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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