19 September, 2011

Have you hugged your dog today?

National Dog Week starts today. Woof! Time to give your pooch some extra love, belly rubs, butt scrubs or whatever your hairy companion prefers

As I sit at my desk, Clue, my Golden Retriever, is dozing on the floor next to me, dreaming of her next meal or hug, whichever comes first.  She is now 12 years old, grey-faced, deaf and severely arthritic.  But that doesn't stop her from enjoying life.  Every morning she wakes up, tail beating a joyous tattoo on her bed, waiting for our morning ritual of belly rubs and wriggling.

Clue is the perfect name for a mystery writer's dog,right? But it's actually short for "Hasn't got a Clue."  You see, Clue is a rescue dog.  When she was just a couple of months old, her  owners dumped her on a back road to fend for herself.  Fortunately someone found her and took her to the local shelter. After keeping her the required 30 days, the shelter listed her on Petfinder where I fell in love with her at first sight.

I drove 90 minutes north to the shelter to see her -- all 55 pounds of untrained, unfettered energy.  The first thing she did was jump up on my then-80-year-old mother and knock her flat on her derriere.  Not a promising start. Fortunately Mother has a sense of humour and loves dogs. And, if Clue had inexhaustible energy, she also demonstrated boundless love, despite her history.  Thirty minutes later I was loading her into the back of my SUV for the drive home.  She spent the entire trip trying to climb out the window or into the front seat.  "No," "sit," "down," "stay" were simply not part of her vocabulary.  My comment to my mom: "This dog hasn't got a clue how to behave."

I'll admit it took three, yes three, basic obedience classes to get the message through to her, but it was worth every minute.  She's given me 11+ years of undiluted joy, love and companionship. And she sits on command!  So if you're looking for a wonderful pet, ADOPT DON'T SHOP! Rescues make the best pets -- somehow they just know, and they repay a thousand times over.

Here's a recipe for an extra special treat for your beloved canine family member. I use a large (5 1/2-inch) cookie cutter, but you can use any size or shape you like. Clue will be savouring hers as soon as they cool.

 Clue's Secret Treats
1 cup    All-Purpose flour  
1/2 cup    Powdered milk  
1/2 cup   Quick-cook Oats  
1 cup    Wheat flour
1 Tbs    Margarine   
1 tsp    Brown sugar  
1    Egg  
2.5 oz jar Gerber's Beef & Beef gravy baby food (or any flavour you like)
4 oz jar Gerber's Vegetable Beef baby food (or any flavour you like)
Approx. 1/2 cup  Low-Sodium Chicken broth   

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, cut in margarine until mixture resembles corn meal. Stir sugar and baby food into the egg, and add to dry ingredients. Add chicken broth gradually (approx. 1/2 cup) to make a stiff dough. Knead on well-floured surface until dough is smooth. Roll to 1/2" thick and cut into desired shapes. Preheat oven to 325F. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes.

Yield: 12  5 1/2-inch biscuits

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