Shih Tzu Week 120: Expanded Menagerie

Oct. 10 – Oct. 16, 2013 

Thurs­day, Oct. 10 

Out­side it’s dark, cold, and rainy, but inside, it’s warm and cozy. I am in my usual posi­tion on the couch, my com­puter in place, and all four of the dog­gies are with me: Candy in John’s spot at one end, Nigel on the left side of me, Dot­tie snor­ing on the other, and Flower on the other end of the couch. Such a pre­cious fam­ily.

It looks like things are going to get lively around here for a while. My mother called me on Tues­day night because of an emer­gency at her house. Due to the fact that she is 80 and it is get­ting dif­fi­cult to keep her 70-year-old house liv­able, we have to make other arrange­ments. The most log­i­cal solu­tion is for her to even­tu­ally move to Florida to live with my sis­ter, Sandy. It’s going to be a huge adjust­ment for everyone.

Mom comes with a menagerie. Over the decades, Mom has had a long list of cats as well as her faith­ful dogs. Right now, she has Buddy, res­cued from a shel­ter sev­eral years ago, as well as four cats. Emily and Mimi are prob­a­bly about 17 or 18 years old. Spot Collins and Panda, res­cued from a shel­ter a few years ago, are prob­a­bly about 3 years old. Nei­ther Sandy nor myself has the heart to tell mother she has to part with her pets, but Sandy has severe pet aller­gies, so it will be dif­fi­cult for her.

It’s not that liv­ing in Florida is a com­pletely new idea. Mom agreed to move there once before, years ago, but couldn’t bring her­self to leave her home. This time, fate seems to have taken the deci­sion from her hands. Sandy already has plans to go to New Jer­sey in early Novem­ber for her daughter-in-law’s baby shower, so I have sug­gested Mom stay here until she gets back. The plan after that is for Sandy’s ex-husband, Paul, to come through Den­ver after a work trip and fly back to Florida with Mom. He will arrange for some­one to come and taxi the pets all back to Florida.

It’s hard to imag­ine what this is going to look like. We have decided to put the cats’ lit­ter boxes down­stairs in the bath­room and to set Mom up in the spare bed­room across from it. Buddy will sleep with Mom, as he usu­ally does. I am going to try to keep the cats in the base­ment, since I don’t know how Flower par­tic­u­larly will respond to cats in her house. She has chased after any cat that has wan­dered into the house, and tries to bark away any squir­rel that comes near, so this should be fun.

I will be mak­ing a trip tomor­row morn­ing to get Mom and the pets. So, this might just be the last night my mom ever spends in the house she has lived in for six decades. I know that this is not what she wants, but we will try to at least make her and the pets comfortable.

Fri­day, Oct. 11

I man­aged to get all the pets over here and set­tled. I’m sure the shih tzu clan is won­der­ing what on earth is going on. Mom had a really rough day, which means I did too. She’s dis­ori­ented and con­fused, since this is so out of the norm for her. I finally got her to go to sleep for a while, with Buddy beside her.

Sat­ur­day, Oct. 12

Today was bet­ter for Mom. She is still con­fused, but that’s to be expected when you uproot an 80-year-old. I don’t think she cried once today and she slept well.

Tues­day, Oct. 15

I couldn’t sleep so I got up at 4:00 to do some work before Mom gets up. The shih tzus have been doing pretty well with the new liv­ing sit­u­a­tion. Nigel and Buddy do growl at each other because they are both food aggres­sive, so I have to watch them, espe­cially since Buddy is at least twice as big as Nigel. Today, Flower got a lit­tle wild-eyed when Spot Collins, who we think is a Maine Coon, escaped through the base­ment door and into the liv­ing room. I quickly grabbed him to avoid any issues. 

Wednes­day, Oct. 16

The shih tzus might be a lit­tle con­fused about their new house guests, but we are try­ing to make sure things are as com­fort­able and nor­mal for them as pos­si­ble. The girls all gath­ered around John on the couch this morn­ing to get love. Candy was sit­ting on his lap, and again, I am still get­ting used to that develop, since we never thought any of our puppy mill moms would be lap dogs.

After the love fest, they went out­side to eat. While she was on the deck, Flower spied Spot Collins in the win­dow. I had been try­ing to keep him down­stairs, but I decided to give him a break. Flower started bark­ing crazily. It will be very inter­est­ing to see if she adapts.

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Shih Tzu Review Board: Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Our Human, whom we call Mom, makes us “meat­loaf” every cou­ple of weeks, and we get it every morn­ing for break­fast with our kib­ble. We love it! She makes it with lean ground beef, lean ground turkey, sweet pota­toes, pump­kin, green peas, and she throws in other veg­eta­bles, like zuc­chini and squash from the gar­den. Some­times she adds fruit. It is soooo good!

How­ever, once in a while she gets things from Chewy.com and lets us try it. This time, she got Ori­jen Regional Red Freeze-Dried Dog Food. We weren’t sure what she meant when she told us it was “freeze-dried.” We thought it had some­thing to do with our last name, which, iron­i­cally, is “Freeze.” Well, it doesn’t. It’s the process they use. Why Mom wanted us to try it was, first, because it is a “whole prey diet” con­tain­ing really fun “wild” stuff: angus beef, wild boar, ranch-raised lamb, her­itage pork, and free-range bison, and even fruits and veg­eta­bles. The sec­ond rea­son was that she said that since it is “freeze-dried,” it is fresh and has no preservatives.

Before Mom gave it to us, she did some weird things. First, she took these “medal­lions” out of the pack­age, broke them into four pieces (one for each of us!) and then poured warm water on them. The hard part was that we had to wait about five min­utes while the medal­lions “un-dried.” Then, Mom divided it into four bowls as an “after­noon snack.”

Orijen Freeze Dried Food

Today we tried Ori­jen Freeze Dried Food.

What hap­pened next? Well, Mom set the bowls down. First, she set one down for Nigel, and then one for Flower, Candy, and me. How­ever, in the few sec­onds it took for Flower to get to her bowl, Nigel swal­lowed his piece and came and stole hers! Mom scolded him and then had to split up the last two pieces for me, Flower and Candy. Mom was sur­prised we liked it, because she didn’t think it smelled as yummy as her meat­loaf. The good news is that because of Nigel’s bad behav­ior, she fixed us another one to share!

You are not going to believe what hap­pened next! Mom had us girls go out­side, since we are bet­ter behaved than Nigel. She put his bowl down on the kitchen floor, quickly went out­side with our bowls, and shut the door so he couldn’t come out and steal our food. Then, she put down our bowls, and FLOWER ate hers and then ran and stole my piece before I could get to it! Some­times it just isn’t fun liv­ing with three other shih tzus! I hope Mom feeds that stuff to us again!

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Shih Tzu Journal: Sept. 5, 2012

Mom said one of us should get on here and let every­one know how we are doing! I got voted to do it. Mom usu­ally says how many days we have been here, but she didn’t tell me. I only know we have been here at least 14 months.

Mom takes us for a walk once a day — almost every day. We hate it when she doesn’t. This morn­ing, the Man left for work and I jumped up on the couch and pawed Mom’s shoul­ders and back until she finally gave up try­ing to work and took us out. Candy still usu­ally doesn’t want to go for walks, so unless the Man is going with us, she leaves Candy here.

Mom says she thinks the grass both­ers Candy’s feet, or she might like to walk. She walks really dain­tily over it and tries to get to the dirt or pave­ment. She is really, really slow, so when she comes with us, we have to wait for her. Well, she is the most slow on the grass. When we go to the place Mom calls Majes­tic View, she is bet­ter. But when we go walk­ing on the grass behind that big build­ing called Wal-Mart, she is really slow.

I love, love walk­ing! I love chas­ing birds! I love sniff­ing under the bushes! I love it all! What I don’t under­stand is why Mom always holds the end of my leash, but Dot­tie always gets to “walk her­self,” and now, so does Candy. Some­times Nigel gets to walk him­self too. When we are at the park, Mom lets Candy and Dot­tie walk them­selves unless peo­ple or dogs approach us. Then, she quickly grabs the leashes. That’s because Dot­tie usu­ally gets con­fused and either runs away from or fol­lows the peo­ple. Mom says if I walked myself I would run in front of a car because I would be chas­ing a bird or a kite and wouldn’t pay attention.

Right now, we’re all tak­ing naps, because Mom is being bor­ing, just typ­ing on her com­puter. I wish we could go for another walk! I hear some dogs are lucky and get to walk more than once a day! That would be so wonderful!

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Shih Tzu Week 39: March 22 (Day 267) — 28 (Day 273)

 Shih Tzu Day 267: March 22 (Thursday)

What’s in Nigel’s (Dottie’s?) mouth

Dottie gets a hot dog piece for coping with grooming.Dot­tie came up to me today with her Dentley’s stick in her mouth and wanted up. She is prac­tic­ing being Nigel, since he is the only one who usu­ally comes up to the couch with some­thing in his mouth and wants up. It can be a Dentley’s stick, one of my socks, a rawhide bone, a stuffed animal.

love addicts

Dot­tie is usu­ally con­tent just to sit by my side, but at times, espe­cially when Flower decides she wants love, Dot­tie wants in on the action. Today, Flower started nuz­zling my hand, and then Dot­tie did. I was try­ing to pet them both with one hand, but when­ever I lifted my hand from Flower, she would look up and move her paw, so I had to use both hands.

I love to cup Dottie’s lit­tle face in my hands. When I do, she just gazes at me. I remem­bered when none of the female shih tzus wanted me to come near them. Now, Dot­tie will even let me kiss her. Flower is actu­ally the biggest lover. I think she would like to be rubbed and pet­ted all day.

Flower had a lot of energy this evening. She was drag­ging and pulling around the red, soft dog bed that no one ever uses. My guess is she was just try­ing to tear the tag off, but she didn’t suc­ceed. A lit­tle later, when she was sit­ting on the couch, she started growl­ing. Unlike other dogs, when Flower growls, it usu­ally means she wants to be pet­ted. How­ever, she jumped down, grabbed a rawhide bone from off the floor, and pranced away towards the back door, with Candy fol­low­ing behind her.

 Shih Tzu Day 268: March 23 (Friday)

cam­era shy

I picked Candy up again today when she came up to the couch. She stayed until I tried to take her pic­ture. The pic­ture tak­ing has def­i­nitely slowed down. I took hun­dreds and hun­dreds of pic­tures last year after get­ting the shih tzus. How­ever, as things have grad­u­ally got­ten back to a new nor­mal, after tak­ing in four shih tzus, the cam­era often isn’t in the right place at the right time. Also, my attempts at find­ing a small cam­era I like to keep near me haven’t been suc­cess­ful. I heard that the iPhone took great pic­tures, and I finally got one, but I haven’t had luck get­ting any­thing more than blurry shots inside. I have to read up on what I am doing wrong.

 Shih Tzu Day 269: March 24 (Saturday)

John and I were gone most of the day, so the poor shih tzus have had to fend for them­selves. When we came home, I went upstairs to change while John gave out some treats. After a few min­utes, I heard paws on the stairs. Flower came up to get me. She wan­dered around the room sniff­ing until I went back downstairs.

Us, vaca­tion?

One of our friends was in town this week, and we went and met him for din­ner. He invited us out to Boston to see him when­ever we wanted to come. I had to smile at that. It was hard enough going out of town when we had one Yorkie. It will be nearly impos­si­ble with four shih tzus. They def­i­nitely aren’t the type of dogs that you ken­nel, and they steal don’t trust any­one but John and I, so dog sit­ters are out.

Shih Tzu Day 270: March 25 (Sunday)

new dogs

Flower after bath with Fresh n Clean Shampoo.We decided to do a lit­tle groom­ing today. Par­tially, I wanted to try out the Fresh n Clean sham­poo that came in the Royal Canin goodie bas­ket iden­ti­cal to the one we are giv­ing away, cour­tesy Royal Canin. John trimmed Nigel’s paws and face. After that, he started work­ing on Dottie’s face. I decided to help him, so I started trim­ming her body. He informed me I had used the wrong blade, so she got a very short cut. Even though it was a mis­take, we decided to do the same with Flower, since it is spring, and they don’t need long fur to keep them warm. Plus, we can go a lit­tle longer with­out groom­ing them. They look like com­pletely dif­fer­ent dogs than Nigel and Candy.

Shih Tzu Day 271: March 26 (Monday)

sassy flower

Flower was being sassy this after­noon. She sat on the edge of the couch, wag­ging her tail and wav­ing her front paws at me, like she does when she wants to be pet­ted. Then, she lay on her back against the couch gaz­ing at me, her cute lit­tle under-bite show­ing. I waited a lit­tle too long to pet her, so she started growl­ing, until I gave her what she wanted.

Since Flower hasn’t peed on our couch for quite a while, I put the cush­ions down on the other couch that she used to always sit on, but I think she has for­got­ten that used to be her could. She rarely goes up on it any­more. I am happy that she sits with us on the com­mu­nity couch — and that we have had dry couch cush­ions for a long time!

Shih Tzu Day 272: March 27 (Tuesday)

Nigel and the ice cube

I still need to replace Nigel’s steps, since one set broke, and he wouldn’t walk up the next set. For now, I have an old milk box on its side that I put in place in front of the couch before John comes down and needs to sit there, and then again after he leaves for work. This morn­ing I for­got to put it there, so I had to help Nigel up. When I looked down, he had an ice cube in his mouth. It was so cute. He sat it on the couch and then picked it up again once I sat him next to me. That lit­tle boy has so much character.

throw up on the throw

I left a throw on the floor last night and some­one threw up on it. My guess is that it was Candy. She wouldn’t go out to eat when her sis­ters did. Instead, she hid behind the din­ing room table. When I picked up the throw and put it in the hall to take to the base­ment later, she came out and then went out to eat. Maybe she thought she was going to get in trou­ble. I had to keep an eye on her bowl so her sis­ters and Nigel wouldn’t try to eat her food for her, since they had already eaten by the time she decided to eat.

Shih Tzu Day 273: March 28 (Wednesday)

weigh­ing in

It's hard to tell where one shih tzu ends and another begins. I weighed the dogs today. I have read dif­fer­ent answers regard­ing what shih tzus should weigh, with the range going between nine and twenty pounds, but the aver­age answer seems to be ten to six­teen pounds. If so, we’re not doing too badly. Nigel now weighs 13 pounds. I think that is a good weight for him. He only weighed 10.5 pounds in Octo­ber, but he was still recov­er­ing from pneu­mo­nia. Candy weighed 11.5 in Octo­ber and now weighs 12 pounds. I’m not as happy with Flower and Dot­tie. Flower was 14 pounds and is now 15.5. Dot­tie was 14 pounds and is 16 pounds now. Flower and Dot­tie might be within the range, but we need to work on that.

Now that the shih tzus are more com­fort­able with John and I, I think the leash train­ing will go bet­ter. My goal is to really get on this right after Easter!

Let the butt sniffing begin!I am hop­ing that our diet will ben­e­fit the shih tzus. I know that some peo­ple don’t give dogs peo­ple food, but we always have. I am try­ing to replace some of their dog treats with peo­ple food. For instance, Flower, Dot­tie, and Nigel all like cel­ery, although Candy won’t try it. I am par­tic­u­larly glad that Flower does, since it is bet­ter for her than plas­tic bot­tle caps!

We had tuna salad on a romaine leaf tonight. I left out some tuna to give them a few pieces while we ate.

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Shih Tzu Day 202: Shih Tzu Lost in Time

Hello every­one! It is impos­si­ble to think that it is Jan­u­ary 17. I know I haven’t writ­ten a word all year, except to say that I had a com­puter mal­func­tion. I won’t talk about it very much, except to men­tion that it has been a night­mare, but things are finally get­ting back to normal.

As for the shih tzu sis­ters, and Nigel, how­ever, we grow to love them more every day! The win­ter months have slowed us down, prac­ti­cally into hiber­na­tion. Of course, they rouse peri­od­i­cally from sleep­ing to seek out food or treats. This after­noon is typ­i­cal. As I type on my com­puter, won­der­ing where the time went, Dot­tie snores beside me. Nigel is lying on the other side, not snor­ing, so I can’t tell if he is asleep. Flower goes back and forth between the couch and Shih Tzu Cen­tral, where she is right now. Check­ing on the dogs made me real­ize that Candy has been out­side for prob­a­bly an hour.

Dot­tie and Flower have taken a cue from Nigel, and now know how to “knock.” Dot­tie fran­ti­cally tapes her front paws on the slid­ing glass door. Flower does too, but when she is really impa­tient, she backs up and jumps at the door, hit­ting it with her front paws and then doing it again. Candy, how­ever, sits on the porch until some­one real­izes she is wait­ing. Half the time, even when you do notice she is miss­ing, when we go to let her in, she runs back out into the yard. Strange child, that one.

More soon, both for­ward and back­ward in time.

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