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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