TianZi Shih Tzu

Quality isn't expensive...it's priceless!


Recent news and random meanderings.

view:  full / summary

And suddenly...it's fall!

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Well, it's been 7 busy months since my last blog post, and a lot has happened!

Eve (TianZi's SS Sex and Candy) and Decker (TianZi's SS Caviar Dreams) from our Christmas Eve 2013 litter have matured beautifully and Eve started her show career in October.  She has done 3 shows and won her class each time, but since I have been working nights since April we have not been to training class.  It shows since she hasn't quite got the "gaiting nicely on lead" part of things down, especially in Winners:  she can't decide whether she wants to play with the dog in front of her or the one in back of her, so it's one of those "...looks like a rodeo met a circus" (Thanks to Jan Bebee for the expression) things.  Luckily, I'm back on days now so should be able to get both pups to training class weekly.  Eve will be shown one weekend in December and then we will seriously be chasing those Championship points in 2015.  Decker will follow her, unless I can get the DH to go to training class too.  If so, perhaps he can start before she is fininshed!

Following our usual process, we bred Mona again on her next season (to our Ch. SarJan's As If, "Corbin") and got a singleton girl on September 4.  She was tiny at birth - only 4.6 ounces - and I was worried but she has thrived and at 9 weeks is simply amazing.  Since she had a tiny brown spot on her white shawl and a tiny white spot on her brown saddle at birth, I called her...wait for it...DOT!  Her registed name is TianZi's Connecting The Dots and I have high hopes for her.  Looks like Mona (a Ch. Drake daughter) is well on her way to being a Top Producer!

A friend used Ch. Corbin with one of her girls last fall and Ch. Drake on another girl a few months later.  The boy she kept from Corbin finished in less than a month and both boys from Ch. Drake also finished in less than a month.  One was Breeder/Owner handled in exactly 4 shows for 4 4-point majors, collecting a Best Toy Puppy and a Best Owner-Handler Toy Puppy along the way.  I am SO proud of my boys!

We also brought home a gorgeous black Miniature Poodle show prospect this fall and look forward to getting him in the ring next year.  I just let him run and play for a day, then finally stacked him on the table and thought, "DAMN!  She sure knows what I like in a Poodle!"

Getting off the subject of dogs, our White-bellied Caique (Pitu) continues to do well and makes us laugh every day.  He is a very loving little bird and can say a few words (it is not a breed that is known for talking).  Right now, we're working on "I love you!".

I cooked 100 pounds of tomatoes down to sauce again this year, as well as blanching dozens of ears of sweet corn and taking the kernels off the cob to freeze.  I also roasted several dozen red bell peppers, skinned and seeded them, and froze them.  I have always loved cooking and like to preserve food in summer to use in winter.

Happy Fall to All!

What a nice day!

Posted on April 12, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Although breezy, our Chicagoland winter seems to be on the ebb...we have had nice temperatures the last few days and the dogs have really enjoyed spending more time outside...especially the puppies!  I do wish our town would allow us to fence the yard so they could have more room to run and play, but we make do as we can.  Puppy pens linked together close to the house are a Godsend in an area where there are a LOT of hawks around!

I had the opportunity to talk for a while yesterday with an old Shih Tzu friend:  we have not really worked together but we have much the same opinion on Breeding/exhibiting.  She has been in the breed for a quarter-century and always has some great pearls of wisdom to impart.  As well, we have the same slightly-twisted sense of humor and always make each-other laugh.

We are really happy with the Ch. Reese/Mona puppies we have retained and look forward to placing their brothers in wonderful fur-ever homes.  We are also excited about a friend's breeding with our Ch. Drake - hopefully one of the litter will fulfill her (and OUR) dreams.

Our tulips and joquils (daffs) are near to blooming, the tall bearded iris are throwing up new growth, and all the minor bulbs (except for the grape hyacinths) are up and blooming their little hearts out.  Our minor bulbs have been seeding themselves around the lawn for a number of years and we love looking out on the new grass with the little lovelies poking up above winter's debris.

Spring has sprung!

Well, it's been a long time...

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 8:35 PM

and a lot has happened in the last 15 months!  But things have settled-down here for us and we are happy to report we are back-on-track!

I am working only part-time at the grooming school, teaching theory and instructing now and then.  I was lucky enough to acquire a wonderful retired Ch. Mini Poodle in spring 2013 and he is my "demo dog" at school as well as a grooming competition dog.  He will have his own page as soon as I get organized enough, lol.  I have also been busy mentoring a former student who has just got her OWN future-Champion Mini Poodle pup so she is learning about grooming and handling and will also be entering the grooming competition ring later this year.  Frankly, I am grooming more Poodles right now than anything else!

We had a beautiful litter of 5 (1 girl, 4 boys) from our gorgeous little Mona (a Ch. Drake daughter) on Christmas Eve, sired by the group-winning Ch. Ryan's Reese's Pieces.  It took me FOREVER to decide between the boys as they are all so nice, but we will be retaining one of the boys along with the only girl with an eye to getting back in the ring later this year.

Hope everyone is well!

Happy Holidays!

Posted on December 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Wishing happy holiday(s) - whichever  holidays) you celebrate! - to all my friends!  I am blessed to have you in my life.



Posted on December 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM

I can't believe it's been over a month since I blogged!   On the other hand, I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger so please accept my apologies.

All our babies are settled in their new fur-ever home and bringing a great deal of joy to their new families.  Adele is learning to tolerate the daily grooming that is the lot of a future show dog - I have got her laying on her side for brushing now, something I didn't do soon enough with Lestat and Mona - and is a delight.

Lestat and I attended two local shows this past week and he was a perfect idiot both on the table and in the ring.  Time to crack down and get back to daily sessions and weekly training class in hopes he will remember what he knew a few months ago!

I did have a good time at the shows, chatting with some favorite Shih Tzu friends and a few other doggie friends I don't see often.  After being scolded on Thursday for setting-up on my own, I moved over with Greg on Friday and played "Handler's Assistant", which is always fun, even if my feet don't think so!  (Those of you who know me know that I NEVER wear shoes unless I have to...and pounding around on concrete while wearing shoes is a nightmare.)  I had planned to go to Rosemont to help him out again on Sunday, but the car died (frgging alternator) on the way there, so I missed.

BUT, some special news!  Ch. PJ will be bred to Chase (BIS/BISS GCh. Ista's Hurricain Chaser) on her next season.  We are hoping for something very special out of this pairing!

Until next time...

It's Election Day

Posted on November 6, 2012 at 9:25 PM

I voted this morning, and hope everyone else did, too.

I was supposed to spend the rest of the week at dog shows, but due to a few issues out of my control I will be staying home instead.  :(  So, I am looking at a quiet week to finish grooming all the dogs and getting everything together for the puppies to start going to their fur-ever homes next week.  They are darling and of course I will miss them...but I am ready!  Six puppies are a LOT of work and hopefully once I have them settled with their new families I will have time to do some other things I've been putting off, lol.

Corbin has a new name (all our dogs have multiple names).  Corbin's is "Monkey",   He tries very hard to use his front paws for hands and he is so full of life and so amusing...it was gonna happen sooner or later.  As always...I LOVE my boys.

We're SO excited!

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Got news today that one of our "exteded families" is expecting their first "skinkid" (as opposed to "furkid") next year!  Honestly, we couldn't be more excited.  They have given one of our puppies the perfect home and we know that baby and puppy (well, now an adult) will be BFFs.  Congratulations, guys! 

Fall is here!

Posted on October 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

After a couple of dreary, rainy, cold days we are having beautiful fall weather for the weekend!  After all the hustle and bustle (and strained tendons and head colds) of the last few weeks, this weekend finds us with a bit of down time.  Not too much, of course...around here, if we don't have too much to do we become confused.  ;)

The AKC has confirmed that PJ is now Ch. Ista's Glitter In the Air, and that NaNa has a total of 10 points with a major.  That means only 5 including a major for NaNa to finish!  Sarah hopes to have her done by the end of the year, and we have our fingers crossed.  If NaNa can finish this year that will mean we have 4 TianZi Champions in the last two years.  As well, our first bred-by puppies are looking promising and I look forward to fun in the ring with them in the coming months.

Along with the seasonal Halloween stores popping up, I am beginning to see Christmas decorations in some of the stores (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, etc.).  We ordered our Thanksgiving turkey last week (an organic, free-range bird raised locally).  I can't believe the winter holidays are closing in so quickly!  I started buying holiday gifts this week because if I wait for the DH to help we'll do it all 12/23 and be broke until 2013 (ask me how I know).

Today we decided to go on a "date" and went to see Seven Psychopaths.  What a winner!  Of course, the fact that the movie revolves (in one plot line) a purloined Shih Tzu, several members of the outstanding cast are big favorites of ours so we were looking forward to it.  You just know that when Christopher Walken is the most "normal" character in a cast, you are in for something special, lol.  We really enjoyed the movie.  Rich was hoping to see a trailer for "The Hobbit", but no such luck.  We did, however, reserve our IMAX 3D tickets for the day after that one opens.  Can't wait!

Good news from Tammarie and Greg Larson this week!  Tammarie's scans all looked great, so it appears her chemo is working really well.  I know that some of the side effects are hard for her to tolerate, but all-in-all she is still fighting her battle with the grace that we have all become accustomed to and we are so happy for the family.  More prayers going out to the Larsons!

Till next time, y'all!

Happy October!

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 12:40 AM

We've had a lot happening here in the last couple of weeks!

At the Freeport shows on 9/29 - 9/30, PJ was BOW on Saturday for a 4-point major (her third),  Lestat won his 9-12 puppy class with good competition, Mona won her 9-12 puppy class (the only one but was she CUTE!).  On Sunday NaNa was BOW for her first (3 point) major.

This past weekend at Yorkvile KC, NaNa was WB on Saturday for 1 point and BOW on Sunday for 2 points.  This brings her total to 8 with a major.  On Saturday, Greg's Ch. Bruno (he is pursuing his Grand with Sarah) was BOB/G3 for a 5 point major towards his Grand and Sarah's Ch. Elliott was Select for 2 points towards his Grand.  On Sunday, the boys reversed their placements.  Although the show site was miserable and I am limping around on a bruised heel, one can't really bitch too much when all the dogs we took won every day!

We also got the happy news from Greg on Saturday that PJ finished her Championship!  When you tell Greg to "git er done", he sure does the job in short order, lol.

Sarah stayed with us for the weekend and it was wonderful spending the time with her.  She evaluated our puppies and Jess (now Adele - TianZi's Rolling In The Deep) will be staying here with us.

I had a lovely experience on Sunday that has left me with a very warm, fuzzy feeling.  Back in 1990, Jere Marder (Lambluv Old English Sheepdogs) showed her bitch Ch. Lamluv Moptop Showstopper to a G1 at the Garden.  I wasn't there that year, but just watching on TV something about "Showy" really caught my eye:  to this day I tend to compare every OES I see in the ring to her.  Every time I've seen Jere across the building at a show or in an ad, I always think of that particular night.

On Sunday, she stopped by our setup to speak with another friend and - being me - I just blurted out, "You're Jere Marder, aren't you?"  When she said yes, I went into my song-and-dance about Showy (hoping all the while she wouldn't think I was just a nutjob).  She was actually delighted I remembered that evening, and we spoke a couple more times that day.  What a lovely lady (and I DO mean lady - the very definition of one).

Once again, I was glad I opened my mouth.  Perhaps it is fortunate I'm not editing as much as I get older lol.  I may yet acheive my ultimate goal of being old enough that I can say whatever I'm thinking and everyone will say to whomever I've just insulted "Shhhhhhhhhh...she's old.  Don't mind her.  She doesn't know what she's saying."


TOO much going on!

Posted on September 23, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Apparently, it's either early Alzheimers or I just really, REALLY need a vacay.  I was talking to a lovely lady this afternoon who we have approved to purchase one of our pupies and we got into a discussion about their 4-week birthday.  I swore it was last Thursday and she seemed a smidge confused.  Thinking about it later, I realized I was counting CALENDAR weeks and she is counting by the date from one month to the next.  LOL!  I do hope she hasn't decided I'm completely nuts.

PJ won another point yesterday at Sheboygan, bringing her total (I believe) to 9 with both majors out of the way.  Haven't heard anything about today's show.  Next weekend is the Battle of the Girls of TianZi, as PJ and NaNa (half-sisters) will meet in the ring for the first time.  BIG majors, and although I of course hope my girls will do the winning I am also rooting for a friend's bitch who just needs a major to finish.

I will also be showing Mona and Lestat:  like thier Daddy Drake they are starting their coat-blow at 10 months with daily HUGE mats behind each ear.  Hopefully I can keep enough hair on them in that area that they won't embarrass me completely. 

We did 4-week individual portraits of the bebes yesterday and they are posted in the Nursery.  They are SO much fun to watch right now as they start to play with one another, Mama and even me.  The milk teeth are starting to come in and they enjoy gnawing on my fingers when I hold and love on them.

Seven Psychopaths

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 1:55 PM

This movie will hit the theatres in October.  I love the cast and the Shih Tzu is adorable, but I fear what it will mean for Shih Tzu in the US.  Much like the "101 Dalmations" Disney movie sent people screaming for Dalmations in 1997, this one will likely send people screaming for Shih Tzu next year, as they did again for Brussels Griffons after "As Good As It' Gets" in 1997.

In both cases, thousands of "purebred" Dals and Griffs ended up in shelters and rescues when the new owners realized that they had bought more than they thought they had from all those puppy millers, pet stores, and backyard breeders.  Deaf Dals, Dals with terrible temperament issues, sickly Griffs.  Has anyone noticed that neither Breed is in high demand these days?  Of course not.  Dalmations and Brussels Griffons are both wonderful dogs, when bred and reared properly. 

I expect that the puppy mills and backyard breeders are preparing to breed more puppies than ever before to meet the demand for Shih Tzu that "Seven Psychopaths" will bring.  We will NOT breed puppies to meet this demand, and our requirements for homes for our beloved puppies will become more stringent.

A Long, Fun Day

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM

I was up at 4:00 a.m. yesterday to make the drive up to Manitowoc, WI to help Greg get his dogs ready for the ring.  With a Standard Poodle, 2 Miniature Poodles and 5 Shih Tzu to get prepped by 10:45 a.m. (what in the world was that scheduler THINKING?), he really needed a hand!  We managed to get the job done in time and I had fun playing "handler's assistant"!

PJ won her second major and I loved watching her in the ring with Greg.  She showed really well for him and has grown up from a pretty adolescent to a very beautiful and typey young lady.

On the "Puppy Front", the babies are 3 1/2 weeks old and thriving.  They are beginning to play with each other and when I pick them up little tails are trying to wag.  We will try to get some new pictures to share in the next couple of days.

Good news from our friend Barb Brem, who finished her girl Heidi over the weekend.  She had asked me to make some bows specifically for Heidi's very dramatic coloring and she was wearing one when she fininshed:  she did look beautiful in it and I was so pleased!  I just love that particular bow...think I'll make one for ME!


Welcome September!

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I am always glad when September rolls around!  I know that even if it's still hot outside, temperatures will begin to glide down a bit soon and hopefully I will be able to turn the A/C off and just enjoy.  I don't do well in heat (I think I've made that quite clear in the past, lol!) and I always look forward to the first hard frost:  you know...when the fleas and the allergens die for a few months!

The Six-Pack are thriving.  They are so fat and glossy and getting so big.  :)  Eyes and ears are open now and although it will be another week before they really start interacting with us, they have no objection to being picked-up and cuddled numerous times daily.  I am thinking that when they move out of the nursery and into the kitchen (around 6 weeks), they will probably need the space of the 4X4 whelping pen.  That means the kitchen table will be getting moved WAY over...or maybe removed from the room.  Anything for our puppies!

Mona and Lestat are absolute teenage punks right now, growing lots of hair and preparing for their show careers in earnerst.  Lestat in particular is flexing his raging hormones.  The two are allowed one play-period a day with the adult dogs, and Lestat keeps picking fights with his dad Drake...and getting his clock cleaned.  He also occasionally tries with Corbin and  Jack.  Corbin just beats the crap out of him and then walks away.  Jack puts up with it for a little while, then basically picks him up, puts him on his back on the floor, and wipes the floor with him.  Mona (being a bitch) is a little sneakier and just concentrates on getting the girls all riled-up:  then when someone gives her a much-deserved lesson in manners, she screams as if all her legs are being torn-off and throws herself at me.  Obviously, I don't let anyone actually get hurt but I DO allow the lesson before separating them.

Pitu is entertaining us as well.  He is a bit of a brat (heck, he's just a baby), but - as with dogs and children - I don't put up with that so he is learning quickly what is and what is NOT allowed.  Given his way, he would be out of his cage 24/7 causing havoc.  However, I take him out frequently and we "tour" the house together.  He is allowed to inspect everything as much as he wishes without causing damage and his favorite activity at the moment is "hiding" under my hair when I let him on my shoulder.  I suppose this will soon lead to the Caique habit of "hair surfing", which should be a lot of fun.  He is really a sweet bird with a great personality and once Rich gets over being afraid of his beak I think the two will be best friends.

We had a wonderful Labor Day cookout.  My son Drew was in charge of smoking the brisket.  I was in charge of the baked beans and garden pasta salad.  The In-Laws (our dear Tomlinsons) brought cheese and crackers for nibbles, lots of beer, bottled water and soft drinks, and yummy desserts.  BIL Bob and niece Colleen arrived with wine and applesauce (the applesauce is for a FUTURE dinner of roast pork and root veggies) and their good company to complete the day.  Next family get-together?  We're thinking Samhain (Halloween) for Spook-ghetti and eyeballs!

Later, ya'll!

WOW! What a weekend!

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM

A long weekend, really!  We started off welcoming Corbin and Kelly's babies on the 23rd.  Later that day I got a call from Greg Larson letting me know PJ had won her first point.

On Saturday we picked up our White Bellied Caique, Pitu'.  He is getting used to us and is a very entertaining little clown of a bird.

Yesterday Jan and Sara came to see the babies (looks like we have 3 solid red/golds and 3 partis).  We had a leisurely brunch and then groomed NaNa up for the show at the house.  We arrived ringside at exactly the right time so didn't have to wait long before Shih Tzu were up.

Due to some "funny business" the previous day by another exhibitor I had asked Sara to show NaNa:  we were a bit worried because although she has always shown beautifully for me she and Sara have always had a bit of an adversarial relationship.  However, at ringside NaNa suddenly seemed to "get" that I wanted her to do her thing with Sara and did she ever!  She was simply gorgeous and never put a paw wrong so in the end was WB and BOS.  The judge "did the right thing" by putting the sole class dog up to BOW and BOB so he would also earn points.

Immediately after the show Sara and Jan set out for home with NaNa in tow:  Sara will be showing her to her title since I am just getting out-handled by all the pros and Sara IS a pro so she will get the job done much faster than I could.

The new puppies are thriving - fat and glossy - and mama Kelly is very, very proud of them and herself.  She's SUCH a wonderful mom!

So, an exciting weekend here at TianZi!  That's all for now!

Resting Comfortably

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Everyone passed the post-natal checkup with flying colors.  My vet is in love with Kelly and is amazed at the ease with which she popped-out 6 puppies in 75 minutes and bounced right back to being my "leaping lizard".

Looks like our solid girl is actually "something" with tan points.  Sara and Jan will be here Sunday after the shows to have a look at them:  since they have much more experience than I do with "color" we may have some idea what's going on here then.

Bebes are looking fat and happy and we aren't hearing many puppy squeaks because when they're not eating they're sleeping...just as they should be.  At one point this evening Kelly had them lined up sleeping like sardines in a can and was just sitting next to them looking very, very proud of herself...as SHE should be!

Rich is in thrall to the babies (as usual) and keeps muttering "...puppy breath..." when he thinks I can't hear.


Posted on August 24, 2012 at 5:45 AM

...and a boy...and a boy...and a girl...and a girl...and a girl!  Whelped between 2:25 a.m. and 3:40 a.m.  (I was right.  I just KNEW she was gonna wait until the middle of the night!)

One parti boy, two solid red/gold boys, two parti girls (not a lot of white) and one solid red/gold girl.  Kelly may have made me crazy waiting for them to arrive, but once she got down to business it was all I could do to record and weigh a pup before the next one was delivered.  Mama and bebes resting comfortably now, and I'm hoping the adrenaline will subside enough so I can get some rest myself soon.

Later this morning (it's now almost 5:00 a.m.) we are off to the vet for a postnatal checkup and pit shot for Kelly, and then I have to bathe NaNa and go set up for the show weekend.  Maybe I can get some rest NEXT week!


Posted on August 23, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Kelly's labor has begun, stage one since around 10:00 a.m. (that I am aware of).  Her temp this morning dropped to 97.5, she refused food, glued herself in the whelping box, got that worried look in here eyes and around 11:00 she retched a bit.  She gets upset if I leave the room.  I called my vet to alert him that things were underway and now...we wait.

A little while ago I called Jan to let her know we were "OK GO" and she started to laugh and said, "You need to name a puppy that!  But spell it Oh Kay Goh!"  So, thank you Jan for naming my "keeper", lol!  And I stil think I will name one "Pajama Day".  (Private joke.)

Hopefully, my next post will report on healthy puppies and Mama.  :)

Update!  Got a call from Greg Larson - PJ (Ista's Glitter In The Air) was WB today for her first point at Manhattan KS KC.  It's her first show we Greg and we are tickled Pink!

On the launchpad and counting down

Posted on August 19, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Kelly is absolutely enormous and her temperature has been 99 for the past 24 hours so we should be seeing new puppies shortly.

NaNa and Lestat and I will be at the Elgin KC show in St. Charles, IL this weekend...assuming Kelly co-operates by having her puppies at least one day before, lol.  After Elgin, NaNa will be visitng her breders at SarJan's Shih Tzu as Sara wants to show her from Bred-by.  Although we will miss her, as a professional handler Sara should be able to get her finished much faster than I could!

Once NaNa has gone to IA, Lestat will be my primary dog and Mona will be growing hair and getting ready to follow him into the ring.

A VERY busy day

Posted on August 11, 2012 at 10:10 PM

I was quite honestly exhausted after bathing, drying and trimming three older show puppies yesterday (I need a Jan!), but still managed to keep on-schedule and got to bed at a decent hour.  Today we spent lunchtime at the All American Grooming Show in Wheeling, IL where we had lunch with good friend Sarah Bebee and her niece/business partner Missy.  Ran into some old friends at the restaurant and later at the show.

 I only did the trade show today as I don't groom full-time any more so my needs are more directed to the show dogs and I made Chris Christensen a VERY happy man.  I mean...heck!  Why should I pay for shipping if I don't have to?  When Chris saw me hauling gallons off the shelves he gallantly assisted me (did I mention he's a great businessman?).  After that we had a nice long talk and I am REALLY excited about some items he's got "in the pipeline".  Was also delighted to meet Lisa Christensen, who promises she is working on yet ANOTHER item to make life easier for groomers and exhibitors.

After delivering a VERY large box of products to my sherpa...errr...husband for transport to the car, I was able to spend a little time with old friends, old students and even a NEW friend.  To my old friends:  I love you.  To my old students:  I love you more than you can imagine, and am so very proud of you all!!!  To my new friend:  go with your heart, study, you WILL get where you want to be!

After that we were off to Ginza Holiday at the Midwest Buddhist Temple.  This cultural holiday happens one weekend a year and we simply don't miss it.  I don't know what I enjoy most:  the temple itself, the waza (where we always find amazing hand-crated items), the stage (I am ALL ABOUT the Taiko drumming) or the BEST chicken teriyaki dinner in the world. 


Posted on August 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM

a break in the weather!  The jet stream has dipped south and we have had a couple days of rain and much cooler temperatures:  the cooler temps should stick around a few days.  It's lovely to be able to have the windows open!

Spoke with Greg briefly and he has PJ entered in 7 shows now - 3 next weekend and 4 the following.  He posted some wonderful new pics of her litter brother Ch. Louis on Facebook, and I am hoping he can make PJ look half as terriffic.

Two weeks from her due date and Kelly is ENORMOUS.  I was going to forego the "spine-counting" X-ray but am starting to re-consider.  Calling the vet in a while to see what he thinks.

That's all for now...today is bath day for the show dogs so I'm going to be busy!