Shih Tzu Day 92: And Then There Was Nigel

Spot Collins

a tabby next to a shih tzu on a dog bedThe girls still don’t quite know what to think of Spot Collins. He makes reg­u­lar trips to Shih Tzu Cen­tral, to drink from the girls’ water bowl and to try out the dog beds. He seems to pre­fer lying next to Flower, although she doesn’t seem as happy with the arrangement.

groom­ing practice

a shih tzu sitting on her sisterDelores at BFF Res­cue called me today and asked if I would have time to help her groom some new dogs she got in that will soon be going to fos­ter homes. Bar­bara, her daughter-in-law, usu­ally helps her, but she was out of town and I had told Delores about my groom­ing class. If John had been avail­able, I would have asked him to come with me, since he does the most groom­ing, but he was work­ing, so I agreed to help out.

maltese-poodle mix on couch

When I got there, Delores was con­duct­ing a nec­es­sary pro­ce­dure: using flea and tick sham­poo on one of the dogs that looked like he might have had a prob­lem recently. My York­shire ter­rier never had that prob­lem, so I wasn’t sure how to tell if it looked like fleas or ticks were present. Delores pointed out to me small dark spots on one of the dogs. She said if they weren’t mov­ing, the prob­lem had been fully taken care of by the treat­ment they received before she took them into her care. That seemed to be the case, but to be safe, I helped her wash another dog with the sham­poo as well.

Once we dried them off, I went to work clip­ping a maltese-poodle mix and then a type of ter­rier. They both han­dled it bet­ter than our dogs. The poo­dle lay down on its side and went to sleep while I was clip­ping him. I plan on try­ing that on the girls, since I just read that was a good way to groom in some instances, since you need to teach fear­ful dogs how to be calm and relaxed on the groom­ing table.

intro­duc­tion to Nigel

black and white shih tzu on couchWhile I was there, I met Nigel, the shih tzu Delores asked us to fos­ter. He is about a year and a half and only 10 pounds, which is a pound and a half lighter than Candy. He seems smaller though. Nigel is what is referred to as an owner release. He was dropped off at a shel­ter in Kansas City, Mis­souri, where they dis­cov­ered he had a seri­ous cause of pneu­mo­nia. I imag­ine the fam­ily wasn’t able to afford the vet­eri­nary care he needed.

Shih tzu face offThat shel­ter treated him before send­ing him on to BFF Res­cue. As is the usual case, BFF took him to Clear Creek Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal, where Doc­tor Lind­sey exam­ined him prior to his needed ster­il­iza­tion pro­ce­dure. Dur­ing the exam, she dis­cov­ered that he had a large her­nia that would need surgery as well. She per­formed both surg­eries yes­ter­day, and pre­scribed antibi­otics and pain med­i­cine for ten days. Delores and I had arranged that I would get him Fri­day, but since I was already there, I said I would just take him home with me.

I would describe Nigel as a scrawny lit­tle dog, prob­a­bly because he has been sick for a while. His face is so black that it is hard to see his eyes. It wasn’t the color as much as the wild­ness of his fur around his face that made me think of James Brown. The white fur around his neck is quite a con­trast to his black face. His paws look huge com­pared to his tiny legs.


tabby cat and shih tzu on couchI wasn’t sure what the girls would think about Nigel. When we walked in the door, they didn’t get excited, but they also didn’t seem dis­turbed by his pres­ence. They just watched him. He toured the house, includ­ing Shih Tzu Cen­tral. A lit­tle later, he vis­ited their cor­ner again, this time to begin steal­ing bones and mainly unused toys from them. We will have to get him his own dog bones and toys, as well as a dog bed. He didn’t come with one, like Flower, Candy and Dot­tie did.

wel­come committee


shih tzu waiting for treatNigel grav­i­tated towards Spot Collins, maybe because they are the “out­siders.” When they heard John’s truck in the dri­ve­way, the girls started bark­ing as usual. Candy ran to the door, wag­ging her butt. Spot Collins fol­lowed, with Nigel right behind him, wag­ging his tail.

John was happy about his wel­come com­mit­tee. He has been so patient with the girls, even though they still shy away from him — espe­cially Flower and Dot­tie — three months after get­ting here. It was nice for a dog to instantly respond well to him, since he is such a dog per­son and so good to all animals.

When the dogs fol­lowed us out­side for their nightly treat from the Treat Man, Nigel for­got his man­ners and maneu­vered his way quickly to the begin­ning of the line for pos­si­bly his first taste of Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky.

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Shih Tzu Day 22: The Spare Dog

What Are We Doing With Three Shih Tzus and a Spare Dog?

Our first night with Shiloh went okay. The ter­rier seemed to go to sleep shortly after lying down on our bed and I didn’t feel him stir­ring in the night.

Flower demonstrates the ability to fit the whole chicken jerky in her mouthWhen the girls rushed up the stairs to get me this morn­ing, I stayed in bed for a while, so they came back down. When I came down­stairs, Shiloh couldn’t con­trol him­self when they started danc­ing. He decided to join the fray, but his fran­tic car­ry­ing on was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. His nails are sharper, so I told him to get down because he was scratch­ing my legs. I’m sure he didn’t know what that meant.

I decided to feed all four dogs out­side, but I kept Shiloh to one side of the porch and the shih tzus to the other. From where I sat, it appeared that Shiloh gulped his break­fast mix down in one gulp and then decided to try one of the other dogs’ food. I stopped him, though. I made another men­tal note about the dif­fer­ences between boy and girl dogs, or ter­ri­ers and shih tzus. I wasn’t sure what made the difference.

I had an appoint­ment with the Apple Store to talk about issues with my Mac­Book, so I put Shiloh in his ken­nel, not want­ing to take any chances. When I got back, I called John and told him all the rea­sons I thought I should tell Delores we just couldn’t keep him here. He agreed it would be best if some­one else fos­tered him until BFF Res­cue could find him a per­ma­nent home.

Later, Delores called to ask how it was going between Shiloh and the girls. I told her I had some con­cerns regard­ing him and Flower. I also told her I wasn’t used to boy dogs and he had a lit­tle more energy than I was used to, etc., etc. She said she hoped that some­one would be able to take him in as a fos­ter dog soon, and that if they had to, they could take him back to the clinic. Although I had decided to ask her if I could give him back, instead I told her we would try a lit­tle longer and I would let her know if we had any prob­lems and had to have her find another solution.

Shiloh ended up spend­ing much of the day in his ken­nel, how­ever, on his own accord. I felt guilty for think­ing he was a prob­lem. I knew it was going to be hec­tic over the week­end, because my niece and her boyfriend were com­ing to spend the week­end, but I thought about the sac­ri­fices other peo­ple con­stantly make, and I decided we could at least put up with one extra small dog for a few more days.

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Shih Tzu Day 21 Highlight: Forever Home!

Dot­tie, Candy and Flower Freeze Have a For­ever Home

Candy is oblivious that she was just adoptedI have known for a week that Delores and I would be dis­cussing some­thing very impor­tant today: adop­tion. She brought over the paper­work for me to sign after the visit to the vet.

Although it was a very momen­tous occa­sion to me, and the shih tzus — ! — things were a lit­tle too hec­tic at the house when I signed the papers to be able to pause and cel­e­brate the moment.

Shiloh Explores While Candy and Flower Bathe

Dottie would be happy to know she has found a forever homeFirst, when we got home, we let Shiloh out of the ken­nel, and she started roam­ing around the house. While she explored, Delores and I took Candy and Flower into the kitchen to give them a bath, block­ing their exit with a baby gate. I couldn’t catch Flower right away, so we bathed Candy first. She was ner­vous, but she, like Dot­tie, she did fine. I was sur­prised that Flower did too. Both were very docile while wrapped in the towel for drying.

As soon as I let Candy go, she took the first oppor­tu­nity to go and roll in the dirt in the garden.

Did I hear someone say I've been adopted?Although Dot­tie and Candy mainly acted as if Shiloh wasn’t there, Flower looked at the intru­sion dif­fer­ently. I was con­cerned when it looked fisticuffs was inevitable, but Delores thought they were just play­ing. I’m still not sure about that.

In the mean­time, Peek-a-boo found a way to get up on the table, and decided to lounge there. Miss Muf­fett made her­self at home on the couch. With so many canines in the house, I fee­bly asked her to get down, but then gave up.

Adop­tion Day

When Delores asked if I was ready to sign the papers, trans­fer­ring the shih tzus from BFF Res­cue to us, I real­ized that I was. It was a big step — a lot big­ger than being fos­ter par­ents — but it was a step I was ready to take. I love these lit­tle ewok princesses!

As I looked over the paper­work she had brought with her, I noted their names: Dot­tie Rose Ann, sired by Ringo Boy Stein, and the dam, Kiyanne Rose Stein, on 9/17/2005; Frosty Iris Candy, also sired by Ringo Boy Stein, with dam Saki Grace Stein, on 4/30/2009; and Golden Flower, sired by Ringo Boy Stein (busy, busy boy!) and dam Sasa Nicole Stein.

I was happy! I was now the For­ever Mom of three pre­cious, although slightly dys­func­tional, lit­tle girls!

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Shih Tzu Day 21: Bath and Vet Time

Dot­tie gets a bath

I made the momen­tous deci­sion this morn­ing to give Dot­tie a bath. Don’t ask me why I waited this long.

Dottie wet after bath

shih tzu after a bath

The eldest shih tzu did okay with a lit­tle groom­ing when Bar­bara, her for­mer fos­ter mother, was here, but I was still con­cerned that she would be afraid of a bath.

I was going to bathe her in the bath­tub, but John thought the sink might work better.


She did bet­ter than I thought she would, although the blow dryer scared her. She kept gasp­ing for breath and blow­ing bub­bles out of her nose, which she does when she is afraid, so I finally decided to let her air dry.

Flower & Candy Visit the Vet

Delores from BFF Res­cue emailed me today that she would pick up me, Flower and Dot­tie at one o’clock to go to the vet. Oops. I had my days off. I thought vet day was tomorrow.

We talked last week about con­cerns I had regard­ing Flower and Candy that I wanted to dis­cuss with the vet. Candy never seems to have the energy her sis­ters have, plus she seems to tire eas­ily. When her sis­ters come inside, she likes to stay out­side and lie on the paving stones or in the dirt in the gar­den. I’m always afraid she’ll get too much heat. When I see her, look­ing so quiet and a lit­tle frail, I think of the youngest sis­ter on Lit­tle Women who became sick and died. I can’t help it!

In the morn­ing, although she often runs up the stairs with Dot­tie and Flower now, and although she romps play­fully with them, bit­ing at my hand, she backs away before the other two and goes back to her safe area. Delores said that when she was res­cued from the puppy mill, the vet­eri­nary clinic in Kansas noted that she had an umbil­i­cal her­nia. I was afraid it was some­thing that was both­er­ing her. We have been seri­ously talk­ing about the pet adop­tion process, so Delores wanted the vet to check the shih tzus while they were still fos­ter dogs, so that Best Friends For­ever Res­cue would take care of any vet charges.

Another thing I wanted to ask the vet about was Flower’s left eye. It seems a lit­tle big­ger and darker to me than her right eye, and some­times when I look at her, it has a “glass eye” look. It’s fine if it’s cos­metic — she is such a cutie, with those May­belline lashes — but I want to ask the vet if it is any­thing serious.

shih tzu waiting for adoption

Delores brought the shih tzus some canine vis­i­tors: Peek­a­boo, the Pekingese I had met at Barbara’s while vis­it­ing the girls, and a poo­dle named Miss Muf­fet, who was going to get a chip implanted by the vet. They were wear­ing very cute “Adopt Me” har­nesses for their vet visit. They wan­dered in and made them­selves at home instantly. Peek­a­boo quickly fig­ured out how to get up on the din­ing room table, climb­ing onto a chair that was pushed out and then jump­ing onto the table, where she promptly lay down. Miss Muf­fet started to fol­low her lead, but I was afraid our lit­tle ewoks would get an idea, so I got them down and pushed in the chair.

Peekaboo, a Pekingese, wearing her adopt me harness

Flower and Candy rode in a ken­nel on the way to the vet, Clear Creek Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal. Flower got so fright­ened on the way to the clinic that she pooped in the ken­nel. Once we got to the vet, I talked to the shih tzus in their ken­nel in the lobby to try to soothe them. When we went into the assigned room, Miss Muf­fet and Peek­a­boo wan­dered around, exam­in­ing every­thing, while my lit­tle shih tzu princesses hud­dled, fright­ened, in their kennel.

Candy was the first one out of the ken­nel when we opened the door, so Dr. Lind­sey exam­ined her first. Although Candy was fright­ened, she let the vet weigh her (11.5 pounds) and then exam­ine her. The vet said that the her­nia had healed over (I can’t remem­ber the med­ical term!). She didn’t find any­thing else wrong with her, so her tem­pera­ment must just be dif­fer­ent than the other two shih tzus.

Flower did okay at first. She sat in the scale (13.5 pounds) and let Dr. Anna look at her eyes. The vet assured us that she didn’t see any­thing wrong, but that it was good to watch their eyes. How­ever, when the vet touched Flower with the stetho­scope, the shih tzu freaked out and tried to jump off the table. I caught her — barely. That was the end of Flower’s vet examination.

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Shih Tzu Day 1: A New Foster Home

We aren't moving out of this corner!Delores stopped by this morn­ing to make sure the improve­ments were made in the back­yard to keep the shih tzus safe. We passed our BFF Res­cue inspec­tion. She came back about an hour and a half later, with Bar­bara and the shih tzus. We were all pleas­antly sur­prised that Flower sur­veyed her new Super­yard with­out appear­ing fright­ened. Instead, she danced around, tail wag­ging, jump­ing over Candy, who was the qui­etest one. Delores tried groom­ing her face yes­ter­day, so she might not be that happy. Dot­tie roamed around the house a lit­tle. When we opened the door to go out­side, they all fol­lowed us, and cir­cled their out­door exer­cise pen sev­eral times.

If she tries to talk to us, pretend you can't hear her.

It reminded me of scenes from Toy Story when Bar­bara and Delores left about 45 min­utes later. Dot­tie, Candy and Flower all went back to the far end of their pen and hud­dled together, as if they had never come alive.

I went to the store this after­noon to get them some chicken jerky and a water bowl. Bar­bara gave them Wag­gin’ Train they bought in large bags at Sam’s Club, but they didn’t have it at Costco, so I bought what they had. I also got a  very cute ceramic bowl from the Dol­lar Tree that said “Lap Dogs” and “Feed Me” and pic­tured tra­di­tional lap dogs. Although shih tzus top the list of pop­u­lar lap dogs, I have no idea if these lit­tle furry fel­lows will ever sit on our laps.

When I got back from shop­ping, I opened the back door and Dot­tie and Candy went out­side, but Flower wouldn’t move. I tried to give them some jerky, but none of them would take it from me. I put a few pieces on the ground, though, and some­one ate one of them. After that, Flower left the pen, strayed a few feet and then came back. Maybe she was just look­ing for a way to escape, or maybe she was look­ing for Bar­bara. I tried to utter the magic words, “Silly girls,” which Delores says makes them dance. It didn’t work.

I hoped to have bet­ter luck get­ting the girls to eat at din­ner­time. I had recently read that most dogs like ham­burger, mashed pota­toes and green beans (Joey did, but she liked most food!), so I planned to treat them with a good, home-cooked meal after John got home.

The furry crit­ters didn’t seem too fright­ened when he walked in the door. When John started cook­ing, I hoped the deli­cious smells would lure them out of their pen, but it didn’t hap­pen. Instead, I fixed them petite plates and served it to them in their play yard. Flower was the first one to eat the ham­burger, fol­lowed by Candy. How­ever, they left the pota­toes and green beans mostly untouched. Dot­tie wasn’t eat­ing at all, so I took her out of the pen, hop­ing she might eat in a dif­fer­ent loca­tion. It didn’t work.

Their stress doesn’t pre­vent them from sleep­ing, how­ever.  They appear to be sound asleep right now.

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