Shih Tzu Progression

I hate to think when the last time was that I made a post! All I can say is that our puppy mill shih tzus seem to progress daily!

Take today, for exam­ple. When we were sit­ting on the couch this morn­ing, John com­mented about a time when the female shih tzus would bark when­ever he came down­stairs, act­ing like he was an intruder. Now, they act as happy to see him as they do to see me, and they spend a lot of time let­ting him pet them.

Also, Can­dace passed her cos­me­tol­ogy prac­ti­cal test yes­ter­day and I told her I would take her for lunch and we would cel­e­brate with a mimosa. After she arrived, I went to put on my boots and Flower jumped on the couch and began paw­ing at me. Some peo­ple might not real­ize what that sym­bol­izes, but after look­ing back at notes from last Jan­u­ary, it’s significant.

Candy, freshly-groomed, on the way to the park

When I put my boots on, Dot­tie, Flower and Nigel think it means one thing: We are going for a walk! A year ago, that would not have been a rea­son to get excited — except for Nigel. That would have been a rea­son to run and hide. Now, how­ever, I had to tell them I was sorry and promise them a walk when I returned.

Dottie and Candy catching up on a walk

What hap­pened when Can­dace and I returned was another glimpse of their pro­gres­sion. I brought the orange juice and cham­pagne to the table for our cel­e­bra­tion. About ten min­utes later, Flower, Nigel and Dot­tie came to see what was going on. A year ago, the girls would have stayed in their cor­ner. A few months ago, they would have pos­si­bly come and sat by me, but they would have oth­er­wise been unso­cia­ble shih tzus.

Flower gets lovin' from Candace.

Now, how­ever, Can­dace stooped to pet Flower and Flower moved closer to be pet­ted. A lit­tle later, Dot­tie fol­lowed her lead.

After Can­dace left, all the shih tzus started roam­ing around the liv­ing room and star­ing at me. The snow kept me from tak­ing them yes­ter­day, but I didn’t want to dis­ap­point them again, so I got down the har­ness box. Flower flew down from the couch, her tail wag­ging, and Dot­tie wan­dered over. I never know what Candy is going to do, but even she wan­dered towards the door and waited for me to put her har­ness on her.

Nigel and Candy explore an unfamiliar backyard.

Once out­side, the shih tzus sniffed their way along the cul de sac and then towards the open area behind Wal-Mart, Dot­tie and Candy trail­ing their leashes behind them, and me hold­ing on to Nigel and Flower’s. We ended up hav­ing to take a dif­fer­ent route, though. We started going east, but school had let out early, and a hand­ful of teenagers were throw­ing snow­balls at each other. Flower and Dot­tie trot­ted along, Candy raced towards them bark­ing (odd behav­ior for her!), but Dot­tie stopped in her tracks as if to say “Danger!”

I finally gave up and turned them around. Instead, we walked along the main road, beyond where we usu­ally turn to go home. The condo com­plex on the next block is get­ting a new fence, so the fence has been tour down. Nigel, Flower and Candy wan­dered through the back­yards, fas­ci­nated by new ter­ri­tory, until I turned them around to go home.

With all the progress, I do have one thing to work on. I try to feed the shih tzus equally, and although Nigel and Candy stay thin, Dot­tie and Flower are def­i­nitely look­ing a lit­tle “plump.” John has taken to call­ing them his lit­tle “Fat Girls” (after the “Fat Boys” in the recent ver­sion of Alice in Won­der­land. So, our big goal for this new year is to slim down our lit­tle angels!

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