Shih Tzu Week 121: Getting Used to Visitors

Oct. 17 – Oct. 23, 2013

Thurs­day, Oct. 17 

My inten­tions were good when I set Mom and her furry friends up in the base­ment, since she would have her own fridge, bath­room, and plenty of space for lit­ter boxes and food bowls. How­ever, she thought it was spooky, so we moved her and Buddy upstairs last night. She liked it much bet­ter. We also lifted the ban on Spot Collins (her Maine Coon) and Panda enter­ing the liv­ing room, and they made them­selves right at home. I wasn’t sure how Flower would react to cats in her ter­ri­tory, but she seemed to adjust quickly. What a menagerie! Dot­tie and Flower aren’t quite sure how to act with vis­i­tors here. They stayed in Shih Tzu Cen­tral all day but came out and strolled around after Mom went to bed. I said Flower seemed to adjust quickly. After Mom went to bed, she jumped up on the couch Mom is bor­row­ing from her to sniff what has been going on there with another dog. Then, she decided to try to chase Spot Collins away by barking/growling at him, but Spot took a seat on a din­ing room chair and wouldn’t budge.

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Nigel and Candy ran after her, maybe think­ing there was going to be a scuf­fle. It did look like a lit­tle shih tzu gang try­ing to scare off a lone, although big, kitty. Spot didn’t seem very fright­ened, though. Flower couldn’t quite reach him through the chair slats, and he rested on his side, swat­ting Flower away every now and then. Finally, Spot seemed to get tired of the exchange and jumped down and saun­tered towards the stairs.

 Fri­day, Oct. 18

This morn­ing didn’t start out well. When I let Buddy out, Spot Collins saun­tered out behind him. Since it had snowed and I was in my sleep­wear, I had to grab a coat and put on my san­dals. He had already made his way halfway up our tiered land­scape area, so I had to climb over the fence we have there to keep Flower on the ground and chase him down. Then, while hold­ing the giant cat, I had to jump back down. I am con­sid­er­ing putting him on a leash like Jeff and Lynda Petersen do with their giant cat.

Sat­ur­day, Oct. 19

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Sun­day, Oct. 20

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Tues­day, Oct. 22

We have tried our best to keep Spot Collins from going out­side, but now he’s fig­ured out how to go out the doggy door, and then how to get under the deck. We went in under one side and out the other. John had to lure him back in both times. Since he has fig­ured it out, I wish he would teach Candy and Dot­tie to go through it! Instead, we took the doggy door out for the time being. I don’t want to lose him! Mom would be heartbroken.

Wednes­day, Oct. 23

I have been con­cerned about Mom’s things she will be tak­ing to Florida. Sandy is going to have a hard enough time because of her pet aller­gies. I don’t want dusty items to bother her too. While I was going through some of the news­pa­per clip­pings Mom col­lected, I saw one say­ing to put an aller­gic child’s stuffed ani­mals in the freezer to kill dust mites before they sleep with them. Mom’s stuffed cats and tigers didn’t look dusty, but I bagged them and put them in the freezer any­way. I also bagged the stuffed ele­phants Mom made us when we were chil­dren and gave them a turn in the freezer. Can’t wait ’til John finds them and thinks I’ve gone around the bend.

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Shih Tzu Progression

I hate to think when the last time was that I made a post! All I can say is that our puppy mill shih tzus seem to progress daily!

Take today, for exam­ple. When we were sit­ting on the couch this morn­ing, John com­mented about a time when the female shih tzus would bark when­ever he came down­stairs, act­ing like he was an intruder. Now, they act as happy to see him as they do to see me, and they spend a lot of time let­ting him pet them.

Also, Can­dace passed her cos­me­tol­ogy prac­ti­cal test yes­ter­day and I told her I would take her for lunch and we would cel­e­brate with a mimosa. After she arrived, I went to put on my boots and Flower jumped on the couch and began paw­ing at me. Some peo­ple might not real­ize what that sym­bol­izes, but after look­ing back at notes from last Jan­u­ary, it’s significant.

Candy, freshly-groomed, on the way to the park

When I put my boots on, Dot­tie, Flower and Nigel think it means one thing: We are going for a walk! A year ago, that would not have been a rea­son to get excited — except for Nigel. That would have been a rea­son to run and hide. Now, how­ever, I had to tell them I was sorry and promise them a walk when I returned.

Dottie and Candy catching up on a walk

What hap­pened when Can­dace and I returned was another glimpse of their pro­gres­sion. I brought the orange juice and cham­pagne to the table for our cel­e­bra­tion. About ten min­utes later, Flower, Nigel and Dot­tie came to see what was going on. A year ago, the girls would have stayed in their cor­ner. A few months ago, they would have pos­si­bly come and sat by me, but they would have oth­er­wise been unso­cia­ble shih tzus.

Flower gets lovin' from Candace.

Now, how­ever, Can­dace stooped to pet Flower and Flower moved closer to be pet­ted. A lit­tle later, Dot­tie fol­lowed her lead.

After Can­dace left, all the shih tzus started roam­ing around the liv­ing room and star­ing at me. The snow kept me from tak­ing them yes­ter­day, but I didn’t want to dis­ap­point them again, so I got down the har­ness box. Flower flew down from the couch, her tail wag­ging, and Dot­tie wan­dered over. I never know what Candy is going to do, but even she wan­dered towards the door and waited for me to put her har­ness on her.

Nigel and Candy explore an unfamiliar backyard.

Once out­side, the shih tzus sniffed their way along the cul de sac and then towards the open area behind Wal-Mart, Dot­tie and Candy trail­ing their leashes behind them, and me hold­ing on to Nigel and Flower’s. We ended up hav­ing to take a dif­fer­ent route, though. We started going east, but school had let out early, and a hand­ful of teenagers were throw­ing snow­balls at each other. Flower and Dot­tie trot­ted along, Candy raced towards them bark­ing (odd behav­ior for her!), but Dot­tie stopped in her tracks as if to say “Danger!”

I finally gave up and turned them around. Instead, we walked along the main road, beyond where we usu­ally turn to go home. The condo com­plex on the next block is get­ting a new fence, so the fence has been tour down. Nigel, Flower and Candy wan­dered through the back­yards, fas­ci­nated by new ter­ri­tory, until I turned them around to go home.

With all the progress, I do have one thing to work on. I try to feed the shih tzus equally, and although Nigel and Candy stay thin, Dot­tie and Flower are def­i­nitely look­ing a lit­tle “plump.” John has taken to call­ing them his lit­tle “Fat Girls” (after the “Fat Boys” in the recent ver­sion of Alice in Won­der­land. So, our big goal for this new year is to slim down our lit­tle angels!

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Shih Tzu Week 46: May 10 (Day 316) – May 16 (Day 322), 2012

Shih Tzu Day 316: May 10

Thurs­day

Flower gives Sandy the googly eyes.Today is my birth­day. I had a coupon for a free lunch at Roby Tuesday’s, so we picked up Mom and went there. Nigel is very friendly to Sandy, of course, but the female shih tzus are still mainly remain­ing at Shih Tzu Cen­tral when we are home. Sandy tried to pet Flower and her eyes got big. Sandy laughed and said, “You have to be really care­ful when she gets the goo­gly eyes!”

Shih Tzu Day 317: May 11

Fri­day

We went to lunch at Tokyo Joe’s as Sandy’s present to us. The female shih tzus are get­ting bet­ter around Sandy. They will at least walk around and Flower and Dot­tie will come up to the couch and sit by me, even if she is on the couch.

Shih Tzu Day 318: May 12

Sat­ur­day

Huddle time at Shih Tzu Central.We invited the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren over for a BBQ. Can­dace came alone, but Leti­cia brought the four girls and Gabe and Crys­tal brought Samuel. Leti­cia also brought her friend, Chris, and her lit­tle boy. The female shih tzus either stayed in the cor­ner or out­side. Flower was the best around the chil­dren. She came up to get treats from them with­out much coaxing.

Shih Tzu Day 319: May 13

Sun­day

I bought a french fry cut­ter from Har­bor Freight, because I am hop­ing to use it to make uni­form sweet potato treats. John mounted it on some wood in the kitchen. Sweet pota­toes are a lot harder than nor­mal pota­toes, so they need some prepa­ra­tion. We tried boil­ing them slightly and microwav­ing them a lit­tle, and both ways worked. I do have to cut the ends to make them as square as pos­si­ble. It’s a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to push down the han­dle, but I think it will work.

Shih Tzu Date 320: May 14, 2012

Mon­day

Sandy threatened to take Nigel back to Florida with her.I took Sandy to the air­port to get her there by 10 a.m. We had such a great vaca­tion together. John and I are sad to see her go, but I think the female shih tzus are happy to have the house to them­selves again. She fell in love with Nigel, of course, and she got a big kick out of Flower. She gave me a gift card from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I used it to get another gad­get, an apple peeler/corer. You put the apple on it and turn it and it cores the apple.

Shih Tzu Day 321: May 15

Tues­day

John and I took a five-mile bike ride this morn­ing. Flower came to sit with me on the couch when we got back. She gazed at me ador­ingly when I pet her. She is such a cutie.

I have been leav­ing the back door open so the shih tzus can come in and out, but I am get­ting tired of flies com­ing in. I finally bought a Magic Mesh screen door to try, although it didn’t have great rat­ings. I need to have John install it over the week­end, but for now, I did tack it up so it works par­tially. They can’t fig­ure out how to go through it though, so I folded it up and pinned it for them to go beneath it. That works, but the flies go beneath it too.

I can tell that the three youngest dogs are bored. Again, I know I have to see if I can get them walk­ing. Soon!

I gave the dogs all jicama. They all ate it except for Candy.

Dot­tie was sit­ting by me this after­noon but jumped down, giv­ing Flower the oppor­tu­nity to take her place. Dot­tie growled at her, but Flower just ignored her. They seem a lit­tle more ornery since Sandy left. Candy has come up to the couch sev­eral times, paw­ing and shak­ing her head. I never know what she wants. I think it’s food, but I did get down on the floor to play with them. I put my face near Candy and she licked my mouth quickly. Flower tried to climb up my head.

Flower has a lot of energy. She was rolling around on the couch, and then started play­ing with some pothold­ers and socks I hadn’t put away.

Shih Tzu Day 322: May 16

Wednes­day

The shih tzus love the homemade apple and chicken treats.I am happy to say that if I was starv­ing I could eat my shih tzus’ dog food or treats! That’s because they are made with all peo­ple food and no preser­v­a­tives or “nat­ural fla­vor­ings” of which I don’t know their ori­gin. I made them their Sadie Shih Tzu food today. I bought all fresh ingre­di­ents, so I didn’t use any frozen veg­gies. This time I used ground beef and ground turkey. I bought a box of apples from Costco to use for that, John’s lunch, and the shih tzus’ chicken and apple treats. I also bought a box of sweet pota­toes for that and their sweet potato and chicken treats. How­ever, I real­ized later that I for­got to use the sweet pota­toes. I was too busy blanch­ing all the fresh veg­eta­bles instead of using frozen. I did freeze some squash and car­rots for next time. I put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer first, so they would get hard enough to seal in a bag with the vac­uum sealer.

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Shih Tzu Week 45: May 3 (Day 309) – May 9 (Day 315), 2012

Shih Tzu Day 309: May 3, 2012

Thurs­day

Flower is paw­ing the air and giv­ing me her come hither look. She def­i­nitely loves atten­tion. She went back over to her couch, so she could stare at me from there.

Shih Tzu Day 310: May 4, 2012

Fri­day

The dogs seem so bored. I need to prac­tice walk­ing them, because I know they need that exer­cise. At least Nigel and Candy and Flower play together sometimes.

Shih Tzu Day 311: May 5, 2012

Sat­ur­day

Nigel and Candy in werewolf mode.It doesn’t seem like I got much done today. Keep­ing up with the dogs groom­ing some­times seems over­whelm­ing. We really need to make sure their paws are groomed, trim­ming their nails and get­ting the fur out from between the pads, and get them walking!

Shih Tzu Day 312: May 6, 2012

Sun­day

I have been hav­ing trou­ble keep­ing Flower’s atten­tion when it’s break­fast time. She keeps leav­ing her food bowl in the morn­ings, to fend off cats or squir­rels from the back of the yard. This morn­ing, instead of guard­ing her bowl, I went ahead and let Candy eat the rest of it. She needs more food any­way, and maybe Flower will learn not to run away so often.

Shih Tzu Day 313: May 7

Mon­day

Bath time for Flower before my sister arrived.I am very happy with the chicken jerky I have been mak­ing them. It makes me feel good to know exactly what they are get­ting. On my lat­est batch of jerky, I mar­i­nated them in lemon/lime juice and olive oil, and then sprin­kled them with fresh sage, paprika, and rose­mary. I read that dogs don’t really like cit­rus, but they were a bit hit. I also made more apple and chicken treats and chicken and sweet potato treats. They like all of them. Buy­ing the dehy­dra­tor is one of the best pur­chases I’ve ever made.

Shih Tzu Day 314: May 8

Tues­day

My sis­ter Sandy arrives today from Florida for a week­long visit. We have been con­cerned because she has severe pet aller­gies. She’s like me, too, in that she can’t han­dle a lot of smells. I washed doggy beds and blan­kets this morn­ing. I used to clean them more reg­u­larly, since they tended to have messes on them from acci­dents, but these days, that doesn’t hap­pen, so I for­get. Hur­ray for that!

John is on vaca­tion. We have been steam clean­ing the car­pets with pet/allergen for­mula. We even tack­led the car­pet down­stairs in the exer­cise room, which hasn’t been steam cleaned for years, since we hired some­one to come in and do it. Flower fol­lowed me down­stairs. I kept one eye on her, wait­ing to pounce if she tried to squat to pee. She sniffed a lit­tle, but then ran back up the stairs.

Shih Tzu Day 315: May 9

Wednes­day

Flower and Dottie after bath.We went to break­fast this morn­ing with Mom and Sandy. Mom treated us for my birth­day at Gun­ther Toody’s. Sandy is try­ing very hard to make friends with the shih tzus. The female shih tzus growled at her and barked when she came down­stairs this morning.

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