Shih Tzu Day 367: One Year Anniversary at Forever Home!

Dottie, Candy and Flower head off to Unleashed by Petco.This is Shih Tzu Day 367, the one-year anniversary of when Dottie, Candy, and Flower came to live with us (this year happened to have 29 days in February), on June 30, 2011.

Candy gets fitted with a harness at Unleashed by Petco.

I know I have to catch up on the last month, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to write about today. Since we have gotten all of the dogs at least semi used to walking on a leash, I decided it would be fun to take them out in public, particularly since there was an event that sounded fun.

I accidentally ran across an Unleashed by Petco a few weeks ago. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a “mini” Petco. I was further surprised to find out that one had opened up just a couple of miles from our home. As it turned out, it was having a grand opening this weekend.

Dottie enjoys a celebration treat.Candy waits her turn as Flower licks ice cream off John's hand.Why I thought it would be fun to take the shih tzus to it was because I got an email (because I have a PALS card) talking about the giveaways and discounts for the weekend, as well as an ice cream social, from 11 to 3 today. I had been trying to decide what to do for our anniversary, and I thought that sounded very celebratory. I didn’t know if they would be too nervous to eat ice cream there, but it sounded worth trying. Also, I like the harness I had fitted for Flower at Petco last week, so I wanted to get one for her shih tzu sisters.

It wasn’t too difficult to get them all in the back seat of the car, especially since we went through the same drill earlier in the week to take Flower, Candy and Dottie in for shots, with Nigel tagging along. Dottie was shaking, but the other shih tzus were pretty calm.

Candy and an anniversary treat.We got to Unleashed at 1, and I immediately asked someone if they could help us fit Dottie and Candy with harnesses. The woman I asked sent Patrice over to help us, and I told her that Flower had a medium, but she was a couple pounds smaller and might need a small. Patrice was going to try both sizes on Candy, but she was puzzled at how to get it on her. I have to admit that it took me a

Nigel investigates the doggy ice cream.

while to figure it out too, and I had been putting one on Flower for days. I was holding onto Flower and Nigel, so I couldn’t show her. With John’s help, we eventually decided she needed a medium too, and, even though Dottie is five pounds heavier, she took the same size.

That process was a little hectic. Dottie sat by Patrice throughout the fittings, but there were lots of people and dogs there, and Nigel kept trying to go make friends with other dogs. I had to keep pulling him back, until Ted, another Petco associate, came up and played with him.

I had intended on taking pictures, but my plan went awry. I didn’t know my battery was nearly dead on my Nikon and my iPhone battery was nearly dead from listening to Pandora on a bike ride earlier with John. I still managed to get several pictures taken before the batteries died.

Once we had accomplished the harness fitting, I asked where the ice cream was. It was disappointing to learn that although we had arrived at 1, they had already run out of ice cream. My mind was set on it, so I ended up buying some (SweetSpots peanut butter and honey) to take home.

I also talked to a Natural Balance representative about trying yet another kibble type, since the shih tzus don’t seem too jazzed about any of the kinds I’ve been given them. I ended up buying Alpha Dog, with lamb, chicken meal and rabbit. They also gave me some other samples to try.

Flower was the biggest problem child. She was pretty good when we were working on the harnesses, but later, when I went by the front door, she tried to exit. She didn’t care if it was with or without me. I think she’s going into her rebellious shih tzu teen years!

Although there was no free ice cream, we did get two pounds of free dog treats from the treat bar on the way out (Nigel is our only shih tzu that really likes biscuit-type dog treats). We also got two $5 coupons to spend when we came in, and there were two more in the bags we got. I’ll use one to get Nigel a harness later.

Our outing was a little nerve-wracking, but we got through it. When we got home, I had John slice up some chicken for me so I could make them chicken and apple and chicken and sweet potato treats. Once I had everything in the dehydrator, we put a variety of treats on a tray, including the doggie ice cream, and took them outside for their own exclusive ice cream social. Flower and Nigel loved the ice cream, although Dottie didn’t seem to care for it, and Candy would only eat it if I put it on my finger and had her lick it off. Candy preferred the chicken jerky I put out and Dottie the rawhide that I wrap fresh chicken around and dehydrate. It wasn’t the party I planned, but I don’t think they have any complaints.

I know Flower, Candy, and Dottie don’t understand what this anniversary means, but it has been a time for us to look back and reflect. We had some main goals this past year, including getting them used to me, getting them used to John, getting them used to guests, getting them to ride in a car without fear, getting them to walk on a leash, getting them to like going for walks, and getting them house trained.

We aren’t completely there, but I think we have made leaps and bounds. Flower can’t wait to go on walks. Candy and Dottie will go, but they don’t love it yet. Dottie still shakes in the car, but Flower and Candy don’t. Flower, in fact, jumped in the front to ride with me the last two times she went for a car ride. She also got through a vet visit without pooping on me or the vet. They all wag their tails when I or John comes home, and they will take treats from guests, although visitors aren’t their favorite pastime.

Yes, we are very happy with the progress we’ve made, and we can’t wait to see what progress we make in the coming year. Happy anniversary, Dottie, Candy, and Flower! We love you!

Oh, and we want to thank everyone who is cheering us on and sharing the journey with us!





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