Merry Christmas to All!

We are so sorry we haven’t kept up with our blog! Life has been good to us! This morning, the four of us went for a Christmas walk. It was cold and windy, so our Humans wanted to go for a shorter walk, but we enjoyed it. When we got home, they gave us some ham from their Christmas lunch. Mom also made us treats: sweet potatoes wrapped in chicken and apples wrapped in chicken.

We were very sorry to recently hear that Sadie Shih Tzu had to go over the Rainbow Bridge. She was so pretty and her mom, Liz Hover, loved her so much.

We hope everyone enjoys Christmas! We’ll post pics soon!


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Shih Tzu Week 119: Snow!

Oct. 3 – Oct. 9, 2013

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Friday, Oct. 4 

It snowed last night. Snow! On Oct. 3! I’m not ready to see my garden die! Also, I have been leaving the backdoor open, since Candy and Dottie still don’t go through the doggy door. So today it is closed.

I have begun to think of myself as Flower’s “Daddy Bridge.” She climbs onto my lap, and without stopping, crosses me to get to Daddy. But I am in no way complaining. I am just happy that she is that comfortable with both of us now. When she isn’t with us, or at Shih Tzu Center, she likes to sit on the back of the loveseat where she can watch everybody from a comfortable distance, and look out the window when she chooses.

Candy also continues to make “couch progress.” I never knew what she wanted before when she came up to the couch. Nowadays it can mean she wants a snack or she wants up. Today, for example, I reached to get her and she stood still and let me pick her up. Dottie was already on one side and Nigel snuggled close on the other. I sat her on the other side of Nigel, and she eventually curled up and settled down. When she was there, I rubbed her ear and realized it was soft inside, not rough as usual. That roughness, or “elephant ear,” is a sign of allergies, although I am not sure to what. I have been putting a little Aquaphor in her ear, thinking if it works for my lips it might work for her ear. It seems to be working. Also, a neighbor gave us a water cooler, so they mainly get purified water to drink, and maybe that is helping.

Flower jumped up on the couch to join us a little later, so I had all four of the shih tzus for company, although Flower definitely looked bored on her corner perch. Candy can only take couch comfort for so long, so she eventually jumped down to occupy the bed she and Nigel alternate in, by the entertainment center. Although he rarely does it, Nigel actually took a bed at Shih Tzu Central.

I have the TV on today, like I often do when I’m working, with the volume down. I just saw an image of an abused dog on an commercial for an animal shelter and it almost made me cry. I am so happy our four shih tzus have a loving home and that there are so many animal rescues and shelters out there trying to make a difference.

Sunday, Oct. 6 

It warmed up enough for us to take the dogs for a walk at Majestic View Nature Center. Since we have worked so hard on our garden this year, I have really enjoyed looking at their plants and flowers, which are usually tagged with their names.

It gives me of ideas for the future. We don’t walk there nearly as much as the shih tzus would like to, since we normally just walk behind Wal-Mart, so it is always a special treat. I tried to walk all four of them once there without John, but it was a fiasco, and I would never try it again.

Monday, Oct. 7

Nigel got a bath today. Hopefully that will stop his scratching. Each one of the dogs took their turns on the couch today again. Of course, Dottie is there most of the day. I was watching Flower roll around on the couch for a while. Not sure why she does that, but it’s fun to watch. Maybe she is scratching her back on the couch? Each time I pick up Candy and sit her down on the couch, I think about the past, when she either hid upstairs or in her corner “apartment” in the dining room, instead of joining us. I continue to be thankful for how far we have come.

Tuesday, Oct. 8 

John gave the shih tzus their pre-breakfast snack (chicken-wrapped rawhide bone) as usual this morning and they were raring to go. For some reason, Candy often doesn’t eat hers right away. She sits it in front of her and guards it. I think she keeps it just to enjoy the game. If anyone comes near it, she sounds her loud siren bark warning. I need to record it, because it’s fierce. Sometimes, like today, Flower sits on the other side of Candy’s bone and growls, trying to terrorize her sister to giving it up. However, Candy instead decided it was time to enjoy it.

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Shih Tzu Week 117

Back to the Past: Sept. 19 – Sept. 25, 2013

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Friday, Sept. 20

This morning when I went to grab the leashes out of the basket, Nigel wandered back to his bed and Candy wandered under the table. They probably need walking the least, so I decided to just take Dottie and Flower. It’s always easier with less than four anyway. When we got back, I opened the back door so the shih tzus could wander in and out. I so wish we could get Dottie and Candy to use the doggy door, because I am constantly trying to get flies and bees out of the house. I swatted a fly near Candy and she didn’t even run. Sometimes she still startles easily, but she is getting better.

Sunday, Sept. 22

We took the dogs for a walk this morning at Majestic View. I always get a kick out of Flower’s excitement during the car ride. Nigel gets pretty excited too, but Flower is more verbal. If I say, “Are you excited we’re going for a walk?” Flower squeals.

Monday, Sept. 23

We have done well with many areas with the shih tzus, including their relationship with us. I have also noticed that most of their tear stains are gone, although Dottie still has a little brown on her face. However, partly because of the fact that Candy and Dottie won’t use the doggy door, we still have housebreaking issues. It’s not unusual for me to try to figure out where the urine smell is coming from. I realized today that Flower had peed on her couch, so the cushion cover went into the wash. Also, it looked like someone peed on Dottie’s thick blanket that I sometimes sit on. Ick. Candy had been relieving herself on the carpet in our bedroom so I started shutting the door. Then she started peeing on the rug in the bathroom. At least I can wash that, but I also started shutting that door.

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Thanksgiving #2 with the Shih Tzus (What a difference)

When I started to put together my post about this Thanksgiving, I went back to see how our first Thanksgiving with Candy, Dottie, Flower and Nigel was. I was amazed. We have definitely seen a lot of progress with our puppy mill shih tzus, although Nigel was as friendly to everyone as usual.

Dottie Flower Nigel Shih Tzu Thanksgiving 2012

I had to leave to pick up Mom at about 9:45. Before I did, I put a green sweater on Nigel, a pink and white dress on Candy, an animal print sweater on Flower, and Dottie’s birthday dress on her. When I started getting my boots on, Flower, Dottie and Nigel thought we were going for a walk, so they rushed me. (That wouldn’t have happened last year, since I couldn’t get them to go on walks.) I didn’t put their harnesses on them. I just opened the door and they all scrambled out behind me. I’m sure they were a little disappointed to find out they were only picking up Grandma and coming right back.

Flower Shih Tzu eating Thanksgiving dinner.

Leticia and the kids arrived about 30 minutes later. The female shih tzus went to their corner. Once the dinner was ready, I fixed them plates of turkey, sweet potatoes and a little bit of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and then I set all four bowls outside. None of them hesitated from rushing outside and digging in. The girls went back to their corner but then couldn’t resist the smells and one by one, wandered up to the table, looking for scraps.

When it was time to take Mom back home, I asked Cea and Evita if they wanted to come along for the ride. It didn’t prevent Nigel, Flower and Dottie from once again trotting out to the car and getting in. Nigel sat on my mom’s lap until we dropped her off. I put one of the seats down, so Cea and Evita sat together and Flower and Dottie went between the other seat and the back of the car. Once I dropped off Mom, the girls came up front and Nigel sat with them. Flower got comfortable enough to sit on the console, sometimes facing frontward, and sometimes turning around.

Dottie Shih Tzu eating Thanksgiving dinner.

They were a little put off when Gabe, Crystal, Avi and Samuel showed up. Samuel is nearly one year old, and he wanted to play in the dog area. They didn’t seem to mind it very much, and they eventually did come out and start wandering around.

Candy Shih Tzu Thanksgiving 2012

On Saturday night, Aunt Betty and a friend came over. The females once again retired to their corner, but about two hours later, they came out, with Candy even doing her “I want something but can’t tell you what” dance. John reached down to pick up Flower, and she let him! He held her on his lap at the table for about 15 minutes. They have come such a long way with him that I think he is now Dad and not the Man.


Be sure to check out last year’s Thanksgiving blog to see what a dramatic difference one year makes!

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Shih Tzu Special Day: Dottie’s 7th Birthday

Dottie Shih Tzu’s 7th birthday

I am happy to say that Dottie celebrated her second birthday party at her forever home today! She is now 7 years old. We did things a little differently than we did last year.

Remembering last year’s Shih Tzu birthday party

Dottie Shih Tzu with crown and treatsFor Dottie’s first birthday with us, two and a half months after she and her half sisters came to live with us, I dressed Dottie, Candy, and Flower up (Nigel hadn’t come to live with us yet). I was trying to get Dottie used to riding in the car, so I took her with me down the street to get a cheeseburger and fries for the shih tzus to shake. She shook the entire time. 

How things have changed in Shih Tzu Land

Candy Shih Tzu with Treat and CrownLooking back, I am happy to say that things are quite a bit different! Yes, Dottie sometimes still does shake in the car, but all of the dogs are used to going on car rides, because of our frequent trips to the park. Also, they are now all used to walking on a leash!

Majestic View Park

Flower Shih Tzu with treat and crownI don’t like to take all four shih tzus for walks without John, because they are a handful, but since it was Dottie’s birthday, I attempted it. I also wanted to make it more special than behind Wal-Mart, where we normally walk on weekdays, so I decided to take them for a walk at Majestic View Park, our normal Sunday morning routine.

First off, I got down their leash and harness box and Dottie, Nigel, and Flower got excited, as usual — but there harnesses weren’t in it! I searched all over the house, and finally found them in the spare bedroom. I must have gone up there to get something with the harnesses in my hand and absentmindedly set them down on the bed. Once I got the harnesses on them, I fixed the flex leashes for Nigel, Flower, and Candy so that they wouldn’t extend all the way, which, hopefully, would help me control them. 

Flower, Nigel, and Dottie all followed me out to the car in the garage, but Candy hesitated in the hall, as usual. I picked them all up and put them in the back of the Focus, and then came back in for Candy. I put the birthday girl in the place of honor in the front seat, on a new furry blanket I got her.

Nige Shih Tzu in birthday crown.When we got to the park, I put Nigel’s leash on him and let him out my door, although I try to normally let them out the hatch. Then, I carefully let Flower down (the last time we went to the park she jumped out before we could get the leash on her!), put Candy’s leash on her and let her down, and then picked Dottie up and set her on the ground.

I know that the sign in the park says that all dogs need to be on leashes, and technically, Dottie is always on a leash. It’s just not always in my hand! She is so good that when no one is close, I let her walk herself, next to me. I also let Candy walk herself usually, because she is very good and stays close to me. 

We did okay for the first few minutes, but once I let out their flex leashes, Flower and Nigel started weaving back and forth, and I spent more time untangling them and me than walking. We stopped at a bench and I got out the treats I made for Dottie: chicken and sweet potato, chicken and apple, and chicken and banana (I still haven’t perfected the banana treats). Nigel stole the first treat I put down for Dottie and one I put down for Candy, so he got scolded. I brought along the three birthday tiaras I had from the last birthday, and the shih tzus took turns wearing them.

A few people we saw commented that I was brave to walk four dogs, and I agreed! I told them I normally wouldn’t attempt it but it was a special day. 

Mother-daughter birthday date

Dottie Shih Tzu in her new birthday dress.When we  came home, I settled the other shih tzus in, and then took Dottie back out to the car with me for our “mother-daughter” date. She sat in the front seat with me for about three-quarters of the way, not shaking at all, and then climbed into the back.
Our destination was Muttz, a pet store where I bought the shih tzus Big Bark “steer sticks” (pizzles — translate “penises”) several months back. I called before we left to make sure they had some in stock. The woman told me they were having difficulty getting in the large bag I bought before but that they had a one-pound bag of steer stick pieces, which sounded better for the shih tzus than the larger ones anyway.  

Dottie obediently followed me into the store and stood next to me while I looked at jerky and other treats. When the clerk came to say hello, however, Dottie started shaking. I explained that she came from a puppy mill and still wasn’t very good with people. 

I bought the steer stick pieces and a piece of duck jerky for Dottie, and when we were leaving, I spotted a blue flowered dress that was half off. I hadn’t been going to dress Dottie or the others up this year, because I know I like it more than they do, but it was so cute that I had to try it on Dottie. I ended up buying it. The clerk asked if it was Dottie’s first time in the store, and I said yes. She said she could get a free toy, and I told her that was great since it was Dottie’s birthday. I picked out a stuffed star to go with the yellow flowers in Dottie’s dress.

On the way home, I decided to buy a cheeseburger and small fries for the shih tzus (and me) to share. I took them all out on the porch and put a small piece of hamburger and fries in each of their food bowls. 





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