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 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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