In Celebration of National Dog Biscuit Day 2013

It’s a fundamental truth that there are few things in life that a dog loves more than a dog biscuit. But I think that the dog biscuit manufacturers have a pretty good lobby if they got themselves a national day to celebrate the humble treat.  Today my friends, is that very day.

Dog biscuits are central to Bettina’s whole belief system. She worships our magic bottomless treat jar. Blue and Bettina dance when they see a biscuit in my hand. Bettina does helicopters and tries to help me out by jumping up to get the biscuit from me so I don’t have to bend over and give it to her. She’s very considerate that way.

Happy National Dog Biscuit Day 2013
One of my favorite things to do for the furry kids is to make them my special homemade pumpkin pie biscuits. I bake a little love into each batch. We make vast quantities of these biscuits at Christmas time and share them with all our canine friends. Well, Mumma shares them with our canine friends. Bettina and Blue would prefer that I didn’t allow the smallest biscuit crumb to escape from our house.

In honor of National Dog Biscuit Day, Blue and Bettina have agreed to let me share the recipe for our special biscuits. You can make a double batch of dough and freeze half for later.

YIKMDLF Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Biscuits

½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup oatmeal
2 cups buckwheat flour

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Dough will be dry. If it isn’t holding together you can add a bit more water as needed but you want the dough to be on the dry side. Rollout the dough to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut cookies out with your favorite dog themed cookie cutters (we use dog bones and fire hydrants). Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven until golden. About 40 minutes.

You can leave out the oatmeal and add a bit more buckwheat flour for a completely grain free treat. You may also substitute regular flour for buckwheat flour.

These cookies will smell amazing while they are cooking and it is not unheard of to find hounds standing around the oven drooling while they bake. Enjoy!


Magical Thinking

My love for you shall live forever. 
You, however, did not.  
~Lemony Snicket 

Today would have been Girly Girl’s 10th birthday.  She’s been gone more than 2 years now and I still think about her every day.  Since she left, I have read countless stories of people who have lost their greyhounds to cancer.  Some of those people had even less time with their hounds than I had with my sweet girl.  I feel so angry and cheated about our short 3 ½ years together.  I can’t imagine what people feel like who had even less time than that. 

Girly Girl greyhound-steel core magnolia
I confess to a certain amount of magical thinking where Girly Girl is concerned.  I often wonder just how far I might go to get her back.  I’ve thought about what I’d be prepared to give up if the end result were she came back to me.  An arm?  My house?  Blue?  Bettina?  Everything?  What if I had the option of a pet cemetery like the one in Stephen King’s novel Pet Sematary.  In that cemetery you had to bury your dead pet in the right spot and it returned to you alive.  The only problem was that it came back evil with the intent to kill you.  There is always fine print in any contract.  Knowing the result of a choice to bury her in a place like that, would I do it?  Would it be worth the eventual loss of my own life to have her back again? 

I think about having her cloned using DNA from the hair we clipped before she was cremated.  They say that you can end up with a dog that looks almost identical to the one you had.   Would it be enough to get a hound that looks exactly like her but is completely different in personality?  My cloned hound would not have a hock fracture, a hatred of snakes or a love for wild strawberries.  What if I got a hound that was similar to her in personality and mannerisms but looked nothing like her?  Would I be happy with either of those hounds? 

Lest you worry, I fully understand how insane these lines of thought are.  I know that these sorts of bargains can never be made and for very good reason.  The fine print gets you every time.  Would I be happy with a Girly Girl whose personality was completely changed from the Girly Girl I knew?  Probably not.  Would the thought of being able to fill the giant empty space in my heart tempt me to consider such an option were it actually available?  I would be a liar if I said it wouldn’t.  Would I give Blue or Bettina back if that were the only way to bring Girly Girl back home?   That’s a Sophie’s choice situation.  One big empty space might be filled, but two more spaces would be created. 

I think it’s the absolute powerlessness I feel over the course of events that led us to this point which causes me to explore these darker corners.  Once the diagnosis was given, the end result was a foregone conclusion.  We were sitting on those train tracks with no ability to get away, signal the driver or in any other way stop that train.  We ran around like crazy chickens with our heads cut off yet every time we looked up to see where the train was, we were somehow right back on the tracks and that train was so much closer. 

The truth of it all is that on any given day, I’m really not sure what I’d do if somehow presented with the option to get Girly Girl back at some great cost to me.  The thing that made Girly Girl so special was her soul and the experiences she went through that shaped her into the steel core magnolia she was.  It didn’t have to do with her mannerisms or her outer shell.    So here’s to Girly Girl’s would be 10th birthday.  You are so very missed by your crazy Mumma.



Bettina greyhound worships at the treat altar
Since Bettina hasn't allowed me to photograph her rituals, we have had to
stage another dramatic recreation...
There is very little about Bettina that could be considered Zen or enlightened.  She’s generally wound tighter than a drum.  There is no point in walking when you can run.  There is no point in running when you can bounce or hop about.   And why suffer silence when you can cry, whine and bark?  Bettina does not just exist.  She rages.

Yet in the midst of the maelstrom that is Bettina, there is a tiny kernel of Zen-like practice.  A reverence for something which borders on religious awe.  You see, Bettina worships the magic treat jar.  Don’t misunderstand me.  It is nothing like a typical canine loves a treat.  For Bettina it is a faith, a creed, a dogma (if you will forgive my sinking to the obvious pun). 

Our treats live on a small banquette in the entryway to the kitchen.  There are a number of different jars but the one that Bettina reveres is made out of glass with a metal lid.  For Bettina, the treat jar is a great mystery of life.  It has, for the full extent of her life with us, remained constantly full.  A miracle akin to the 8 days of light with 1 day’s worth of oil.  Like the fishes and the loaves. 

Blue the greyhound as stunt double
Just in case we couldn't get the right picture of Bettina, Blue was
willing to step in as our stunt double.
Bettina cherishes this mystery.  Like praying towards Mecca, she stops at the banquette ‘alter’, reaches her nose up in awe and gently touches the jar lid which jingles a little with a soft tink.  She does this at a minimum of 5 times a day.  She doesn’t even need a call to prayer or any sort of prayer paraphernalia.  Her joy in this devotion is pure and simple.  Nose to jar lid, tink, assurance that all is right with the world.

Like any good pilgrim, she has never tried to pull back the curtain to discover the truth behind the mystery.  She has never tried to see Oz.  She could, if she put her mind to it only slightly, knock the lid off.  Or indeed it would be easy to knock the jar itself off its perch.  She could place her front feet on the banquette and be eye to eye with a veritable treat bonanza.  And lord knows she has made deep investigation into many things in our house that I would have preferred she did not.  Some things took a good deal of creativity and ingenuity to accomplish.
But she takes the magic treat jar at face value.  For this one thing she remains on the Zen path and remains at a respectful, worshipful distance.  Either that or she truly hasn’t figured out yet how easy it would be for her to gorge herself silly.


A Stinky McStinkerton By Any Other Name….

Today I stumbled across a list of the “Most Popular Wacky Pet Names of 2012”. This list is compiled by the folks at VPI pet insurance. You can click on the list name (it's a hyperlink) and unleash the hilarity in your own homes. Some of the names I thought were hysterical like Pico de Gato and Chew Barka (cat then dog for those of you who don’t speak Spanish or Star Wars). Some, not so wacky. But I thought the dog name Otto Itchy Bobo was pretty funny. I’ll let you determine in your own mind what you think a Bobo is.

Amidst all this laughing it got me to thinking about the long list of nicknames that have developed for the kids. In the spirit of list making and good fun, I am sharing the nickname lists for Blue, Bettina and Girly Girl.

Girly Girl greyhound enjoys the first snow
As the first and most beloved of my furry children (are you allowed to say you have a favorite when your kids are dogs?), I will start with Girly Girl:                                              

Boo Boo
Sweat Pea
Tiger Tiger Burning Bright
My Little Fawn
Poo Poopy Doo
Mumma’s Baby
Sweet Girl
Baby Cakes
Sweetie Petey
Slobber Chops
Snaggle Tooth
Turkey Lou
H Puppy
Honey Bunny
Petunia Lee
Baby Baby
Baby Girl
Pretty Pretty
Sugar Plum
Cinnamon Girl (there were times she actually smelled like cinnamon!)
Silly Billy Girl
Mumma’s Best Girl
Steel Core Magnolia

I know, there is a definite food theme going on. Grammy pointed that out to me once. And there are a number of these that have been retired permanently as I can’t ever imagine using them for another hound.

Blue greyhound runs like the wind
Blue is up next:

Blue Bayou
Blue Manchu
Master Spotty One
Mr. Moo
Mr. Ed
Deadeye Dick
Big Lug
Big Galute
Numb Nut
Baby Boy
Little Boy Blue
Stink Bug
Blue Koo Kachu
D Puppy
Pee Pee Foot
Stinky McStinkerton
Stinkybus or Stincubus
Big Dog
Big Doggie Dog
Humpy  (Not for the reason you're all thinking! When you rub his bum, he humps his back up.)
Mumma's Best Boy
Handsome Pantsome
Hub Bub
Dances with Hunger
Big Diggity Dog
Big Poppy

Yes there is a theme to this set as well.  Blue regularly pees on his feet and his breath smells like a Maine mud-flat. 

Bettina greyhound-what?
And last but not least, Bettina whom you might think has a short list because she has been with us the shortest amount of time.  But oh, not so:

Crazy Mo
Black Beauty
Bettina the Black
Nosy Gurry
Bat Girl
Fussy Budget
Tooty Butt
Beelzebettina, Princess of Darkness
Her Royal Highness the Crown Regent of Fussypants
VP of Checking Stuff Out
Little Bit
Lilly Belle
Baby Bit
Silly Bit

What can I say about Bettina.  She's a bossy, mouthy, instigator who can't sit still for more than a few minutes.  If Blue is a bit autistic, Bettina is most definitely ADHD.  I'm not sure that comes through in her list of nicknames...

OK, I'm dying to hear what you all call yours!