Let’s be honest. People really only get dogs for two reasons. They may say that they’re getting a dog for companionship, or to teach their kids responsibility, or because they love going for walks at the crack of dawn before work, in the rain. But that’s not the real reason why people get dogs. Dogs are really only justifiably useful for two things: barking at sketchy people, and keeping the floor licked clean.
Anyone who knows me very well already knows about Brody, my jack russell. And if you’ve been to my house, he’s probably assumed his preferred position on top of your lap. While undeniably adorable, he is 1000% useless when it comes to these two critical dog tasks. The only people he barks ferociously at are: 1) my boss and 2) the Pagliacci Pizza delivery guy. Come on. Those are two pretty important people, and I do not (DO NOT) want to scare them off. And as for cleaning up the crumbs on the floor? Well he barely lifts his head when I drop raw meat on the floor, so he certainly hasn’t put the dirt devil out of work just yet.
While it occasionally drives me nuts that his only two talents are looking obscenely adorable and removing the stuffing and squeakers from new toys in Guinness Record time, I can’t really blame him.* He’s a rescue dog, and I’m sure he lived some awful, terrible, deprived life on the dirty streets of Seattle before he came to me.** At least that’s the story I’m telling myself to justify the obscene lengths to which I go to spoil him. (More about the time SUE! UPS’ed him a box filled with 23 squeaking tennis balls later.)
So just about a year ago, Brody got really sick and started vomiting pretty much every single night around 2:00 in the morning. Luckily he sleeps in bed with me, so during the whole three-month debacle, he never got the carpet dirty once. (That statement should be read with extreme sarcasm. Because it’s much more fun when they throw up ON you.) After a half dozen or so trips to the vet, waaayyy too much money in labs, x-rays, and scans, and changing his food a bunch of times, I started doing research on dog food and nutrition. To make a very very long story short, it turns out that dogs are a lot like people- some have quirky food issues. Turns out mine just doesn’t do well with dry kibble. It also turns out that a lot of the dog food on the market is the k9 equivalent of cheese whiz and contains all sorts of non-dog food stuff that can make an already sensitive stomach even sicker. Go figure, crappy dog food is just as bad for dogs as crappy human food is for humans. So fast forward a year and my little dog is back to his old, spoiled, non-vomiting self. If you really want to know what did the trick, he loves Nature’s Logic Raw. And I love that it costs more to feed him than it does to feed a child! (Again, statement laden with sarcasm.) I’m sort of proud of myself that I resisted the urge to become completely obsessed with feeding my dog and cooking for him. From scratch. While I eat yogurt for dinner since I’m out of time to cook my own dinner.
If you have a dog you know how it goes – your circle of friends migrates to include – almost exclusively – other dog lovers. Really, it’s inevitable. Who else will come over to your house, knowing full well that they will leave covered in dog hair?
This weekend was a new high in my dog-obsessed life: Brody and I got invited to another dog’s birthday party. As soon as I saw the evite, I was consumed with one thought: HOMEMADE DOG BISCUITS. (Non-dog owners/lovers hang in here, I promise this post also includes one *delicious* recipe, suitable for human consumption! See photo below. YUM.)
I’ve never made dog biscuits, but come on, it was Bella’s 12th birthday. This was huge. And Brody feels self conscious showing up for a party without a gift. I was going to get all clever and make dog biscuits that were tasty enough that people would want to eat them, too. But that just didn’t happen, and I know because I tasted them. They’re a little, um, dry. Thankfully, the dogs responded much more favorably.
This party was a combo hike and breakfast soiree, so I also brought my favorite Apple Muffins. These *scream* fall, and as soon as the grocery store starts piling the season’s new crop of apples in every spare nook and cranny, I have to make them. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of oil and no applesauce, and the muffins are amazingly chewy and rich, though the oil slick they leave on the napkin scares my arteries to death. I substitute half applesauce and the result is a little more applesauce cake-like, marginally more healthy, and no less delicious. Depending on how juicy the apples are that you use, this dough can a little, um, difficult at first. Let’s be honest. It’s pretty stiff and you will get blisters stirring it with your wooden spoon. You may even curse me and swear to never try one of my recipes again. Hang in there. Keep stirring. It will come together just about the time when you’re ready to throw it out, bowl and all. I promise you, this these muffins are worth it. Don’t get all tricky and try to do it in the food processor, I tried. You have to work for these babies.
Next time you’re in the grocery store and apples are practically free, grab a few and let me know what you think. And even more importantly, if you try out the dog biscuit recipe, I need to know how it goes. Enjoy!
* Who am I kidding, I am absolutely obsessed with my dog, and pretty much nothing about him drives me nuts.
** Given his tendency (from day one) to comfortably plop himself on top of pillows of all kind any chance he gets, I think it’s fairly safe to say he was far from a third-world dog before I got him.
Click here to print this recipe.
Adapted from: SUE!’s Apple Muffin recipe
Yields: 24 muffins
Time to prepare: 40 minutes
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups peeled, finely chopped apples
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins with baking spray, or line with muffin papers.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add in the apples oil, applesauce, nuts and vanilla.
Divide batter among muffin tins, filling about 1/2 to 2/3 full. (An ice cream scoop is the prefect size.)
Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, and Bacon Dog Cookies
Click here to print this recipe.
Yields: 5 dozen small biscuits
Time to prepare: 1 hour
1 1/4 cups pureed pumpkin
3 tablespoons peanut butter (no sugar added)
4 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking matt.
Whisk together the pumpkin, peanut butter, egg, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms.
Knead the dough on a floured work surface until thoroughly combined. Roll out to 1/3″ thickness. Cut into small biscuit size with a cookie cutter or pizza cutter. Make cute little paw prints with your index finger and the top of a pen cap if you like.
Bake 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until biscuits are dry. If you would like chewier biscuits (good for old dogs missing a few teeth) remove from the oven after 20 minutes.