Category Archives: Woof!

A year goes by

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May first will always be a meaningful day to the Dirty Hippie and I. It’s the day last year when our greyhound, Lochrima, died. Though we had ten wonderful years with her, and she lived a long life – age 13 – it’s always too soon to say goodbye to your beloved. Twelve complete months have passed since we lost her to cancer. Many friends and clients have missed her, stopping by to have dinner or coming in for new headshots or family pictures, and her familiar golden eyes were not there to greet them. We have been overwhelmed, learning how many people loved Lochrima. The stack of sympathy cards was several inches high and almost a dozen clients & friends made donations to various rescues in her honor.

lochrima_lrWhich led us to wonder… how can we best honor her? As we came out of the grief of her absence, our course was illuminated: we would foster 13 dogs before adopting another forever-companion. What better way to honor our time with Lochrima than to help 13 other dogs find a love of their own? We like to think she would be proud.

Now, make no mistake, fostering is not easy. Nathaniel and I knew it was going to be a challenge. After all, when you foster, you take in a homeless animal, love it, care for it – and let it go when the right adopter comes along. This is love on loan. Could we bear 13 more heartbreaks?

Today, May 1 2016, we are happy to report that we have successfully fostered 8 dogs.  We’d like you to meet them…

Bullwinkle_lrFirst came tiny Bullwinkle. At age six, this mini-dachshund found himself out of a home and suffering from physical and emotional issues. His adoption group was Dachshund Rescue of North America and he was with us about one month. We got to witness this little guy really come along, healing in spirit and body, and finally go to a home where he is adored.

FallHounds_lrNext, we fostered Ripley (lower right). He finished his racing career in Florida and found his way to Greyhound Rescue Inc.  Ripley was placed with a wonderful family in Baltimore – we occasionally get to see updates on his happy new life.

Foster number three was MariMae, a retired racer from Alabama (top). This girl had it going on! We really adored this southern belle – she loved to snuggle and was so smart. She learned to sit and shake paws in only two days! Who says greyhounds don’t sit? Of all the dogs we let go, MariMae was the hardest to date. But we stayed on task and loved seeing photos of her with her new family.

Also retired from a track in Alabma was Stan (lower left). This good-looking dude was the shortest foster ever – finding his new home in literally one day!

LittleZoey_lrWe had the pleasure of co-fostering tiny Zoey dog in December, also from DRNA. This sweet pup was a mix of Chinese crested and terrier, and honestly, she was one of the most well-mannered dogs we’ve ever met. We were happy to see her go to a forever home in time for the holidays with an employee from Bark! Now we have another reason to shop at our favorite local pet store – hoping to say hello to Zoey!

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After New Year’s, we got Jacks from DRNA. This wily fellow loved to PLAY. He could literally play for five hours at a time with no break. Both of us had so much fun with him – and got our exercise for sure! Lucky guy – he went home with a couple that enjoyed hiking, so he gets loads of time outside to wear him out. Hope they also have a good supply of tennis balls.

blackHounds_lrAll dogs are gorgeous, but sometimes, one is a little more gorgeous. That was Gable (bottom, vertical). To call him handsome is sort of an understatement. We were happy to see Gorgeous Gabe find a home only two miles from us! We get to see him, and he’s now living with his cousin, Shelley, another retired racer.

Our most recent foster was pretty hound dog, Mohican (top). Another southern belle, she came from Alabama and was a little shy. Which made it all the more disarming and sweet when she gave out a kiss. She went home with a family in Maryland, and we occasionally get update texts.

Fostering all eight of these special dogs has been rewarding. One of the most incredible parts was realizing how many great dogs are out there, looking for a forever home. Every single one of these eight dogs was loving, fun and beautiful. They were all amazing companions. It’s mind bending to us how so many fantastic dogs end up in shelters or homeless  – or euthanized. Big thanks to our friends at DRNA and GRI for saving and homing these magnificent animals – we are proud to have been part of the process.

We are still five fosters away from #13. At the moment, we’re on the fence about what to do when we reach #13. Should we immediately adopt again… or keep fostering to help more dogs find homes? After all, when you adopt – you save one life. But when you foster, you save two – because a space opens at a kennel, plus you can make a homeless dog transition more smoothly by training him or her to be house-friendly.

Nathaniel and I are still deciding what will happen when we get to #13. Until then, we hope that our precious Lochrima is honored by the work we have done in her name. And that all eight of our fosters are as happy and spoiled in their homes as our girl was during her decade with us.

13th Birthday & our Farewell to Lochrima

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And so we catch our breath.

In the last two months, life here has changed. When I started composing this post, the date was April 10th, and it was the day before our beloved greyhound, Lochrima’s, 13th birthday. But before I could finish, she starting limping and on April 13th was diagnosed with cancer. While we knew she was old for a big dog, nothing really prepares you for those words. The vet said it could be days or weeks, that she had a tumor in her chest so advanced, it was pressing on her heart, lungs, intestines and stomach. It felt like Doc kicked me in the gut. The tumor caused her limp because it was restricting blood flow to and from her legs. This was the only symptom of a cancer that was at least months old, if not a year.

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Our sweet greyhound, age 12, on what became her final road trip, October 2014. This was at a farm stand on the way home from Rehoboth Beach DE.

Basically, the DH & I dropped everything and spent time with Lochrima. Work and clients waited. Chores were set aside for another day. We found out how amazing our friends were, as many of them showed up with food for us and treats for Lochrima. There were visits from dog pals, with whom our girl enjoyed a sniff in the yard and her birthday cake. There were visitors from far and near. Turns out that other folks loved Lochrima, too, and wanted to say goodbye.

That awful day came on May 1. That morning the tumor opened up and started to drain into her lungs. We had the choice to basically let Lochrima drown in her own tumor-fluids and blood, or to put her down quickly and spare her the painful dying process. And we chose euthanasia. May 1 was one of the most difficult days either of us have lived through. On the drive to Doc’s office we looked down at her crying – and she was looking up at us with tears rolling down her face. We didn’t even know that dogs cried tears, or that any moment could be so painful. That day, we also learned how much we could cry.

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Lochrima loved the beach. Here. at Dewey Beach DE, above right, and Jekyll Island, GA, right. She also loved a nap, and was expert at finding comfy spots like this papasan.

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Flashback to when we drove a convertible – Lochrima loved to ride in the backseat, with Doggles of course. At right, she’s wading in the waters near Taughhannock Falls, NY.

Many people say companion animals are very special friends. That’s got to be the understatement of a lifetime, really. Companion animals fill the spaces that humanity cannot. They know a depth of love that brings true acceptance, forgiveness and compassion – one that people rarely offer to each other. As I type this, sitting beside the empty sofa with no hound on the fuzzy red dog blanket, the vacancy serves to remind me of how much joy, spirit and devotion Lochrima selflessly gave to us. I frequently wish I was more like her.

DH & I  have taken time recovering, getting back to work and daily life. We are both still broken-hearted and are no where near ready for a new dog in our lives. Yes, we know how many dogs and cats and rabbits and more need loving homes. We know our house is empty and that there is an unoccupied dog bed next to the desk. But we’re not there. Sometimes, you need space to exhale.

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Sometimes, she reminded us how good the simple things in life really are – like an afternoon walk or just sitting in the garden to enjoy the spring breeze. Lochrima loved being in the garden and would sit outside for hours while we pulled weeds and did other chores.

As a tribute, we plan to create a collection of the homemade dog treat recipes we have made for her. Some are already on this blog; others are still in our notebooks. If you have never baked treats for a dog (yours or a friend’s) you should get on that immediately. Nothing compares to the appreciation of a dog who has waited patiently by the oven, sniffing homemade cookies – and then eating them! Stay tuned for that later this year and if you’re local, we can use some canine taste-testers.

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Snow hound! For a skinny dog with very little body fat, Lochrima LOVED the snow. She was originally from Massachusetts, after all (she raced there in her pre-rescue days). Yes, she had several coats and sweaters. The pink was her favorite.

Until then, here is the birthday cake I baked for our sweet hound for many years every April 11th. She adored it with vanilla coconut-milk ice cream. Or as-is.

As a final gift for Lochrima, I ask you, beg you – please celebrate every damn day you have with those you love – dogs, cats, horses, birds, people. We all get too wrapped up in nonsense sometimes to focus on what is really important – loving the way our animal friends dounconditionally.

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This one was of her final days. Dog pal Rummy came all the way from Philadelphia to share birthday cake and say farewells. They both enjoyed the cake. 🙂

Carob Chip-Peanut Birthday Cake for Dogs

2 Tbl. flax seed meal mixed in 4 Tbl. warm water

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 Tbl. non-aluminum baking powder

1 Tbl. carob powder

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup brown rice syrup or molasses

3/4 cup carob chips

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together flax seed meal and warm water to gel into a binder, set aside.

Stir together whole wheat flour, baking powder and carob powder. Add peanut butter, applesauce, brown rice syrup or molasses and flax seed meal mixture. Stir by hand until well combined, about 60 strokes. If the batter seems too dry, add a little water (this can vary based on your peanut butter brand!).

Spray a cake pan, springform pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray. Pour in batter, distributing evenly.

Bake cake for about 20-30 minutes or “pupcakes” about 10-15 minutes until batter is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and serve to birthday dog – or any dog you love and want to celebrate for just being your pal!

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These pawprints will never be gone from our hearts…

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A sweet sunset with Lochrima. We miss you!

Dog Days Treats

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Summer is winding down.  But August can still be hot as Hades, and in Baltimore this week, it’s supposed to get all the way up to 92! That’s the hotness. You know your dog-companion feels it, too. That sweltering heat effects our four-legged friends too, thus why they call the hottest parts of summer “dog days” (Sirius, the “dog star” is out during the hottest part of summer, for those of you as nerdy as me…)

Help your best pal cool off by treating him or her to some chilly yumminess, like these frozen Carob Banana Pup-Pops. They’re simple to make and a fun project to include kids on. Your dog will love them too – our ex-racing greyhound, Lochrima, goes gag for them! First she licks the carob and peanut shell off, then munches on the chilly banana center.

You should be be able to pick up a bag of carob chips pretty easily, we find them in the natural foods area of our local grocers. If not, a store like Whole Foods will certainly have them, and there’s always Amazon.com. It is **CRUCIAL** you use carob and NOT chocolate for this recipe! Chocolate is toxic to dogs! Want a list of other foods to watch out for? Try this page from the ASPCA. If you are allergic to peanuts, try using almond butter and almonds or sunflower seed butter and sunflowers for this recipe. Just don’t substitute macadamia nuts – those are also toxic to dogs!

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 Carob Banana Pup-Pops

5 bananas, peeled and cut in half

2 cups carob chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup chopped peanuts

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Place banana halves on sheet and freeze for several hours or overnight. To assemble, melt carob chips and peanut butter together in a double boiler over low heat on the stove. Stir often until smooth and silky. Place chopped peanuts in a low bowl, like a pie plate. Dip the frozen bananas into melted carob/peanut butter, then quickly roll in chopped nuts. Place back onto lined cookie sheet. Repeat with other banana halves. Place back into freezer until carob is set, about one hour. Serve cold on a hot day!

 

Want more love for your dogs? We want to send you more love for your dogs!  If you like baking, we’ve got SIX more recipes for you and your canine companion. It’s true that baking isn’t as fun in the heat. We don’t have central air, so these fans really don’t cut it when the oven is on in summer. The answer? Bake in the early morning or after dark in the evening. Or, go to a friends’ house who has central air!

There’s a certain joy to baking for dogs. Unlike people, they don’t “eat first with their eyes” – instead, they eat first with their noses. So each recipe includes something fragrant that is attractive to hounds. They also aren’t picky about shapes of the cookies, which means that cookie cutters are nice, but they’re really eye-appeal for you, not the pooch. Unless you adore rolling and cutting cookie shapes (and have copious free time), just make little rounds in the right size for your dog’s mouth. After all, the right size cookie for a Great Dane is not the right size cookie for a Teacup Maltese. 🙂

We use a lot of non-wheat flours in these cookies. Many experts feel they are easier on dogs’ tummies. To find these flours, check your grocery store’s natural foods or gluten-free sections. Again, Whole Foods and Amazon.com will have them. Occasionally, we get lucky and find bags of them super-cheap at places like Ross, Marshall’s and Big Lots. No joke! A bag of chickpea flour that’s $10 at Whole Foods cost us $2 at Big Lots. Big difference and worth checking for!

 

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 Sunshine Snaps

 

2 Tbl. ground flax meal mixed in 4 Tbl. water

1 cup chickpea flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 Tbl. nutritional yeast

1 tsp. turmeric

2 Tbl. olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 cup water, as needed

Preheat oven to 375. Mix ground flax meal in water and set aside to congeal. In a food processor or blender (or by hand in a mixing bowl), combine flours, nutritional yeast, turmeric and olive oil. Add in flax mixture. If dough is too dry, add water until well combined and smooth. By hand, form into desired size cookies. Use cool water on your fingers to prevent sticking. Bake at 375 until browned on edges and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Yield will vary based on cookies size.

 

Carob & Spice Cookies

1 cup pumpkin (canned or cooked/fresh)

1 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 Tbl. carob powder

1/4 cup molasses

1 Tbl. olive oil

1/4 cup water, as needed

Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor or blender (or by hand in a mixing bowl), combine pumpkin, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, carob powder, molasses and olive oil. If dough is too dry, add water until smooth. By hand, form into desired size cookies. Use cool water on your fingers to prevent sticking. Bake at 375 until browned on edges and firm, about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Yield will vary based on cookies size.

 

 Oatmeal Chippers

3 Tbl. ground flax meal mixed in 6 Tbl. water

3 cups Old-Fashioned oats

1 1/2 cup peanut butter

pinch ginger (optional)

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup carob chips

Preheat oven to 375. Mix ground flax meal in water and set aside to congeal. In a large bowl, combine oats, peanut butter, ginger, almond milk and water. Add in flax mixture. When well-mixed and moistened, fold in carob chips. By hand, form into desired size cookies. Use cool water on your fingers to prevent sticking. Bake at 375 until browned on edges and firm, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Yield will vary based on cookies size.

 

No-Bake Rice Bars

3 Tbl. ground flax meal in 8 Tbl. water

8 cups plain rice cereal

2 cups peanut butter

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1 Tbl. vanilla (optional)

1 cup dried cranberries, unsulfured

Mix ground flax meal in water and set aside to congeal. In a large saucepan, combine peanut butter, brown rice syrup and vanilla. Stirring regularly, warm over low/medium heat until the mixture becomes liquid – about 2 to 4 minutes. Don’t overcook, or it will start to scorch. In a large bowl, pour melted peanut butter liquid over the rice cereal and cranberries. Add flax meal mixture. Stir everything together by hand. This will take some muscle. Spray a 9×13 casserole pan with non-stick spray. Press rice cereal/peanut butter mixture into pan firmly with your hands or a spatula. Chill at least one hour before cutting in serving-size portions. This is also a yummy people-snack, too!

 

 Pizza Rounds

1 Tbl. ground flax meal mixed in 2 Tbl. water

1 cup brown rice flour

6 oz. can tomato paste

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 Tbl. olive oil (optional)

1/4 cup water, as needed

Preheat oven to 375. Mix ground flax meal in water and set aside to congeal. In a food processor or blender (or by hand in a bowl), mix brown rice flour, tomato paste, chopped parsley, basil, oregano and olive oil. Add in flax meal mixture. If dough is too dry, add 1/4 cup of water until well combined and smooth. By hand, form into desired size cookies. Use cool water on your fingers to prevent sticking. Bake at 375 until browned on edges and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Yield will vary based on cookies size.

 

 Garden Gobblers

2 Tbl. ground flax meal mixed in 4 Tbl. water

2 whole carrots

1/2 cup fresh kale

1 tsp. spirulina powder

2 cups buckwheat flour

1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 375. Mix ground flax meal in water and set aside to congeal. In a food processor or blender chop carrots and kale to fine pieces. Add spirulina, buckwheat flour and water to processor; mix well. Add in flax mixture. If dough is too dry, add water until smooth. By hand, form into desired size cookies. Use cool water on your fingers to prevent sticking. Bake at 375 until browned on edges and firm, about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Yield will vary based on cookies size.

Blueberry Coconut Dog Cookies

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You have a good dog. Your dog deserves a treat. Not just any treat, but a wholesome, delicious treat made with love by YOU!  Something packed with goodness, like antioxidant-rich blueberries and omega-laden flax seeds. Oh, and coconut, too. Coconut loves dogs as much as dogs love coconut! Enter Blueberry Coconut Dog Cookies.Blueberry1_lrThe beauty of making dog treats is how truly nonjudgmental pooches are. You don’t need fancy cookie cutters! Get a little over- or under-done? No thing. Your hound will give you an adoring look and you will know that you are BEST PERSON EVER. Just look how excited our greyhound is. We love making cookies for her. Your dog will truly appreciate your efforts in the kitchen.

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Ready to get out your cookie sheets? Head on over to the Sister Eden blog, where we cross-posted this recipe. It’s really simple and all you need is a food processor or blender, and you’re in business. The ingredients go in, pulse a bit and the dough is done. Bake the cookies and – done! Release the hounds!

Bow wow WOW – Fruitables Dog Cookies

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Somethings we are always on the prowl for. One of those things is a vegan dog treat that our finicky greyhound will eat.  Fruitables were a lucky find. And damn – these things smell SO DELICIOUS, it was all we could do not to sample them ourselves.

Now, before you get to the Fruitables website, be aware that their entire line is not vegan. They do make jerky and other stuff, too. But the vegan options are pretty awesome. In the “Crunchy” variety, there are Sweet Potato & Pecan, Pumpkin Blueberry, Pumpkin Apple, Pumpkin Banana and Pumpkin Cranberry. In the chewier “Skinny Mini” line, there is Pumpkin Berry and Pumpkin Mango to choose from for your pooch’s needs.

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Fruitables are made entire in the USA and are designed with optimal pet nutrition in mind. They use real ingredients and some organics. The list on my bag of Sweet Potato & Pecan dog treats includes  such easy-to-recognize foods as sweet potato, organic oatmeal, pearled barley, potatoes, oat fiber, canola oil pecans and cinnamon. Love that. The bag also states that the product is free of wheat, corn, soy and artificial ingredients.

We bought our Fruitables cookies locally at Bark! in Clarksville, MD. You can buy these online from Amazon.com or use their handy search to find a store near you. Seriously – get these dog cookies and inhale deeply when you open the bag. Even homemade doesn’t smell this heavenly! Your dog will agree, no doubt.