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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