but I finally got them inside (Flower did briefly escape back out out the door but couldn’t get too far since she was on a leash).

Flower, Dottie, Candy and Nigel waiting in cage

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a big black dog behind the desk, with his paws on it. I imme­di­ately took a pic­ture with my phone of the “recep­tion­ist.” I talked to the actual recep­tion­ist about what I needed done and she said that the ser­vice that I prob­a­bly wanted was called “face, feet and fanny.”

Of course, the female shih tzus all pan­icked when they had to get in the cage and wait for the groomer, Melissa Kow­ing. I felt like a bad mother leav­ing them in that mode, and I wanted to ask if I could stay, but I knew that they would never get used to any type of groom­ing from some­one else if I was around. I ran some errands and then came back to pick them up.

Melissa had no prob­lem with the other shih tzus, but Flower refused to play nice. She got her way, because she didn’t get groomed. I guess I am lucky that she lets John and me groom her, although she doesn’t let us pull the hair out of her ears. We are going to have to fig­ure that out.

The shih tzus leaving Clear Creek Animal Hospital

Dr. Lind­sey told me she had looked at Candy and that she didn’t see a prob­lem, although she had signs of aller­gies on her tummy. She had told me she sus­pected aller­gies before at her exam, because Candy has “ele­phant” ears — thick, wrin­kled skin on the under­side of her ear. I hadn’t noticed it, but she said Nigel has it too.

I talked to her for awhile about aller­gies. She said the only way to really find out is to be very strict about what I give them and see if the symp­toms go away, and that it could be chicken, grains, beef, or some­thing in the house. Since I feed them mostly grain-free food, my guess would be chicken, since they eat so much of it, or beef from the rawhide. She did note that they have great teeth, though, and that must be from the rawhide, since that’s their only toothbrush.

The sad news is that now that I know I can take them in for par­tial groom­ing, Melissa won’t be groom­ing there any longer. She does groom­ing in her home, though. My biggest prob­lem next time will be decid­ing which groomer to go to, since Clear Creek rec­om­mends both Melissa and Lia.

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Shih Tzu Halloween (and Nigel’s Birthday)

I have been remiss in keep­ing up our jour­nal, so I thought I would post some Hal­loween pis and give a lit­tle progress report.

Nigel Shih Tzu with Halloween treat bag.

The Shih Tzu Clan on their Halloween Walk.

I have always said that we need to give Nigel a birth­day. The Shih Tzu Sis­ter had papers from the puppy mill, so we know their birth dates and ages. Nigel, how­ever, was turned in to a shel­ter and they didn’t give the Col­orado shel­ter any infor­ma­tion, so we don’t really even know his age. The vet guessed at 18 months. John says some­times he acts like a lit­tle boy and some­times like an old man, so we have no idea. His black fur and face have always made me think of Hal­loween, though, so we decided we will cel­e­brate his birth­day on Hal­loween each year.

Nigel Shih Tzu, the sock monkey, Flower Shih Tzu and Candy Shih Tzu.

Nigel Shih Tzu and Caliyana Vampire.

To cel­e­brate Hal­loween and Nigel’s new birth­day, I bought some Lon­don broil on sale and made all the shih tzus beef jerky instead of the reg­u­lar chicken jerky. I also dehy­drated some left­over ham, since I always see doggy ham bites at the store. I bought Nigel a sock mon­key and a stuffed bone too.

I went with a “skull” theme, since Nigel has a new skull sweater, Candy has a black and white dress with skulls, and Flower has a jacket with a pink skull. Dot­tie isn’t a skull kind of shih tzu, but she was at least color coor­di­nated with her black and white dress.

One of the biggest achieve­ments this year is get­ting the shih tzus to not only go on walks, but to love them. Candy is still the only one that hes­i­tates. The oth­ers jump around excit­edly when I get down the har­ness and leash bas­ket, know­ing they are going for a walk nearby or in the car to the park.

Candy actu­ally seems to like walk­ing once we get her out­side, but for some rea­son, she usu­ally runs and hides when we are get­ting ready. Today was no dif­fer­ent, but I went and got her and put her har­ness and leash on. Once she was out­fit­ted for the walk, when I opened the door she trot­ted out behind the others.

Dot­tie and Candy are very good at walk­ing next to me, so when there is no dan­ger of cars or any­thing else, I let them drag their leashes. That makes it eas­ier for me to han­dle Flower and Nigel with the flex leashes. And if I need to, I can pick it up again.

For Hal­loween, how­ever, once we got to the grassy area behind Wal-Mart, I got their snacks out and let go of Flower and Nigel’s leashes. Once they had their treats, I let Flower and Nigel have a lit­tle free­dom. It turns out that Nigel is the one that has to be watched like a hawk. Flower just wanted to sniff bushes, but Nigel’s keen eyes spot­ted two teenagers sit­ting down talk­ing and took off run­ning to greet them. After I caught up with him, i kept both of their leashes in my hand.

Except for Nigel, the shih tzus still don’t take to com­pany. Can­dace and Vic­tor brought over Caliyana and Jur­rien, and later, Leti­cia brought over all five of her chil­dren. Nigel was as friendly as ever. The female shih tzus weren’t friendly, but they didn’t stay in their cor­ner like they once would have. It also didn’t freak them out as much as last year when peo­ple kept com­ing to the door, dressed in strange clothes, but they did bark a lot.

Flower Shih Tzu Waiting for a Treat at the Door.

When John came home, we con­tin­ued our prac­tice of try­ing to get them to take treats through the doggy door, in hopes that they will start using it. Nigel is get­ting the hang of it, and when he feels like it, can go out and come back in through it. Flower and Dot­tie will go through it if we hold open the plas­tic flap, but Candy won’t go near it, so we still have to leave an open­ing. We got  some cute pic­tures of them “trick or treating.”

It’s also good news as far as John is con­cerned too. All of them are get­ting closer to him. Candy will sit beside him on the couch or on his lap and loves him to pet her. Flower doesn’t do that, but she does come up and greet him. Dot­tie is still a lit­tle stand­off­ish. But, all in all, we feel very good about our progress.

Dottie, Flower and Candy Shih Tzu Trick or Treating at the Door.




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