Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Treats

  I very much enjoy giving the dogs a little goodie every day, usually after they've had their breakfast.  Most days, it's something ready made--we stocked up when Costco had a sale on all beef treats--but sometimes I do the baking or lately, dehydrating. (more on that in a future post)
  I almost always bake something for an individual dog's birthday, which all get to enjoy and also for Christmas.  I've started collecting recipes, have a couple of treat cookbooks and am now including other holidays for homemade treats.
  Today being Valentine's Day, I was looking for a cookie that I could make heart shaped, preferably with a red hue to it.  I also wanted to include my dog walking clients as recipients and needed an inexpensive recipe that made a large quantity.  I found a recipe in Doggy Desserts by Cheryl Gianfrancesco that pretty much fit the bill.  While the treats didn't come out as red as I had hoped, it was easy enough to use a heart shaped cookie cutter instead of the dog bone shape and not have it affect the baking time or the results.  The Collies loved it!

Red Bones
1/4 cup freeze dried liver (available at pet stores)
1 cup water
1/2 cup all natural tomato juice, no salt added
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup wheat germ

Place freeze-dried liver chunks in a blender, and blend to a powder.  In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients.  Knead the dough on a floured surface.  Roll out the dough to 1/4 thickness, and cut shapes with a dog bone cookie cutter.  Put the cookies on a baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  When done, the cookies should be firm to the touch.  Turn the oven off, and leave the cookies in for 1 to 2 hours to harden.
 Yield:  Approximately 80 two-inch cookies

The finished treats!

Enough treats to give to my dog walking clients, too!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Visit to the Dog Park

  We've had some teasers of springs the last couple of weeks and I've taken advantage of it.  Besides washing my vehicle for a temporary respite of owning a road salt/muddy Sequoia, I spent a warm Sunday at the dog park with Gibson.
  I wanted some solo time with Gibson and wanted a place he could have fun.  It's been a couple of years since I visited the park but remembered it's usually a bit on the muddy side.  Since Gibson was already overdue for a bath, I thought that would be a great destination for our outing!
  Our first stop was by the pond, to watch the geese swim lazily about.  Gibson seemed bored by this and anxious to be where the action was, so after getting a couple of photos, off we went.
  Gibson is very social with our own dogs, always in the mix of things, but at the dog park, he's very stand offish, prefering to watch the other dogs.  He also likes to check out the various scent markings from the other dogs, which takes a lot of time.  By the time Gibson's ready to play with the different groups, they've given up on him and ignore him as he makes an attempt to join in.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm watching groups of children interacting instead of dogs!
  Since I'm not a regular at the park, I don't interact much with the other owners, which gives me lots of time for observing.  People can be as funny as dogs!  I would think, being dog lovers, everyone would be petting and playing with all the dogs, but that's not the case.  Often, if Gibson would walk by someone, they would back up or ignore him.  Balls dropped at their feet by a dog not their own, would also be ignored.  That's when I remembered why we don't take advantage of the dog park that often.  Besides always seeming a bit muddy, or in very dry weather, very buggy, it's not a great place for socialization!
  Gibson did start to play more readily with newcomers but when his frequency of circling back to where I was seated  increased, I figured he was ready to go home.  He readily jumped into the Sequoia, but seemed tired and content.  We both enjoyed our spring preview and our anxious for more outings!

Good day for a swim!

Gibson and a new friend explore a good scent.

The Corgi had no problem keeping up with the big guys!

Follow the Leader?