Mu Shu, the nearly forgotten family pet

I've spent the last few minutes reflecting on my informal and completely undocumented goal of writing at least 4 web log entries per month. So far so-so.

As I was looking back at my entries, I noticed that I had not blogged about, or even mentioned our Shih Tzu (pronounced sheets•zoo, so stop snickering), Mu Shu.

Mu Shu doesn't read my blog — she's illiterate — so I don't think there are any damaged feelings. However, I'm certain she would be crushed if she knew I had written about my friend, Alfred the bat, but not a syllable about her. I can't take that risk.

Compounding my guilt is Mu Shu having to take a back seat since Simeon's birth. It was bound to happen, but I don't think she could have predicted how little we would be throwing her squeaky toy.

I'm going to try and make it up to her by telling you, and whomever happens to read this, what Mu Shu has reminded me of in recent months.

Be less predictable.
It didn't take long for Mu Shu to have my tracks sniffed out. She usually knows where I'm going and what I'm going to do before I do. In the morning, she waits by the stairs when she hears my electric toothbrush, because she knows I will turn my closet light off next and head downstairs. She stops at the threshold below and cranes her neck back as if to encourage me in the steps she knows I will make. She almost always knows where I'm going before I'm there. My paths are so well worn and Mu Shu knows it. While I am a creature of habit, she's inspired me to change some things up. Now, I occasionally mix yogurt into my cereal on occasion, instead of milk; and sometimes I read after Sarah goes to bed instead of watching television; and when I'm feeling crazy, I get the newspaper before I pour my cereal into the bowl.

Family is worth protecting.
Mu Shu stands proud with Napoleonic stature and is in the same weight class as other common watch dogs — the bullying Bichon Frise, the loathsome Llasa Apso, and the malicious Maltese.

If she hears the whine of our front or back gate, she lets the whole neighborhood know our family force field has been breached. (I often have to explain to her that these are invited guests, at which point she is wagged by her tail to the point of dizziness and she snorts like a pig — perhaps because we named her after a Chinese pork dish.)

She often lays on the the threshold of Simeon's bedroom as if to say, "Nothing to see here. Everything's under control. Move along." She is a constant reminder that family is worth protecting.

Maintain a non-anxious presence.
Simeon is neck-deep in the Grabby Phase. Considering MuShu's deep affection for Simeon, she often positions herself within baby fathom. Simeon yanks, tugs, jerks and tweaks Mu Shu's ears, whiskers, head and tail without mercy; and she just sits there. She doesn't necessarily like it. But she doesn't nip at him — not so much as a yelp; she doesn't even run away; She tolerates it.

While I am neck-deep in the Everything-Simeon-Does-Is-Cute Phase, I know it won't last forever. There will be times when Simeon will push any one of my many buttons, and keep pushing them, in fact. In those red button moments, I'll do my best to remember Mu Shu remaining non-anxious as Simeon mistook her tail for a teething ring.


  1. keep writing its very entertaining!!

  2. Did he really bite her tail? And did you really just say, "the bullying Bichon Frise, the loathsome Llasa Apso, and the malicious Maltese"? Because man, that made me inordinately happy. Not the tail biting part; for that I sympathized with Ms. Shu, but for the other part. That made me happy. And what else is writing supposed to do, really?