Don’t even ask how this stuff happens–it’s Crispin, and no matter how careful we are . . . this stuff happens.

The little boy-o managed to get into and eat roughly 20 chicken wings out of the fridge last night.  Cooked.

And thus dangerous. We did all the things you’re supposed to do. Fed him some white bread moistened with vegetable oil to cushion any sharp or scratchy bone pieces and to . . . um . . . move things along.

Watched him carefully, checking for signs of bloat, belly ache, or anxiety.

Worried.

The pack leader stayed up to keep an eye on him until about 2:30 this morning.   Crispin whimpered on and off for a while (if nothing else, he must have been uncomfortably full). I took a turn at about 3, let him out in the yard, then brought him back in but decided to let him sleep out of his crate. He was quiet for the rest of the night, though starting at dawn every bird I heard sounded like a dog crying and I finally got up with him.

Worried about what I’d find.

Huh. He greeted me with his standard full-body wag and happily ate the bowl of white rice I gave him for breakfast (and then thoroughly scouted Dinah’s breakfast bowl looking for any crumb of kibble she might have left–no luck).

We’re not going to leave him alone for about another 24 to 36 hours. Fingers crossed.

And the fridge locked.

Think good thoughts about a dumb dog. With dumb owners.

My dogs do plenty of really dumb things.  I won’t dis them by naming any of them (you can read about them here in past posts, anyway).

But once in a while they blow me away with their intelligence. I know–you’ve been a dog person for a long time and you take this for granted. I’m still new to this religion so I was startled and impressed when this happened yesterday.

I was in the back yard using the picnic table as my art studio. Crispin came out with me (not for nothing is his nickname Velcro Boy) and was keeping a watchful eye on his territory, and on me. After a while I realized Dinah hadn’t come out with us.

“Crispin,” I said. “Where is Dinah?”

He leapt to his feet and started looking all around us.

“Cris,” I said again. “Dinah’s in the house. Go get Dinah.”

He took off like a shot, and 12 seconds later he was back with Dinah in tow. We all settled down together to enjoy the afternoon.

I told this story to the Pack Leader, whose response was “Yeah, sure–what did you think he would do?”

I, however, am still in the beginner’s mind phase of dog person-hood. I’m impressed.

Shortly after I put up my last post, I ran across this article from the Tehama County, Califorina Daily News about how to keep your pet safe on holidays in general, and July 4 in particular.

The article quotes Tehama County Animal Care Center Shelter Manager Scott Alsteen as noting that the number of lost pet reports that they get on a daily basis–typically two or three–rises to as many as 15 a day during weeks like this one.

Animals are spooked by fireworks, as our Dinah was, says Alsteen, and they run away, get lost, get hit by cars, or, even if confined inside, injure themselves out of anxiety and fear (like our canine friend Tris, who hurts his mouth chewing and pulling at the baseboard heaters in their home when there are fireworks or thunder).

Alsteen has several recommendations:

  • Stay near your pets during these noisy times.
  • If you must be away, be sure your animals are confined in a safe place away from things that could hurt them (or, I’d like to add, that they could hurt)
  • If you can’t be with them, supply them with calming and distracting background noise by turning up a radio or television set near them.
  • If your vet suggests a tranquilizer or other calming medication, administer it before your cat or dog (or wildebeest–whatever you’ve got) becomes anxious. A dog-loving friend of mine, though, reminded us recently that your animals can probably hear the rockets or thunder long before you can.
  • Finally, just in case, make sure your critters wear identification tags (we call these Dinah’s and Crispin’s jewelry) at all times.

After all, it was Dinah’s clearly marked tags that helped us to reunite with her so quickly after her scary lost episode.

Once you’ve taken care of all these things, enjoy your celebration. I’m off to make strawberry shortcake. Think I’ll slip the critters a treat or two on my way.  Happy 4th.


Just a quickie today to refer everyone back to Dinah’s (and my) traumatic 4th of July story. Click here to read about how we almost lost her–and about how we got her back.

Love your animals today and keep them safe from the snaps, crackles, and pops!

Amazing. Jess the dog is astonishing, but his young owner impresses me even more–she’s got a great career ahead of her as a trainer.

As Led Zeppelin used to sing, “Been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time . . .”

Except that you’re never alone with two airedales at your side.  Yeah, and the Pack Leader was here, as were a whole host of others. Okay, so I wasn’t lonely at all.

But gone? I’ve certainly been gone from here. You don’t want to hear it. But let me make it up to you and your critters with a little recipe for dog treats.

I am not a person who cooks for my dogs.  Much. But there are many good reasons to bake up a batch of dog treats at home.

First, it’s incredibly easy.

Second, it lets you control what goes into them (did you ever read the ingredients list on those boxes of store-bought treats?). Dinah gets itchy if she eats food with wheat or corn in it, for example, so I can leave those out if I make her goodies myself.

Third, it’s cheap.

Fourth, knowing how to make homemade dog* treats means you’ll never be at a loss for what to make your other dog-people friends at the holidays.

Fifth, dogs are easy,  so they’ll appreciate whatever you give them.

There are many dog treat recipes, but here is one I made tonight.  One I cobbled together after an hour of reading dog treat recipes online.  In an impressionistic  way. A long lonely lonely lonely lonely . . . oh, never mind.

Here’s what you’ll need–and bear in mind that all ingredient amounts are approximate. Start with less, add more as needed. Make substitutions as you see fit. Add other dog-friendly ingredients in small amounts. Have fun.

  • 2-1/2 cups of flour (because of Dinah’s food sensitivities I used some yam flour I bought online, but you could use white, whole wheat, a little cornmeal, or any combination of these–told you it was impressionistic)
  • one 16 ounce can of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbs of olive oil [Just this once, and just because the Pack Leader had just made himself some bacon and eggs right before I got started on this, I added a tablespoon of bacon fat from his frying pan instead of the olive oil; a spoonful or two of peanut butter could be used instead of either of these]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (if you only have garlic salt on hand, use it, but leave out the salt, above)
  • 1/2 cup of powdered milk
  • 1 cup or so of rolled oats

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil or baking parchment (no need to grease either).

In a large mixer bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, and oil, then blend in remaining ingredients.  Add a little water if the mixture is too dry, or a little flour if it’s too wet, and mix until it’s the texture of soft play-dough. If it feels too soft or sticky, knead it a little bit with just enough extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands or the counter.

Now you have a few options:

Roll out the dough (half at a time–this makes a lot) on a floured surface, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Cut circles or bone shapes (or–don’t tell Nemo–cat shapes) with a cookie cutter.

OR . . . roll out the dough and just use a knife to cut it into squares, diamonds, or bars. Let  your conscience and the size of your dogs be your guide as you decide how big to make them.

OR . . . take the easy way out as I did. Form the dough into ropes about 10″ long and about as big around as a man’s thumb, and use a knife to cut these into little 1/2″ nuggets.

Set the biscuits on the baking sheet at least 1/2″ apart and slide them into the preheated oven. After 20 minutes, check on them. They should be a light yellow brown color, and not look doughy in the center. If they don’t feel hard and dry (tap one on the counter), turn the oven down to 300 degrees and put them back in for 20 minutes more.  To be very sure they’re completely dry and crunchy, turn the oven off at this point and leave them inside with the door slightly ajar for an hour or two (or overnight).  Either bake the rest of the dough in the same way, or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in a zip top bag in the freezer. When you need more biscuits, thaw the dough and make another batch.

Bone appetite.

___

* A note on cat treats. Dogs will eat anything. Cats are picky. One Christmas we baked a big batch of these dog biscuits and a HUGE batch of tiny, fussy cat nibbles laced with canned tuna so we’d have bags of pet treats to take along to our friends at Christmas. The dogs gobbled up their samples, but the cats wouldn’t touch theirs for anything. We portioned everything up in cute bags and went to bed.  The next morning the cat treats were fine, but the cats had torn into several of the dog treat bags and helped themselves.

Oh, and the house smelled (not pleasantly) of tuna for days.

Yesterday afternoon Second Child and I spent some time playing soccer in the yard with Crispin. He has two soccer balls, a fat round one that rolls nicely so he can chase it and bring it back, and a partially deflated one that’s easy for him to carry and that throws sort of like a lead weight. Both of these activities are known to him not as “fetch” or “playing ball,” but simply as “soccer.” We say, “Hey, Crispin–soccer!” and he runs for the ball.

Airedales are natural soccer players. Here, for instance, is Dinah on her first day in our home, working on her game strategy:

So the radio’s on in the kitchen this afternoon, tuned to NPR’s Fresh Air, on which host Teri Gross and her guest are discussing over-involved soccer parents. The dialog on the show is going mostly: “so, soccer blah blah blah soccer soccer blah di blah di blah soccer and then soccer . . .”  And doesn’t Crispin run to the mud room, fetch the better inflated of the two soccer balls, bring it back to the kitchen, and set it down in front of the radio.

Coincidence?  I think not!

Letterman, look out!

Apparently an oldie, but I just came across this story today.  It’s by Alan Guthrie, and comes from the Telegraph in the UK.

It seems that the famous  ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl had participated in a television broadcast, and was waiting for a cab that had been called to take him home afterward.

Before too long a cab pulled up and the driver came inside, looked around, and sat down on a bench.

Heyerdahl approached the driver and said that he was the one for whom the cab had been ordered.

“Nope,” said the driver. “I was sent to pick up four airedales.”

Hysterical.  Why can’t my dogs do this?

Things have been pretty quiet around here, dogwise–knock wood (please join with us in doing so).  The fridge has resisted the prying paws and nudging noses of marauding airedales for several weeks.  The warming weather has enticed them into spending much of their waking time romping happily in their big back yard. They’ve even been sleeping late on weekends and during Second Child’s spring vacation, meaning that we’ve all been able to enjoy a little extra sleep.

This past week, though, they both suffered briefly from . . . some internal disturbances. Without going into detail, let me just say that when you have two or more dogs operating within the same back yard, sometimes it’s difficult to tell which one is leaving evidence of being a little off in the digestive department.

Enter the humble crayon.

Not sure which of your dogs is leaving unpleasant gifts in the back yard? Try this:  peel some crayons, one bright color for each dog you own, and use one of those little square pencil sharpeners (or the built-in one found in larger sets of crayons) to grate just a bit of colored wax over each dog’s plate of food.  Just a little bit–good quality children’s crayons are non-toxic, but you don’t need to overdo it.  The next time they do what dogs must do, you’ll be able to tell which one has the collywobbles.

Aren’t crayons wonderful?