Shih Tzu Day 129: Continued Grooming Improvement

two shih tzus sitting on a porch.

gen­tle shih tzu groom­ing moments

We did some dog groom­ing on the shih tzus today. No clip­pers since we are let­ting their fur grow. Plus, John prefers hand trim­ming their faces, pri­vate parts and paw pads. I am amazed at how good Flower was, com­pared to the old days. She even lay down while we did her paws! I doubt if she was very relaxed, but for some rea­son, she did it.

A sister laying down on a grooming table. Dot­tie was the worst; she fought every­thing we tried to do. Nigel was bet­ter. John worked on him by him­self while I was work­ing. I know Lia at the Gen­tle Groomer says dogs get ner­vous when more than one pair of hands hold them, and that we shouldn’t let the shih tzus touch us, because that is a reward, but, as John says, what­ever works. We could prob­a­bly be more stern with them, but we are addi­tion­ally using the groom­ing as an oppor­tu­nity to pet the shih tzus, mas­sage them and have some togeth­er­ness. That is espe­cially impor­tant for John, since they are so stand­off­ish with him.

We made sure they got a treat after­wards, to try to get them to asso­ciate groom­ing with good things!

fun shih tzu moment

Nigel can be so funny. This after­noon, I heard paws scur­ry­ing and looked up. He came from the kitchen run­ning as fast as he could, crossed the liv­ing room floor to his dog bed, and darted back towards the kitchen. I asked John if he knew what he was doing. He said the back door was open and he was prob­a­bly smug­gling stolen dog bones outside.

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Shih Tzu Day 102: Day in the Life of an Animal Rescue

shih tzu beforeanimal rescueSheltie Shack ani­mal rescue

I shared “before” pic­tures of Dot­tie, Candy and Flower the other day, from when Linda at the Sheltie Shack ani­mal res­cue picked them up at the Kansas puppy mill. How­ever, since then, Linda sent me pic­tures of how they looked after a groomer in Kansas cleaned them up shortly after their rescue.

Linda also shared pic­tures of the other three shih tzus that were res­cued the day Dot­tie, Candy and Flower were res­cued, two which came from the same ken­nel. I don’t know what hap­pened to Lit­tle Daisey Flower and Danielle Marie, but I hope they went to good homes. I also hope the shel­ties — Tiny Min­nie, Sassy Lucille, Christi Rose, Jen­nifer Leigh and Smokey Girl —found good homes.

Linda told me that her ani­mal res­cue actu­ally took in six shih tzus that day. The story about Wendy shows that ani­mal res­cues serve dif­fer­ent pur­poses. Wendy came from another breeder. This breeder, who had less than 20 breeder dogs, social­ized and made pets out of all of her dogs. When she decided she was going to board pets and not breed them any­more, Linda helped her place her last shel­ties, and they became friends.

The woman was also a dog trainer. Wendy came to the Sheltie Shack house trained and ready for an adop­tive fam­ily. Linda recalled that Wendy’s biggest vice was that she was a very good climber.

I thought I would share this sto­ries and the pic­tures to por­tray an accu­rate pic­ture of the day my girls started their jour­ney to a new home. Although I have already posted the before pic­tures of Dot­tie, Candy and Flower, I’m post­ing them again to show the dif­fer­ence from before they were res­cued and shortly after.




Shelties on the way to a new home.

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Shih Tzu Day 96: Couch Potatoes

Nice Morn­ing

It has been so nice in the morn­ing. The girls didn’t start bark­ing until 6:30. When I went down­stairs I left Nigel with John, to give Dot­tie, Candy and Flower a lit­tle time alone with me. After I fed the dogs, we put Flower up on the groom­ing table to work on her tear stains a lit­tle more. We trimmed some of the stained hair, espe­cially close to her eyes.

Nigel and the Girls

black and white shih tzuNigel is a funny, lit­tle thing. Last night, he ran around the yard with Flower a few times. He was a lot slower, most likely because of his stitches. If he had gone faster, I would have had to try to slow him down.

Today, he came up to the couch sev­eral times and puts his paws on it, but then just stood there. His paws seem big for his lit­tle body. They are very cute. When I put my hand down to pet him, he bites it. Not hard bites — just small, play bites.

two shih tzusThis morn­ing, he strolled over to Shih Tzu Cen­tral and inspected their large dog bed, but didn’t try to get on it. That’s good, because the girls prob­a­bly aren’t ready to get that close to him yet. It reminded me that I need to get him his own bed. I did fold up some blan­kets for him to use for now.

two shih tzustwo shih tzusWhile he was lay­ing on them, Flower approached him. I don’t think he knew what to do, so he got off and went to stand under my com­puter stand. I think Flower might want to play with him, but I am not sure she knows how. She is only used to her sisters.

two shih tzusI was a lit­tle con­cerned about Candy, because she seemed a lit­tle with­drawn when Nigel arrived. She was spend­ing a lot of time in their cor­ner. How­ever, this morn­ing she came out and started prowl­ing around, watch­ing Nigel and Flower as they gnawed on bones.

I am strug­gling to get the girls to want to play out­side. When­ever I open the door, they run to it, but then look at me expec­tantly, hop­ing for food or a treat. I guess that’s my fault.

I went out­side with them at 11:30. Walks are out of the ques­tion since we haven’t got­ten very far with the leash, so I ran up and down the length of the yard. Flower ran behind me. Once in a while she would get dis­tracted, but then she would come back and catch up.

While we were doing that, Nigel wan­dered over by the shed, away from the girls club. He chewed on one of the bones he has dragged out­side. Candy and Dot­tie mainly sat in the dirt or on the porch.

Couch Pota­toes

Nigel keeps com­ing up to the couch, so I decided to give him some type of step, since he can’t get up on his own. I found a cute box filled with games for the grand­chil­dren and put it next to the couch, on the John side, not the Dot­tie side. He quickly learned its purpose.

He sat on that side for a while, and then walked across my lap to go lay next to Dot­tie. She doesn’t appear too thrilled to have another dog try­ing to enter her space. She moved up to the arm of the couch to keep a lit­tle distance.

Candy and Flower roamed around together later in the after­noon. Nigel was on the floor chew­ing on some­thing. They came near him, but not too close. Nigel got up and went and nuz­zled Flower’s face. She backed away quickly. I don’t think they are quite sure what to think of him.

Flower hasn’t come up on the couch all day. I know Dot­tie keeps her away some­times, but I think the Nigel fac­tor con­tributes to her dis­tance now too. Candy did walk back and forth in front of the couch, though, look­ing a lit­tle inter­ested. How­ever, Dot­tie stared her down and then Flower pounced on her, break­ing her concentration.

Nigel aka Elvis was mak­ing it hard for me to work for a while this after­noon. He crawled into my lap, which made it dif­fi­cult for me to reach the lap­top key­board. I let him stay there for a while, then put him back down beside me. I guess I am lucky that the girls aren’t lap dogs. I would never get any work done, unless I aban­doned my home office and got a real office job!

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Shih Tzu Day 94: Watch Nigel

Just Watch Nigel

two shih tzus snugglingJohn and I left the girls and Nigel alone for a few hours this morn­ing, so we could take a bike ride and then eat lunch at Noo­dles. When we got back, we decided to try and take Nigel and Candy for a walk. I had to hold him back, because he wanted to run, which might not be good for his stitches. Candy kept stop­ping. She still doesn’t under­stand­ing this walk­ing thing. I just hope she will see Nigel do it and even­tu­ally real­ize it is sup­posed to be fun. I could tell she was stressed. She wouldn’t take any award treats while we were on the walk, but when we got back, I held out a hot dog piece to her and she attacked it hungrily.

We also decided to do a lit­tle groom­ing, and chose Nigel and Flower. Both behaved well. Flower just stares at Mom when John clips her, as if to say, “You’ll pro­tect me, right?” We are try­ing to get the tear stains off her face and fig­ure out if it is aller­gies or some type of eye prob­lem caus­ing them. We are using two dif­fer­ent kinds of mois­tur­ized pads on her face.

black and white shih tzuNigel doesn’t like tak­ing his pain pills. We tried putting them in cheese, but he ate the cheese and then spit the pill out. He did the same with a hot dog piece, even though John tried to put it in his mouth and mas­sage his throat. Bologna finally worked.

Nigel con­tin­ues to do things that I have always read dogs do, but that I never see. For instance, some ice fell on the floor when I was fill­ing my glass, and he ran to get it and gnawed on it. My guess is that he might like other crunchy things, like apples and car­rots. I will have to try that.

A Rum­ble at Shih Tzu Central

A dog squab­ble at Shih Tzu Cen­tral caught my atten­tion this after­noon. I heard Nigel’s deep, raspy bark, which could be caused by his pneu­mo­nia, and then yip­ping and yap­ping from Flower or Candy. My guess is that Nigel might have been steal­ing bones again, which he loves to do, or play fight­ing with Candy. John says if they were chil­dren, he would be pulling their pig­tails or steal­ing their lunch money.

I can’t tell if Candy likes to play with him or not, but I don’t think Flower does. After the com­mo­tion, Candy and Flower flew out of their cor­ner and went to hide under the table from the lit­tle ter­ror. None of them look hurt. John says its just a dom­i­nance bound­ary scuf­fle. What I don’t want is for Nigel to dom­i­nate them in their own home.

Mon­key Boy

As for John and I, we can’t help but like our lit­tle fos­ter dog. Nigel is so darned cud­dly and cute, always jump­ing up into our laps and fol­low­ing us around. We already have sev­eral nick­names for him besides Elvis and James Brown, includ­ing Mon­key Boy and Spi­der Mon­key. John calls him Baby Boy.

We have been try­ing to think of a way to keep him in the fam­ily. The prob­lem is that I don’t know any­one in the fam­ily that would qual­ify to adopt him. John’s sis­ter Lynda has a nice home, but not another small dog, and Delores thinks Nigel needs canine com­pan­ion­ship. Mom’s house wouldn’t pass inspec­tion, and the kids live in apart­ments, with­out a secure, fenced yard; plus, none of them have a small dog. So, Nigel’s future is up in the air.

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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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