Shih Tzu Week 123: Halloween and a Special Birthday

Oct. 31 – Nov. 6

Halloween 

This Halloween is a little different than last year. That’s because we continue to have house visitors. When I got up this morning, Panda had climbed into a basket in Mom’s room. John calls whatever basket he or Spot is in their “high-rise hotel” or “loft.”  I have been trying to spend as much time as I can with Mom, since she will be leaving soon to go to Florida. We watched “Grey Gardens” Halloween afternoon. I thought she would like it because of all the cats, but the situation was a little too close to home — that is, Mom’s old home.

I dressed the shih tzus up and took them for their traditional Halloween walk behind Wal-Mart. Other than that, it was a very quiet Halloween. The neighbors did bring their baby over for his first “trick or treat.”

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Friday, Nov. 1

Mom and I went to the bank and then to her house to see what else we might need. She wanted her skillet in which she made Buddy’s salmon cakes, but I couldn’t find it. I might have thrown it away because of hard water deposits.

I have been leaving the door to the basement open so Mom’s cats could get to their dry food, but Nigel knows it’s there now, so he tries to sneak down and eat it.

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Sunday, Nov. 3

Mother’s cat, Emily, doesn’t seem to be feeling well. We aren’t sure how old she is, but we think she could be 17 or 18 years old. She has been very thin for a long time, and when she was at Mom’s home in Commerce City, she used to cough a lot. Lately, she just lies down next to the water bowl, with her head against it. I felt so bad for her today that I put a stuffed animal under her head. She put her head on it as soon as I did.

I guess she was too weak to go downstairs to her litter box, so she wandered over to the training pad and peed on it. Too bad she isn’t well enough to teach whichever of our shih tzus still pees on the floor how to use the pee pad properly!

Monday, Nov. 4

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Emily died this morning. Although Mom was very sad, she was relieved that Emily died now, instead of possibly dying on the road trip on the way to Florida. Mom also said that she was happy that Buddy “follows her close so he can pick up the pieces.” Poor Mom. She has gone through a lot lately. I am very glad she has Buddy. She did admit, however, that, “what made me sad made Buddy glad.” That’s because Buddy never seems happy to share Mom with Emily, or the other cats. He tends to growl when they get too close to her. We had become fond of Emily, so John and I shed a few tears for her too.

I am happy to say that Mom still has her sense of humor. Mom spotted some urine on the hard wood floor and decided she was going to pick it up. She got down on her knees with a paper towel before I could stop her. Then, she started laughing when she had trouble getting back up. “Oh, oh,” she started laughing, and you guessed it, said, “Help. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

When Mom gets melancholy, which is quite often, she repeats a phrase from one of her past coworkers at Burger King: “What we gonna do, Buddy? What we gonna do?” I sure hope she can find a way to be happy when she gets to Florida.

Wednesday, Nov. 6

This will be the first time I spent Mom’s entire birthday with her since, hmmm, probably when I was a child. I gave her a photo album of pictures I put together from her time with us, mainly of her furry babies, but I included some of our furry kids, so she could remember them.

I think she really liked all the pictures. Spot Collins and Panda were the main stars, but we did get some sweet pictures of Emily before she died, and of course I included some of Buddy and Mom.

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Shih Tzu Day 124: Halloween for the Shih Tzus

bad start for Halloween

a shih tzu keeping an eye on a squirrel.a squirrel running along a fence.

 

 

 

 

Halloween for the shih tzus began with one of them throwing up yellow bile. It was one of the female shih tzus, because I found it when we came downstairs. I smelled all of their breath to see which shih tzu it was, and Flower had the bad breath. John said that didn’t necessarily mean that she threw up, since she could have eaten someone else’s. Gross, but I know it could happen. I don’t think that is the case, though, or else two shih tzus would have bad breath. None of the dogs acted sick, so I don’t know what caused the problem.

morning shih tzu squirrel notification

two shih tzus in black and white clothes. a shih tzu at the door wearing skull sweater

 

 

 

 

a shih tzu in polka dots and one in skull sweater. a shih tzu wearing a black and white polka dot dress with hood.

 

 

 

 

two shih tzu sisters wearing black and white polka dot dresses.a shih tzu and a trick or treater.

 

 

 

 

Candy spent a lot of time outside this morning prowling the perimeter again, looking for squirrels. Every once in a while, she would bark and summon the troops outside. What’s funny is that the dogs can’t always see the squirrel very well, so he will be running one way and the shih tzus will be running the other in search of him. Nigel doesn’t always join in on the squirrel hunt. Sometimes he lets the girl shih tzus do the chasing and he lays in the grass chewing on a bone.

shih tzu door greeter 

I took Nigel to PetSmart and Petco. I dressed him in his black sweater with the skull on it for Halloween. He was very excited to get to go in the car. He did very well, until he saw a big dog in Petco and his dog aggression came out. He started barking, growling and straining at the leash, so I had to pick him up and carry him until the dog was in another part of the store.

two shih tzus that look like werewolves. three blurry shih tzus with weird eyes.

 

 

 

 

When I came home, I dressed up the girls. They didn’t have costumes, but I dressed them all in black and white. Dottie and Flower wore matching polka dot dresses. I had returned Candy’s black and white houndstooth dress that was too small, but I finally found a medium, so I dressed her up in that. I definitely spend too much time looking at dog clothes at Ross! It took me a while to catch Candy to put her dress on her, since she kept running under the dining room table.

I knew that no one but John and me would see the girls, but I still thought it was fun. As I thought, Nigel was the door greeter, once the trick-or-treaters started arriving. He ran to the door every time the doorbell rang. When the doorbell wasn’t ringing, he ran to to the door anyway, waiting for the next group of children to come along. Again, the only problem we had was when a group came up that included a big dog, who waited in the driveway. Nigel showed his dog aggression again, so I’m sure the parents were glad to be off to the next house. Well, the good news is that Nigel is great with children and small dogs, so that is still better adjusted than Joey was and the shih tzu sisters are.

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Shih Tzu Day 123: Four-Month Anniversary

four months with the shih tzu sisters

a black and white shih tzu in a black and white dog bed with red and white treat.I am almost a month behind on my blog. I hate to admit that, but we just celebrated Thanksgiving and I haven’t even covered Halloween! Please bear with us as we try to catch up! To set the stage, it is October 30, Sunday morning, and this is our four-month anniversary with the shih tzu sisters. I don’t think Dottie came upstairs until 7:15, which is a wonderful change from the 4:00 wakeup call I got from her when she first came to live with us.

I ran out of food for the shih tzus, so I gave them leftover chicken, rice and cream of mushroom soup for breakfast. As my friend Deb would say, it was like “doggy crack.” Flower finished hers quickly and rushed over to eat Candy’s, grabbing up a big blob before I hollered and got her to drop the stolen goods. Inside, Nigel ate his with one or two bites.

treats in a dog bed. Later, I had to rush outside and get Nigel, because he wanted to play with the girls and they didn’t, so they were yipping. I know that neighbors don’t like yipping dogs, and I live in fear of an ominous letter stating that the shih tzus are waking people up. I was barefoot, the grass was wet, and who knew where the smelly, brown land mines had been planted this morning, but I hurried out before throwing on shoes. I am still trying to teach him that when a lady says no, it’s not maybe, but NO.

While John made pancakes later, Dottie rested beside me. Flower slept in a dog bed and Candy and Nigel continued to play outside. When all the dogs were back inside, I gave them all a red and white rawhide treat. Pretty soon, I realized that Nigel had rounded them all up and stowed them away in his dog bed. I redistributed them.

After that, he snuggled up next to me and stayed there while I watched the “Right Stuff” as homework for a writing project I am working on regarding General Chuck Yeager, “sound barrier breaker.”

a shih tzu under a trailer with a dog treat. I don’t know what happened, but while we sat there, Flower jumped up on the couch like vampires were chasing her, her eyes huge. Later, I heard Flower yipping at Shih Tzu Central. Nigel was no longer at my side, and I immediately said, “Nigel!” When I looked down, however, only Flower and Dottie were in sight. I saw a red and white mini rawhide treat between them and thought that might have been the cause of contention. It’s highly likely that Dottie wasn’t able to keep hers earlier, since both Nigel and Flower are such thieves. But poor Nigel, since he is the shih tzu who usually gets the blame for any ruckus.

dog walking = exercise

I visited my doctor this week for my annual physical. As usual, we talked about any changes in health, etc. I brought up the subject of exercise. My doctor is a bicyclist, and last year I shared my newfound interest in that sport with him. I had told him that John and I had bought “beach cruiser” bikes and that I was riding almost everyday, with John and I riding the bike paths on the weekends. I proudly proclaimed that between May and November, I put more than a thousand miles on my bike.

two shih tzus However, I also told him that we had adopted a trio of shih tzus and that it had changed our schedule, and as a result, John and I weren’t getting that much exercise because we were riding our bikes a lot less. I told him that, in fact, we had only managed a handful of bicycle outings this summer. I don’t think I took my bike out alone more than twice. I had gotten in the habit of hopping on my bike when John left for work, but now I get up and spend time with the shih tzus before I start working.

My doctor also has dogs, and he asked if we took ours for walks. He was surprised when I said we did no dog walking because the shih tzus did not like walks. I said we had to leash train the shih tzus against their will. I doubt that anyone had dog walking duty at the puppy mill where the shih tzus came from, although they possibly exercised in a dog run.

I realized that I am so used to our shih tzus’ issues that I sometimes forget they aren’t “normal” dogs. If their fear or dislike of a leash — and maybe the unknown world — was the only issue, we might be further along with our dog walking. However, there are the grooming issues and the housebreaking issues.

Looking back over the last four months, the shih tzus are so much better now with me in many ways, but they do still fight me when I try to get them walking on a leash. John is a lot sterner, and when he has the time, he gets some results. I definitely need the shih tzus to be more comfortable with both of us, since to walk four dogs, I need a dog walking companion! My conversation with my doctor made me determined to try harder, and that included a Saturday dog walk.

We took Dottie and Nigel for a walk this afternoon. Dottie was shaking when we stopped to talk to some cul de sac neighbors. As I stood there, Dottie started walking, just to get away! That was a small victory, since she was walking on a leash. We headed towards Wal-Mart, a block away. We climbed a small grass-covered hill and once we started walking on even ground, she trotted along. I was surprised at how well she did. She got a gold star in leash walking!

Flower the couch wetter

I have determined that Dottie is our “trembler,” at least at times, and Candy is our “loner.” Flower is our little “bed wetter” — or at least she would be, if she got up on the bed. She definitely is our “couch wetter.” I gave her back her couch privileges, but she is losing them again! She peed on the red blanket when we were gone on our walk.

I just don’t understand what causes that. I have to congratulate her for some improvement though. While we were outside later, we could hear the children next door playing loudly. Flower’s eyes got big. She would normally scamper for the door, but she turned and looked at me instead. I told her it was OK, and she stayed where she was.

When I went back inside, I left the door open, since Nigel and Candy were still playing. After a little while, Nigel scampered in like a rabbit being chased. When I looked at him, he had a red and white rawhide treat in his mouth. I think he stole it from Candy and thought she was in hot pursuit, but she wasn’t.

My couch was soon occupied by Nigel, Flower and Dottie. Candy acted like she wanted to come up too. She wandered up and down on the floor, in front of the couch, looking up from time to time. Finally, when she got close enough, I picked her up and sat her near me.

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