Shih Tzu Vet Update: Four Star Visit

I wanted to talk about flow­ers today, but Mom said I should talk about our annual vet exam we had yes­ter­day at Clear Creek Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal. First, Mom tricked us. She knows that when­ever we get in the car we think we’re going to the nice park for a walk, but we were wrong. It was too late to escape once we saw where she was really tak­ing us.

She was happy I didn’t get fright­ened and pee on the floor like I used to. How­ever, Nigel “marked” his visit and they had to rush to get a paper towel to clean it up. That’s prob­a­bly why he got to be exam­ined first. Before Dr. Lind­sey did that, though, we all got weighed. Candy weighs the least, at 13.40 pounds. When we came to live at the Freeze Hacienda after liv­ing at the puppy mill, she weighed 11 pounds. The doc­tor says she is a nice weight. Dot­tie is a lit­tle more “plump.” She weighs 18.40 pounds! The doc­tor wasn’t that con­cerned, though, since her weight has hardly changed over the last few years. Mom says she is a “big girl.” When Nigel came to live with us he had been very sick, and he only weighed 10.80 pounds. Now, how­ever, he weighs 14.40 pounds. Well, now I have to say what I weigh. I weighed 13.60 pounds in 2011. Now I weigh, gulp, 16.60 pounds. The assis­tant put me back on the scale because she didn’t think that was right, but it was. The vet says I should lose at least a pound so Mom says I am going to get less treats. Bummer!

We all got a Lep­tospiro­sis vac­ci­na­tion — what­ever that is. Mom and the vet talked about Nigel’s eye scare ear­lier this year. He had a corneal per­fo­ra­tion. We aren’t sure how well he sees out of it. I guess Mom needs to take him in for a checkup at the spe­cial­ist for that. Beyond that, she thought Nigel was pretty healthy.

Candy might have a food allergy and Dot­tie might too, because of some prob­lems with their ears. Candy’s ears are a lit­tle “thick” and Dot­tie has a lot of wax in hers. The vet asked if they itch them a lot. Mom said they used to but that she was clean­ing them (with Vet’s Best Ear Relief) and Candy and Dot­tie didn’t seem to be hav­ing a prob­lem lately. Dr. Lind­sey said that if it gets worse, Mom might have to do some food tests to see what food might be caus­ing the prob­lem. Dot­tie is 8 years old and her vision might not be as well as mine, but oth­er­wise, the vet said she was in good health. I don’t know why she didn’t say she needed to lose weight!

Besides the vet say­ing I need to lose a pound, she also said I have to go in to get my teeth cleaned. Ugh. I guess I have too much tar­tar on my teeth. Mom was dis­ap­pointed since the vet always told her how good our teeth looked. Mom thought our teeth were good because of the chew sticks she gives us, but they must not be help­ing my teeth. I hope that doesn’t hurt!

The good news was that the vet told Mom if she had gold stars, she would give them to us! So I guess we did pretty good!

 

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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 119: Snow!

Oct. 3 – Oct. 9, 2013

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Fri­day, Oct. 4 

It snowed last night. Snow! On Oct. 3! I’m not ready to see my gar­den die! Also, I have been leav­ing the back­door open, since Candy and Dot­tie still don’t go through the doggy door. So today it is closed.

I have begun to think of myself as Flower’s “Daddy Bridge.” She climbs onto my lap, and with­out stop­ping, crosses me to get to Daddy. But I am in no way com­plain­ing. I am just happy that she is that com­fort­able with both of us now. When she isn’t with us, or at Shih Tzu Cen­ter, she likes to sit on the back of the loveseat where she can watch every­body from a com­fort­able dis­tance, and look out the win­dow when she chooses.

Candy also con­tin­ues to make “couch progress.” I never knew what she wanted before when she came up to the couch. Nowa­days it can mean she wants a snack or she wants up. Today, for exam­ple, I reached to get her and she stood still and let me pick her up. Dot­tie was already on one side and Nigel snug­gled close on the other. I sat her on the other side of Nigel, and she even­tu­ally curled up and set­tled down. When she was there, I rubbed her ear and real­ized it was soft inside, not rough as usual. That rough­ness, or “ele­phant ear,” is a sign of aller­gies, although I am not sure to what. I have been putting a lit­tle Aquaphor in her ear, think­ing if it works for my lips it might work for her ear. It seems to be work­ing. Also, a neigh­bor gave us a water cooler, so they mainly get puri­fied water to drink, and maybe that is helping.

Flower jumped up on the couch to join us a lit­tle later, so I had all four of the shih tzus for com­pany, although Flower def­i­nitely looked bored on her cor­ner perch. Candy can only take couch com­fort for so long, so she even­tu­ally jumped down to occupy the bed she and Nigel alter­nate in, by the enter­tain­ment cen­ter. Although he rarely does it, Nigel actu­ally took a bed at Shih Tzu Central.

I have the TV on today, like I often do when I’m work­ing, with the vol­ume down. I just saw an image of an abused dog on an com­mer­cial for an ani­mal shel­ter and it almost made me cry. I am so happy our four shih tzus have a lov­ing home and that there are so many ani­mal res­cues and shel­ters out there try­ing to make a difference.

Sun­day, Oct. 6 

It warmed up enough for us to take the dogs for a walk at Majes­tic View Nature Cen­ter. Since we have worked so hard on our gar­den this year, I have really enjoyed look­ing at their plants and flow­ers, which are usu­ally tagged with their names.

It gives me of ideas for the future. We don’t walk there nearly as much as the shih tzus would like to, since we nor­mally just walk behind Wal-Mart, so it is always a spe­cial treat. I tried to walk all four of them once there with­out John, but it was a fiasco, and I would never try it again.

Mon­day, Oct. 7

Nigel got a bath today. Hope­fully that will stop his scratch­ing. Each one of the dogs took their turns on the couch today again. Of course, Dot­tie is there most of the day. I was watch­ing Flower roll around on the couch for a while. Not sure why she does that, but it’s fun to watch. Maybe she is scratch­ing her back on the couch? Each time I pick up Candy and sit her down on the couch, I think about the past, when she either hid upstairs or in her cor­ner “apart­ment” in the din­ing room, instead of join­ing us. I con­tinue to be thank­ful for how far we have come.

Tues­day, Oct. 8 

John gave the shih tzus their pre-breakfast snack (chicken-wrapped rawhide bone) as usual this morn­ing and they were rar­ing to go. For some rea­son, Candy often doesn’t eat hers right away. She sits it in front of her and guards it. I think she keeps it just to enjoy the game. If any­one comes near it, she sounds her loud siren bark warn­ing. I need to record it, because it’s fierce. Some­times, like today, Flower sits on the other side of Candy’s bone and growls, try­ing to ter­ror­ize her sis­ter to giv­ing it up. How­ever, Candy instead decided it was time to enjoy it.

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Shih Tzu Week 43: April 19 (Day 295) – 25 (Day 301), 2012

Shih Tzu Day 295: April 19 (Thursday)

BIRTHDAY CLOTHES

Candy shih tzu in peace sign outfit.Candy’s birth­day is April 30, and I stum­bled across a very cute peace sign “out­fit” for her at Ross Dress For Less, my favorite place to find inex­pen­sive dog clothes. I think it was only about $5. It’s a lit­tle top and Vel­cro skirt. I couldn’t wait, so I tried it on her. She is so small, that the skirt kept falling off her. I think she is going to have to pass it on to Flower, who will be able to fill it out a lit­tle better!

Dog walk­ing

I made a step towards my goal of get­ting the female shih tzus walk­ing this sum­mer by tak­ing Nigel out today. I hope they will see how excited he gets and be inter­ested. He seemed a lit­tle tired when we came back. He stopped on the side­walk a few houses away and lay down for a lit­tle rest. I guess I took him a lit­tle too far, or his toe nails need clipping!

Shih Tzu Day 296: April 20 (Friday)

Candy’s rub down

Candy seems to be get­ting more and more com­fort­able with John. She sat on his lap for a while this evening while he gave her a rub down, which she seemed to enjoy. While that was going on, Dot­tie slept beside me, snor­ing peace­fully. I am so happy she and the oth­ers have a good home and humans who love them.

Shih Tzu Day 297: April 21 (Saturday)

Train­ing pad holder success

The shih tzus are getting used to the training pad holder. Some­one recently asked me if a train­ing pad holder would help with my prob­lem of the dogs mov­ing the train­ing pads all around. I men­tioned that I had unsuc­cess­fully tried one before, but the shih tzus wouldn’t step over the edge to use the pad. But, I decided to try again. I bought one at Wal­mart by Sim­ple Solu­tions. It cost $14.98 and holds pads that are 21”x 21”. It has worked much bet­ter this time.

Usu­ally, I put three pads down, since Candy and Nigel like to sit on the pads when they are clean, and that gives them a lit­tle cush­ion. There is at least one spot on it every morn­ing, so one of the dogs (prob­a­bly Candy) is using it reg­u­larly. Nigel can wait until we bring him down­stairs and he goes out, and I think Dot­tie waits too. Flower is a dif­fer­ent sub­ject. She doesn’t always wait, but I don’t think she reg­u­larly uses the pad either, either out of rebel­lion or for some other reason.

Shih Tzu Day 298: April 22 (Sunday)

ROYAL CANIN SWEEPSTAKES WINNER!

Penny with her gift bag goodies, courtesy Royal Canin.Our Royal Canin sweep­stakes con­test ended on April 21. The win­ner was Michelle and Penny! Michelle sent a pic­ture of Penny with her good­ies and told us a lit­tle bit about her. Penny is an Amer­i­can Lo-Sze pug. She is 6 years old and was diag­nosed with canine liver dis­ease in Sep­tem­ber 2009.  Michelle says, “Penny has come a long way and is doing great today!  She is my best friend and inspi­ra­tion.” Penny is the muse for Michelle’s pet prod­uct line, Sophis­ti­cated Pup.  She is the lead model and fea­tured in most of the pho­tos for the prod­ucts.  Michelle says, “She loves to get dressed up and knows when the spot­light is on her!”

We are so happy to have got­ten to know a lit­tle bit about the peo­ple who entered their dogs. We hope we can host more give­aways in the future. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Michelle and Penny!

Shih Tzu Day 299: April 23 (Monday)

Hard-boiled eggs

I treated the shih tzus to some small pieces of hard-boiled eggs today. They all like them.

kiss me, kate, um, flower

Flower con­tin­ues to sit on “her” couch more these days. It makes me said, because I love it when she sits with us. But she doesn’t like to share me with Dot­tie, and Dot­tie is pos­ses­sive too.  She did come over this after­noon and let me pet her for a while. For some rea­son, when I look at her with those long eye lashes, I think of the musi­cal, “Kiss Me, Kate,” so that’s what I always say to her.

Shih Tzu Day 300: April 24 (Tuesday)

Home­made chicken jerky and other treats not made in china!!

I men­tioned ear­lier that one of our read­ers, Jes­sica, brought up the prob­lem about treats made in China. Sadie Shih Tzu’s Human, Liz, wrote and sug­gested I make my own treats, and she sent me a recipe for dog bis­cuits. Although Nigel likes them and Flower will eat them when noth­ing else is around, Dot­tie and Candy don’t like dog bis­cuits. They absolutely love chicken jerky and next to that, they love sweet potato and chicken and sweet potato and apple treats. Since I exper­i­mented mak­ing chicken jerky in the oven, it got me think­ing about tak­ing it one step fur­ther and try a food dehydrator.

I ini­tially bought a typ­i­cal round dehy­dra­tor, but then I saw some good rat­ings for a square one by Nesco, and ordered it from Walmart.com. I looked at a cou­ple of jerky recipes, but set­tled with this one from Coco the Blog­ging Dog.

Basic Chicken Jerky

1 pound skin­less, bone­less chicken breasts, 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon (optional — add ingre­di­ents to the mari­nade, like Dogswell treats. Such as dried cane molasses, flaxseed, pep­per­mint, pars­ley, etc.)

First, you cut the chicken into strips, accord­ing to this recipe, 5 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick. I’m not sure how close I got, but I tried. Then, in a bag, com­bine the oil, lemon juice, and optional ingre­di­ents. I added dried mint and pars­ley. The recipe says to squeeze out the air in the plas­tic bag, mak­ing sure all the chicken sur­faces are cov­ered with mari­nade, seal the bag, and refrig­er­ate for 24 hours. How­ever, I have an old vac­uum sealer machine and a con­tainer that allows you to mari­nade for only an hour, so I did that.

You can do this in the oven, but I used the dehy­dra­tor. Sorry to say, I didn’t keep track of the time, but I think the jerky was done in about 8 hours. Basi­cally, they have to be leath­ery. I really love the fact that I can taste test their food. I didn’t think it was bad, and the shih tzus seemed to love it.

Sweet potato and chicken treats

The shih tzus loved the homemade chicken and sweet potato treats.I couldn’t find a recipe for home­made sweet potato and chicken treats, so I impro­vised. I took some of the chicken strips and cut them into very thin pieces. Then, I cut sweet pota­toes like I was going to make french fries. I wrapped the chicken strips around the sweet potato and dehy­drated until chicken was leath­ery. The sweet potato were slightly spongy.

I’m not sure how they com­pare to store bought, but the shih tzus liked them! I know they cost less then store bought, and best of all, they come from my kitchen and not from China! Next time, I plan to make chicken and apple treats.

By the way, the dehy­dra­tor also came with a sam­ple pack­age for Nesco Spice Works beef jerky, so I made some for John. He thought it was the best jerky he’d ever had, and so did I. I have a feel­ing that dehy­dra­tor is going to be a great investment!

Shih Tzu Day 301: April 25 (Wednesday)

Wel­come home

John and I have started rid­ing our bikes in the morn­ing before he leaves for work. The shih tzus aren’t quite sure what to think about me leav­ing the house that early. When we get back a half hour later, they are as excited as if I had been gone for hours. They were also excited later when I gave them a home­made sweet potato and chicken treat. I am so happy that they like them.

Now that I am mak­ing my own dog food treats and peo­ple treats, I am invest­ing in some food prepa­ra­tion items. I bought an OXO Good Grips V-Blade man­do­line from Bed, Bath and Beyond. One thing I am going to prob­a­bly use it for is slic­ing sweet pota­toes, if it will work, for the dog treats. I know sweet pota­toes are harder than pota­toes, so I am not sure if it will work.

FLEA AND TICK PREVENTION

PetArmor makes an inexpensive flea and tick treatment.As a fam­ily, we seem to be lucky in one area where a lot of dog own­ers have prob­lems. I don’t think any of our shih tzus have ever had fleas, ticks, or lice! I did some research and read that Col­orado is home to approx­i­mately 80 dif­fer­ent species of fleas. Col­orado dogs and their own­ers seem a lit­tle luck­ier than oth­ers because fleas need mois­ture to develop, and Col­orado mainly has a dry cli­mate. Still, there are some cases, as evi­denced by the med­ica­tions avail­able any­where that sells pet sup­plies in Col­orado. One rea­son is that pets that come to Col­orado from other states can carry these pests along with them! Wild ani­mals also can share prob­lems with your dogs. Both rea­sons are why I am not crazy about the occa­sional squir­rel or cat that enters the yard with­out permission.

Beyond that, I think our shih tzus are prob­a­bly rel­a­tively safe, mainly because they are presently “anti­so­cial.” They don’t go to dog parks and they don’t go to groomers. We still haven’t got­ten them to the point where they want to go on walks (but that is my biggest goal for this sum­mer). Still, one of the rea­sons for flea and tick treat­ments is pre­ven­tion, and since I do plan on tak­ing the dogs out of the yard more, I began inves­ti­gat­ing flea and tick treat­ments recently.

The first thing I did was a Google search. I saw some good infor­ma­tion on the PetAr­mor web­site other the head­ing of “Flea and Tick 101.” Fleas cause sev­eral prob­lems, includ­ing ane­mia, and they can trans­mit tape­worms and cause allergy der­mati­tis. The site also goes over the four major species of ticks, and health prob­lems caused by them, includ­ing trans­mis­sion of Rocky Moun­tain spot­ted fever, canine tick paral­y­sis, and the spread­ing of Lyme disease.

How can you tell if your dog (or cat) is scratch­ing if he has fleas or for some other rea­son? You will need a fine-toothed metal “flea comb” and a white towel or sheet. You will also need to pre­pare a bowl of soapy water. Run the comb along your pet’s back or under­belly, mak­ing sure the comb touches the skin. If the comb pulls out any fleas, drown them imme­di­ately in the soapy water. Then, have your pet stand on a white towel or sheet, and brush or rub its coat. If you see any small black specks, they might be fleas or flea dirt (which can look like sand).

If you see no evi­dence of fleas but your pet has symp­toms that could indi­cate other health prob­lems, see your vet. If you do find fleas, don’t worry. You can eas­ily treat your dog. I’m not going to go into how you check for ticks, but the site cov­ers that too.

You can find flea and tick treat­ments online or at local stores that carry pet sup­plies. PetArmor’s site said the main ingre­di­ent was an insec­ti­cide called Fipronil. That is also the main ingre­di­ent in Front Line Plus, with the same con­cen­tra­tion (9.7%). With that in mind, I checked into prices for PetAr­mor and Front­line Top Spot, first at Walmart.com. I usu­ally go there ini­tially because it will tell me if some­thing is car­ried at my local store, and, if not, if they will ship it to the store, elim­i­nat­ing a ship­ping charge, which is often the case. I also usu­ally check Ama­zon to com­pare prices. In this case, Wal­mart dis­ap­pointed me. A three-month sup­ply of PetAr­mor for dogs under 22 pounds was $25, but it was only $15.97 at Ama­zon (I’m not sure what the ship­ping charge would be). Front­line Top Spot was $36.50 at Ama­zon and Wal­mart didn’t carry it, from what I could tell. From the reviews I read, Front­line usu­ally gets a slightly higher rat­ing, but PetAr­mor wasn’t very far behind.  That made my deci­sion, after doing the math. Even going with Walmart’s higher price, for four dogs I would pay $100. That’s bad enough. Through Ama­zon, Top Spot was $146, with­out ship­ping. With that sav­ings, I could buy ingre­di­ents for a cou­ple of months of Sadie Shih Tzu home­made dog food!

I did decide to exper­i­ment at first with two dogs, and I chose Nigel and Dot­tie. John fol­lowed the instruc­tions to apply the prod­uct. You open the appli­ca­tor and apply it to the dog’s hair between the shoul­der blades. Then, you have to make sure you don’t touch it until it dries. I was a lit­tle ner­vous, because I don’t like the idea of putting insec­ti­cides on dogs. I had read that dogs can have reac­tions to these prod­ucts, but we did it a few days ago, and Nigel and Dot­tie haven’t shown any prob­lem­atic signs.

What I read was that if Nigel or Dot­tie had fleas, the lit­tle nui­sances would get active as they began to die and move to the top of the pet’s coat, where they would be more vis­i­ble. Good news! I haven’t seen any! How­ever, if we had, we would know the prod­uct was working.

By the way, if your dog does have fleas, you will also need to treat your house and pos­si­bly your yard. This includes thor­oughly vac­u­um­ing car­pets, espe­cially uphol­stery, if your pet goes on your fur­ni­ture. You will either need to throw away the vac­uum cleaner bag or clean the dust cup with soap and water. It is also rec­om­mended that you wash your pet’s bed­ding in hot water or replace it. You might also need to cut down tall brush and grasses near the house or pet runs.

I know I haven’t cov­ered how to check for ticks, but you can find that infor­ma­tion at the site men­tioned above.

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Shih Tzu Week 34: Feb. 16 (Day 232) – 22 (Day 238)

Shih Tzu Day 233: Fri­day, Feb. 17

The chewing of Dentley's sticks is a familiar morning sound.The shih tzus are def­i­nitely look­ing shabby. Not that they care. It doesn’t seem to mat­ter what we do with Flower’s face. It seems like two days after trim­ming the hair above her eyes, it’s falling down again — she looks like Den­nis the Men­ace. After I gave the shih tzus their beloved Dentley’s wrapped rawhide sticks this morn­ing, Flower jumped up on the Nigel side of the couch to wait for me to sit down. How­ever, she dropped her stick, and it was a free for all, as Nigel raced to steal it and Flower to retrieve it. The chew­ing of the rawhide sticks is a famil­iar sound in the morn­ings. They are all chew­ing away now, except I think some­one took Candy’s. One moment some­one will be chew­ing away, and the next, a stick has mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­peared. Then, hours later, one of the shih tzus, usu­ally Nigel, is chew­ing away. I think he steals them and hides them for later.

Shih Tzu Day 234: Sat­ur­day, Feb. 18

I real­ized this after­noon how nice it is to leave the house with­out putting the coach cush­ions up, and not have a wet spot when I get back. Flower seems to be cured of her need to relieve her­self on the couch when I am gone — or when I am here. I think I could prob­a­bly start putting the cush­ions down on the other couch, but I am so used to hav­ing her sit on my couch that I hate to lose her to the other one. One inde­pen­dent dog­gie (Candy) is enough. What Flower does now instead is chew on any­thing she can reach. Well, I take that back. I know some dogs chew on shoes, but she doesn’t. I was doing taxes this morn­ing, and she grabbed an enve­lope I had on my lap­top table and started chew­ing on it. She loves chew­ing on paper, and she loves chew­ing on plas­tic. At last! We got Nigel, Flower, and Dot­tie trimmed, although they still do need a bath. Candy isn’t look­ing too shabby, so we skipped her for today. What a pro­duc­tive day! Get­ting taxes done and trim­ming three shih tzus! And they were all so good. I am par­tic­u­larly happy that Flower and Nigel were so good on the table, since it took a long time to get all that fur off. I don’t think I will con­sider try­ing to grow their fur long again any­time in the near future.

Shih Tzu Day 235: Sun­day, Feb. 19

Flower was sit­ting on the Nigel side this morn­ing, and John sat down. At one point, she would have ran. This time, she moved closer to me, but she did let John pet her for sev­eral min­utes. Poor Nigel doesn’t seem like he feels well. Every once in a while, he will yelp, but we can’t tell why. My guess is it could be his teeth, or maybe an ear prob­lem. I real­ized we didn’t pull the hair out of their ears yes­ter­day, so we need to check and see if that might be caus­ing the problem.

Shih Tzu Day 236: Mon­day, Feb. 20

We pulled the hair out of Nigel’s ears, and he seems bet­ter today, although he did yelp a few times for no appar­ent rea­son. He has been very active today, although he mainly wants to be on one of our laps. Flower fol­lowed the lead of Nigel and Candy and ran right up to the door when John came home, but then caught her­self, ran back by me, picked up a brown dog on the floor, threw it in the air, like Candy does, and then jumped on the couch next to me. Strange chil­dren we have. I guess she was excited, but wasn’t quite sure why. Of course, Dot­tie, our bump on a log, just sat on the couch. She doesn’t like to move much. I hope I can get her used to activ­ity when it warms back up.

Shih Tzu Day 237: Tues­day, Feb. 21

Flower came to get lov­ing from Dad twice this morn­ing. She got about a foot and a half away and stared at him. Then, she let him touch her chin and pet her ears. It’s prob­a­bly good that Mom is busy on the com­puter and Dot­tie is on one side and Nigel on the other. She has to reach out to the Man. He loves it, since he hated think­ing they wanted him to move out. I imag­ine I’ve said that I think my lit­tle shih tzu tribe is adorable. They are all so dif­fer­ent. We have begun call­ing Candy our shih tzu kitty, because she is aloof like many cats, and pounces like cats. Nigel can be so mis­chie­vous, and then he climbs his stairs and plops down as close to Mom as he can get, depend­ing on where the lap­top is. He can rarely squeeze into my lap when I am work­ing, but he does often put his head on it and go to sleep. There are prob­a­bly plenty of dogs who regret the inven­tion of lap­top com­put­ers. Thank good­ness he gets Dad’s lap when he is home, and that the girls aren’t lap dogs and don’t fight him for it. Every once in a while, he’ll tip his head way back and look at John or me. He’ll just stare for sev­eral sec­tions, and then lay his head back down. I would love to know what he is think­ing. I think Flower would be by my side all the time, if big sis­ter and lit­tle brother weren’t there. But, she does come to see me often. Just now, she put her paw on my arm, reached up and licked my lips and nose quickly, and then back away. Of course, John doesn’t encour­age let­ting them lick my mouth, but it hap­pens so rarely, that I think it’s adorable. I had to go to the store this after­noon, and Candy was out­side, so I knew that would be a prob­lem. We have never raised a hand to her, so her fear must still be a learned reac­tion to her puppy mill days. As usual, I opened the door to ask her to come in, and she ran and hid under the trailer. Since I put Angels Eyes on thinly sliced turkey for Dot­tie and Flower each day (for their tear stains), I thought I could lure her in with some. I held it out to her, and she ten­ta­tively came to the door, but wouldn’t come in. Finally, I just had to leave her out there, like I have had to do a few times. I told John we need to put her on a leash when we let her out­side, so we can reel her in, like his sis­ter does with their cat. It doesn’t help some­times, because I get exas­per­ated after unsuc­cess­fully try­ing to lure her in, and some­times my voice raises, which makes her retreat fur­ther. I just have to plan it bet­ter, where I let her out­side only if I know I won’t need to leave. When I came home, Candy came in, but it was Dottie’s turn to act odd. She went out­side and wouldn’t come back in, which is strange, since her couch is inside. I finally had to go out in the grass and get her. She cow­ered down, so I was able to pick her up. I hate when they act fright­ened. Some­times, too, they seem a lit­tle con­fused. I heard chew­ing com­ing from Shih Tzu Cen­tral this after­noon, and I looked around to see what paper or plas­tic prod­uct Flower stole from me. I was sur­prised to see she was chew­ing on a Christ­mas cane shaped rawhide treat. I won­der where that has been hid­ing for the last two months.

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