Saturday, May 05, 2007

How much do I love that doggie?

For ages I have been thinking of baking dog biscuits. Yes, you heard me. I already cook his food and freeze it. The last batch contained quinoa and lentils along with pasta, vegetables and meat. He does very well on it, as did The Great Jonty. However, he gets a very small serving of dry dog food every morning, before his fruit salad and yoghurt.

Reading about the terrible events with contaminated dog food in the US recently galvanized me into action this morning. The first stop was Ozpugs to find some suitable recipes. Yup, there was plenty of inspiration. I gathered the ingredients.

Firstly, some fish stock because we had a whole kingfish recently and had the head and bones. I used some of that to soak about two cups of rolled oats, along with some butter. (Thought about lard, thought about oil, went for the butter this time.)

Mixed that with about a cup and a half of yellow cornmeal, two or three cups of wholemeal flour, two eggs, quite a bit of grated cheese, and two tablespoons of honey.

Mixed it all up in the trusty Kitchen Aid, rolled it out, cut it up, and baked them. No, I do not have a pug-shaped biscuit cutter nor a bone shaped one. Truly, I didn't think he would care what shape the bisuits were!

They came out looking pretty good. Actually, they tasted pretty darned good too! I have to confess I had more than one. Here they are on their cooling rack:

There was much interest from The Pug. It doesn't matter whether I think they tasted OK, what did the dog think? Here comes the acid test.....

Hooray! He likes them! He ate rather more than one or two, and is eager to continue the tast-testing. I shall ration them, and he can have a few for breakfast instead of ground-up chicken heads dry dog biscuits.

Have I just made another rod for my own back? Of course, but that's what having a pet is all about. I wonder if he would like peanut-butter parmesan snaps?

Characters we have met

Majic is a bit of a nervous nellie. He isn't barking or going crazy at his reflection in parked cars any more, but taking him up to the Big Road with Lots of Traffic is often too much for him. When the beeper goes as the pedestrian light changes he lurches out into the road, strangles himself with his check chain and generally goes berserk. Instead of going that way, then, I take him on a much quieter route. We go the same way every time, as I think it might be calming for him.

On the way we have encountered some interesting people. On a small road next to the railway line there are two particularly interesting ones, living three doors apart.

The Woman on the Bed

This is our first encounter, if you can call it that. A small white single storey terrace. The door is almost always open, whether it be really early morning, middle of the day, evening, whatever. There isn't much furniture. As I can see right into the front room I see a pile of telephone books, and a bed on the wall opposite the door. There is a woman there, on the bed. It is hard to tell how old she is - she is plump and shapeless and dresses very drably - trakkies, I guess, indeterminate. She is almost always there. She must get up and go to the loo sometimes, but rarely do I see an empty bed or a closed door. Sometimes she is reading, or doing a crossword puzzle (I think.) Sometimes she is asleep. One morning about two weeks ago I got a real surprise. She was up! Standing! Outside!!! She was putting something in her bin, which was in the front. "Good morning" I said. She looked shocked. Majic and I were moving fast, so I don't know whether she acknowledged the greeting - she may have done. The Morning Report now includes a note about whether the Woman on the Bed was there, and whether there was anything noteworthy about her that day.

The Lady with Two Hearts

Three doors along lives another elderly woman, probably Italian. She is like our neighbour Alex, in that she is a pack rat. Her front garden is FULL of stuff - old paint tins with plants, plastic bottles, all arranged neatly. I've glimpsed inside and there is more of the same. Sometimes she is at her upper window (this is a two storey terrace) leaning out, shaking her head sadly. Sometimes she is very friendly and wants to talk, particularly to the dog, who jumps up and squiggles and behaves like the happy puppy he is. On one of these occasions she talked at length about dogs she had had in the past, German Shepherds, I think. This morning she also wanted to tell me about all her operations. The jumper went up to show me the big scar on her abdomen. Then one shoulder pulled across to show where her second heart had been removed. Huh? She repeated this several times, explaining about her second heart, and did I understand? No, I didn't understand. Majic and I went our merry way.