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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