Shih Tzu Week 123: Halloween and a Special Birthday

Oct. 31 – Nov. 6

Halloween 

This Halloween is a little different than last year. That’s because we continue to have house visitors. When I got up this morning, Panda had climbed into a basket in Mom’s room. John calls whatever basket he or Spot is in their “high-rise hotel” or “loft.”  I have been trying to spend as much time as I can with Mom, since she will be leaving soon to go to Florida. We watched “Grey Gardens” Halloween afternoon. I thought she would like it because of all the cats, but the situation was a little too close to home — that is, Mom’s old home.

I dressed the shih tzus up and took them for their traditional Halloween walk behind Wal-Mart. Other than that, it was a very quiet Halloween. The neighbors did bring their baby over for his first “trick or treat.”

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Friday, Nov. 1

Mom and I went to the bank and then to her house to see what else we might need. She wanted her skillet in which she made Buddy’s salmon cakes, but I couldn’t find it. I might have thrown it away because of hard water deposits.

I have been leaving the door to the basement open so Mom’s cats could get to their dry food, but Nigel knows it’s there now, so he tries to sneak down and eat it.

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Sunday, Nov. 3

Mother’s cat, Emily, doesn’t seem to be feeling well. We aren’t sure how old she is, but we think she could be 17 or 18 years old. She has been very thin for a long time, and when she was at Mom’s home in Commerce City, she used to cough a lot. Lately, she just lies down next to the water bowl, with her head against it. I felt so bad for her today that I put a stuffed animal under her head. She put her head on it as soon as I did.

I guess she was too weak to go downstairs to her litter box, so she wandered over to the training pad and peed on it. Too bad she isn’t well enough to teach whichever of our shih tzus still pees on the floor how to use the pee pad properly!

Monday, Nov. 4

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Emily died this morning. Although Mom was very sad, she was relieved that Emily died now, instead of possibly dying on the road trip on the way to Florida. Mom also said that she was happy that Buddy “follows her close so he can pick up the pieces.” Poor Mom. She has gone through a lot lately. I am very glad she has Buddy. She did admit, however, that, “what made me sad made Buddy glad.” That’s because Buddy never seems happy to share Mom with Emily, or the other cats. He tends to growl when they get too close to her. We had become fond of Emily, so John and I shed a few tears for her too.

I am happy to say that Mom still has her sense of humor. Mom spotted some urine on the hard wood floor and decided she was going to pick it up. She got down on her knees with a paper towel before I could stop her. Then, she started laughing when she had trouble getting back up. “Oh, oh,” she started laughing, and you guessed it, said, “Help. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

When Mom gets melancholy, which is quite often, she repeats a phrase from one of her past coworkers at Burger King: “What we gonna do, Buddy? What we gonna do?” I sure hope she can find a way to be happy when she gets to Florida.

Wednesday, Nov. 6

This will be the first time I spent Mom’s entire birthday with her since, hmmm, probably when I was a child. I gave her a photo album of pictures I put together from her time with us, mainly of her furry babies, but I included some of our furry kids, so she could remember them.

I think she really liked all the pictures. Spot Collins and Panda were the main stars, but we did get some sweet pictures of Emily before she died, and of course I included some of Buddy and Mom.

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Shih Tzu Week 117

Back to the Past: Sept. 19 – Sept. 25, 2013

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Friday, Sept. 20

This morning when I went to grab the leashes out of the basket, Nigel wandered back to his bed and Candy wandered under the table. They probably need walking the least, so I decided to just take Dottie and Flower. It’s always easier with less than four anyway. When we got back, I opened the back door so the shih tzus could wander in and out. I so wish we could get Dottie and Candy to use the doggy door, because I am constantly trying to get flies and bees out of the house. I swatted a fly near Candy and she didn’t even run. Sometimes she still startles easily, but she is getting better.

Sunday, Sept. 22

We took the dogs for a walk this morning at Majestic View. I always get a kick out of Flower’s excitement during the car ride. Nigel gets pretty excited too, but Flower is more verbal. If I say, “Are you excited we’re going for a walk?” Flower squeals.

Monday, Sept. 23

We have done well with many areas with the shih tzus, including their relationship with us. I have also noticed that most of their tear stains are gone, although Dottie still has a little brown on her face. However, partly because of the fact that Candy and Dottie won’t use the doggy door, we still have housebreaking issues. It’s not unusual for me to try to figure out where the urine smell is coming from. I realized today that Flower had peed on her couch, so the cushion cover went into the wash. Also, it looked like someone peed on Dottie’s thick blanket that I sometimes sit on. Ick. Candy had been relieving herself on the carpet in our bedroom so I started shutting the door. Then she started peeing on the rug in the bathroom. At least I can wash that, but I also started shutting that door.

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Shih Tzu Week 36: March 1 (Day 247) — March 7 (Day 252)

Shih Tzu Day 246: March 1 (Thursday)

Stop cleaning!

Flower lounging in a dog bed. I have been busy cleaning house. I’m not sure where I got the energy. I cleaned the living room, kitchen, and bathroom today. The female shih tzus don’t like it when I clean, for a few reasons. One, if I am cleaning, I am not sitting in my place on the couch, with my laptop before me. They really don’t seem to like change. Plus, when I am moving around and not sitting, they seem nervous. Sometimes Flower follows me around, but usually, they stay inside Shih Tzu Central and watch me. Then, when I do sit down, Nigel, Dottie, and Flower are immediately there. Nigel climbs up his stairs, Flower jumps up, and Dottie waits for me to help her up.

Shih Tzu Day 247: March 2 (Friday)

China Awareness

In the past, I wanted to praise some of the dog food and dog treat companies who produce our shih tzus’ favorite products. However, I have to back up and say it appears I have been wrong in praising some of the companies. One of my wonderful readers wrote and mentioned that she thought some of the treats I feed the dogs are on the list of treats from China to be wary of, since, according to the Food and Drug Administration, they are treats that may have caused kidney failure, liver disease or Fanconi syndrome, in dogs in the U.S. and Canada. Ironic for us, since the shih tzu originated in China!

From what I have read, including at Vitals.MSNBC.com, it is mainly chicken jerky pet treats — my dogs’ favorite treat — that appear to be causing illnesses in canines. Sorry to say, out of more than 600 complaints by pet owners and veterinarians, several point to brands  I have fed my shih tzus for months: Milo’s Kitchen (produced by Del Monte), Canyon Creek Ranch and Waggin’ Train (both produced by Nestle Purina PetCare). That is a huge disappointment, and I am embarrassed that I didn’t look into this earlier after a mention from another reader about some Costco products that come from China. Thank God, though, my shih tzus don’t seem to have fallen victim to what other dogs have.  I guess now I know why so many coupons are readily available for Milo’s Kitchen and Waggin’ Train!

FDA regulators do say that repeated tests have not shown an absolute tie to any brand or manufacturer. As a result, the FDA hasn’t recalled any specific products, so they remain on store shelves. FDA regulators have asked consumers to report problems, and supply jerky treat samples and medical records of dogs that may have become sick or died after eating these products.

So, what does someone do when their dogs just love those treats? I guess you look for products made in the U.S. Believe me, I have checked shelves at local big box stores, grocery stores, and pet supply stores, and that is almost impossible. So, I am on a search for treats I know are safe. If you have any suggestions, please let us know, and we’ll start reporting what we find.

Shih Tzu Day 248: March 3 (Saturday)

My stepson Gabe, his girlfriend Crystal and her daughter Avi stopped by. Nigel ran to greet them, and, as usual, the females went to Shih Tzu Central and waited for company to leave.

I started my search for U.S. chicken jerky treats. Well, it was not named by the FDA as a concern, but the Dogswell Breathies Chicken Breast with Mint & Parsley I just bought is made in China, as are the Cadet duck treats, but I haven’t seen anything about duck being an issue? Also, the dogs love the Canyon Creek Ranch Yam Good product, which is duck fillet wrapped yams, so I need to figure out if that is OK? Help, if anyone knows.

Shih Tzu Day 249: March 4 (Sunday)

Shih Tzu Bath Time

Nigel stands guard at the back door. My organization continues. I organized the kitchen drawers and refrigerator. Then, we tackled the challenge of giving half of the shih tzus baths. We chose Nigel and Flower. Flower had a little too much hair in her ears, so she had a hard time, but she was very brave. As usual, our little boy didn’t want his bath, so we had to fight him every step of the way.

Shih Tzu Day 250: March 5 (Mon.)

Dottie got her bath this morning. John and I started working out downstairs this morning to prepare for spring biking. Flower ran down like she normally does when I am down there, and then stopped and ran back upstairs when she saw that the Man was down there too. However, she couldn’t resist, and she was back five minutes later, sniffing around.

I spent a few hours trying to organize my pictures of the shih tzus. I have way too many files, since I was organizing them by day. Now, I have put them into weeks. I must have bored the dogs, because they all fell asleep.

Shih Tzu Day 251: March 6 (Tuesday)

Comfy Shih Tzus

John came downstairs this morning after getting ready for work, and Nigel and Flower calmly looked at him — from HIS place on the couch. Nigel went on chewing on his bone and Flower went on doing nothing. John finally sat down on the other couch after telling them they sure looked comfortable.

After John left, Candy came over wagging her head at me, and then the others gathered around. For some reason, the shih tzus think that John leaving the house means they get a treat. I usually accommodate them, but now I am trying to break them of the habit of coming up to me when he leaves, expectantly. Instead, I have been waiting until 11:30, and then I feed them small pieces of turkey.

So, instead of offering food, I petted Candy for a while this morning. A little later, Nigel mysteriously came up with a chew stick. He sat on the floor chewing away, while Candy sat next to him, just watching him. Flower, sitting on the non-Dottie side of the couch, leaned over and watched him too, as if his chewing was the most interesting thing in the world. I am not sure why his chewing was so fascinating to them.

When he was done, he climbed up his stairs and plopped down next to me, ready for his nap. He is such a baby boy. He couldn’t possibly get any closer to Mom. I remember when we first got him, and his behavior was sometimes very annoying. I admit, he does get a little too overbearing with the girls sometimes, but he is such a little lover and such a cutie.

Dry training pads

The female shih tzus stare at a broom as it nears them.I have been forgetting to say that I have only been throwing out the training pad once every day or so. For no apparent reason, however, Flower did pee on John’s side of the couch the other day. I think she was nervous, since I had been up and down cleaning a lot.

I did see some improvement in that area. John swept out Shih Tzu Central while they sat it it, and although they huddled together, the shih tzus didn’t look too freaked out about the broom coming so close to them.

Shih Tzu Day 252: March 7 (Wednes.)

Shih Tzu Pee Rug

In recent months, we kept a “pee” rug under the training pad, because of mis-positioning of shih tzu butts, resulting in wet hardwood flooring. It was washable, so I threw it in the washing machine every week or so. However, the unpleasant smell of urine always wafted up from the basement, and when I threw it in the dryer, that smell mixed with that of the rubber backing. I finally had a bright idea.

We have an anti-fatigue mat that doubles as a kitchen mat and a mat for dog grooming, because it cleans easily with a wipe of a wet rag. I bought one to put under the training pad, and threw away the tainted pee rug. It seems to be working good. Plus, one edge is straight, so I fold an edge of the pad under it, near the wall, and it keeps it in place a little better.

We still have some misses, so I just take a paper towel and wipe up the mess and the floor around it. It’s been working great, and no more pee smell, once I toss the used training pad.

Celery for shih tzus

I accidentally discovered that Nigel and Flower like celery. I dropped a piece of celery on the couch, and when I turned around, Nigel had it between his paws and was chomping away. Dottie and Candy, my particular shih tzus, wouldn’t try it, but Flower did. John was concerned, because he thought celery might be dangerous for dogs. I researched it and according to many cites, including Barf World, found that, indeed, dogs can eat celery! Good, since I need to find them healthy treats to replace Chinese chicken jerky treats!

Go away!

Candy's second home is under her trailer. Tish and the kids were ove for awhile. Evita and Dulcea cornered Candy and petted her, but I asked them to stop, since she didn’t look like she was having much fun. Dottie took a treat from Junior, and of course, Nigel would eat anything from anyone.

The dogs still don’t like when people come over, but they now get back to normal ten minutes after the door closes. In fact, shortly after they left, Flower and Nigel were play fighting next to me, and when I looked over, Flower was sitting on him. Such a cute little family.

Daddy’s home

When Dad comes home, Candy wags her butt, instead of just her tail. When he picks her up, she smells his face. I think she is starting to love Daddy.

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Shih Tzu Day 209: Old Shih Tzu Habits

Old shih tzu habits die hard

Candy started barking at 4. John turned the flashlight on and pointed it down the stairs to get her to stop. She started again about 5. I ignored it and stayed in bed until 6, when Dottie started whining.

I am learning that just because the shih tzus are getting better, it doesn’t mean that old habits won’t resurface. Flower, Dottie and Nigel often go into the spare room with me when I have to use my backup PC. They wander around, try to find things to chew on, or just sit there and wait for me. No one had been pooping or peeing on the carpet, so I stopped barricading the door during other times of the day. But this morning when I glanced in the room, I saw that someone had done number one and number two. The barricade has gone up again.

When I went downstairs to get laundry, I heard Flower coming down the stairs. I walked out of the laundry room and started to cheerily say, “Hello, Flower!” but then saw her squatting on the floor. She was mid-stream when I hollered her name! Sigh.

shih tzus in need of grooming

I hate to admit it, but the dogs haven’t been groomed since the end of December. We have to catch up, so we decided to bathe one dog and do some grooming on as many as we could. John groomed Nigel’s face and trimmed up his paws and cut his toe nails. He did the same with Dottie and Flower. He was having trouble with the clippers, and I think that’s why he cut one of Flower’s toe nails too short. She was being very good, but that frightened her. Still, she was so much better than the days when she would poop on the table whenever we sat her on it. She just pulled her paw away, but then let us do the grooming on her face.

Dottie wasn’t quite as good, but, again, not nearly as bad as she used to be. I noticed this morning that she appears to have dog dandruff, so we decided she would be the one to get bathed. I have to keep an eye on that and figure out if something is causing it, besides the fact that she hadn’t had a bath for a few weeks.

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Shih Tzu Day 135 (Nov. 11): Shih Tzu Shopping

in search of the perfect shih tzu treat

two shih tzus scuffling. People don’t seem to agree on rawhide and dogs. Petsmart has a whole aisle devoted to rawhide, but I know a lot of people don’t think rawhide is good for dogs. I don’t know enough about it, but I am trying new things to avoid giving them rawhide all the time. Today I bought a product called DreamBones made with dried chicken breasts and a bunch of other ingredients that might or might not be bad for them. I bought them once before, but I didn’t remember if the shih tzus liked them. Dottie and Flower liked them. I think Nigel took Candy’s.

a <em/><em>shih tzu</em> at a door.I have also been on a search for the best bully stick brand. The female shih tzus didn’t like the Cadet bully sticks I got from Costco, although I think Nigel will eat anything. They were too big anyway. They were meant for larger dogs, so John had to saw them into three pieces. I got a small package from Walmart to try again, because the girls liked them the last time I bought them. I have a feeling that in a taste test the Walmart one would win, which is too bad, since the big bag at Costco is more economical.

the shih tzu couch defiler

While I was out, Flower peed on the couch. At least I assume it was Flower. It was John’s side of the couch this time. I pulled the cushion off and soaked the spot with cleaner and the marking spray. While it was on the ground, Nigel decided it was his new dog bed and climbed up on it to chew on a bully stick.

Nigel does need a better dog bed. I guess the one from Ross doesn’t have enough stuffing. Maybe that is why he drags it around. He might be just driving to rearrange its innards. I did buy him another one from Ross to try.

shih tzu holiday clothes

two shih tzus sitting together. I also bought Nigel a grinch outfit, a red dog jacket and a red and white sweater. I bought the girls a black and pink checked dress with velcro on the neck and tummy from TJ Maxx. I wanted to dress Dottie, Candy and Flower up at triples some time during the holiday, and I found these adorable little red and green dog dresses with candy canes and other Christmas decorations and fur at the bottom at Ross. I found the same print at Target, but with extra fur, so I bought it for one of them. The red and green dress was eight dollars at Walmart but five dollars at Ross, so that extra fur really adds to the price!

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