After last years little fiasco, Lola and I were banned from the chocolate Easter egg hunt this year.
We were really not to blame for what went wrong, but when Lola forgot to rub off the chocolate she had smeared across her nose, it was very difficult to claim we had no idea where the eggs had gone.
The night before Easter Sunday Lola and I had sneaked out to watch the Easter bunnies hide the eggs. We could see the shiny foil wrapping on the eggs glistening in the moonlight and the temptation was too much for us. After the bunny disappeared Lola and I had massive fun collecting the eggs, which were on the ground in easy reach, and burying them like we do with our bones.
Mrs T was furious with us when all the little children came to find them and there was not one Easter egg to be found.
I know I am not alone when it comes to being overwhelmed by the desire for chocolate, despite its very bad reputation with dogs. But it seems really unfair that something that tastes so good can have such painful consequences for us pooches.
I took this problem to the resourceful Sparky who did a bit of research and presented me with a dog-fantastic solution.
Almost Chocolate Treats for Dogs
1lb carob chips
1/3c peanut butter
1/4c cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 Tbsp real bacon bits
Place medium saucepan over low heat. Add chips. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter to combine. Add cheese and bacon. Stir well. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool to set. Refrigerate.
Thanks to Sparky, Easter turned out to be a tasty one after all!
Have you ever wondered why they call them hot cross buns?
Well, I know why! Because by the time you have finished trying to bake them you are exceedingly hot under the dog collar and very cross and frustrated with how difficult it all is.
It was Lola who came up with the bright idea that we should make our own buns this Easter and in theory it seemed a fun thing to do. I mean how hard can it be when the internet is full of “easy” “simple” “kids can make” recipes for hot cross buns?
Sparky was the one who said, “there is a reason why people buy them already made”.
Anyway, we picked a recipe from the “so easy” selection and proceeded to get the cooking underway. http://britishfood.about.com/od/easterrecipes/r/easy-hot-cross-bun-recipe.htm
But as Lola and I pawed over the instructions, we began to become unstuck. I mean, for those of us who are not regular Gordon Ramsay’s in the kitchen, we became very quickly cooking - confused.
To the humble dog, it was simply beyond us as to how we would “rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand” or how we would “knock all the air from the dough and knead again”.
Or even more magically “Roll each small dough ball into a long thin sausage”. Who would have thought that is how you made a sausage?
We did manage to create the sticky dough, or maybe more accurately, we managed to get the dough to stick to us, everywhere!
In short, the whole operation was a disaster and yes, I was hot and I was cross by the end of it all.
Not being a dog with much patience, I convinced Lola to abandon the exercise and we headed to the local bakery and purchased 6 warm glazed buns that had nothing hot or cross about them.
Home baking is so over rated!
This year is racing away on me and I have to run to keep up.
Easter is almost here and it seems to have caught me totally by surprise. I try to remember everything but I have had to resort to a collection of bright coloured sticky note papers all over the place just so I can remember where I should be and what I should be doing when I get there!
I will not admit to it being old age that makes me think I cannot remember everything, as I sure that is not the case. I just think I am a popular dog with a lot of commitments.
So many places to be, and so many places to see.
That said, Mrs T glided past my desk yesterday and saw my computer which she described as being dressed up like a mardis gras float ready for the parade. She gasped in horror.
“Sam what are you doing? You can hardly see the screen!”
I glowed a small dog flush of embarrassment. It did look a bit like a multi coloured artwork.
She disappeared but within minutes I got a text message from her on my mobile. It read – “you need to download the Rachael Hale Calendar App”. The link was there in big bold doggie print so that even a short-sighted pup like me could read:
I instantly downloaded what has now become my best friend!
Check it out!
What is worse than a bear with a sore head?… A dog with a sore tooth!!
I knew I’d heard a crunch when I chewed on a bone the night before, but I was hoping it was the bone, and not me.
Mrs T could tell instantly I was not myself when she saw me avoiding my morning doggie nuts. I was cringing at the thought of having to chew anything. She leaned over and tried to prise open my clenched mouth. We dogs can be very tight lipped when we choose.
Anyway, long dog tale short, it was off to the Vet. It’s not that I have anything against Vets personally, but I have to say it’s not a great dog day afternoon when it involves an appointment with the Vet.
My Vet does give me chicken treats at the end of the appointment but it is what goes on during the consultation that makes me not want to hurry back.
It seems to be a universal thing that no one likes going to the dentist, but according to the Vet it can be hard to catch teeth problems early in canines so teeth should be checked regularly. Whereas I would’ve thought catching the dog to look at his teeth would be the hardest part of it.
I have to say, thinking about going to the dentist was actually worse than the event. She took one look in my mouth and then inserted some large metal tool and pulled out a little sharp piece of bone which had wedged itself behind my tooth.
I did not feel anything but relief and was doglighted when the Vet gave me my own tooth brush and tasty dog tooth paste. I was even able to persuade Mrs T to let me have a Rachael Hale Mug
keep my toothbrush in.
I noticed Lola tucked up on the couch with the remote control in one paw and the TV guide and a pen in the other paw. I was curious about what she was up to. She had her head down and seemed to be highlighting various things with her bright coloured pen.
She looked up over her pretty pink glasses and asked if I wanted to join her.
I was more than curious when I asked “What exactly are you doing?”
She smiled sweetly and said “I am highlighting all the dog television shows I want to watch tonight".
Even more curious, I leaned over to glance at her list and I had to slap my front paw over my snout to stop me howling with laughter. Dear Lola, she really has no idea.
Under a bright pink highlight I could see that she had a ring around “Bones”.
Holding myself together I asked her if she knew what the program “Bones” was about and she smiled back and said “The show is about Temperance Brennan who finds bones, digs them up and then works out who they belong to and how they got there”
I buried my head in my paws to muffle my giggles, I could not even argue with her, that was exactly what went on in the show, give or take a bit.
It reminded me that TV is becoming more like the internet. You think you have got the words or the title right for what you’re looking for until you push search and you get back a screen full of options that you could not have imagined.
I notice she has also got the show “New Tricks” circled so I am off to break her the news that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
It would seem that I am not like most boys when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
Rumour has it, most lads leave it all to the last minute before they rush to the florist to get flowers. But by then it is usually too late to get red roses, or they are so shocked by the price of them, that they have to re-route to the chocolate store.
A wise old dog once told me that a bit of planning never went astray when you were dealing with affairs of the heart.
Of course when it comes to Valentines, the odds are usually in my favour; I’m short, I’m cute and I’m cuddly so that gives me a paw over the competition.
That said, as cute as I might be, I still have to buy the roses as I rarely get them sent to me. I fear ladies never send as many roses as they should.
The red rose has for centuries been the symbol of love and romance and the long stem rose the jewel in the crown. It has to be said that Valentine’s Day must singularly inspire the world’s biggest demand for long-stemmed roses.
Sparky, always the environmentalist wags his paw at me and says “get wild ones, long stem roses mean the loss of all those rosebuds that are beheaded in the process of creating the single long-stemmed rose”. I remind him that beauty never came without some pain.
Lola delights in Valentines, she is all about love, romance and anything that makes the heart smile. Bless her little bulldog ways.
So despite what some say about the price of a rose on Valentines Day, my love knows no bounds. To see my true love smile and her eyes twinkle with delight as she howls out loud at the sight of her dozen roses, is priceless.
I was browsing through the Rachael Hale Valentines Day e-cards
choosing which ones I was going to send to some lovely doggies I know, when Lola and Sparky appeared.
As usual, Sparky was full of knowledge and, on the topic of Valentines, he told us that Valentine’s Day is second to New Years day for being the most celebrated holiday around the world, and that teachers are said to be the ones who get the most Valentines Day cards. Not that I can say I have ever sent any Valentines to my puppy school teachers.
However, with the roaring trade that florists and chocolate shops do on February 14th, it would seem that everyone just loves love. Even though, not everyone admits to it.
A lot of my boy dog mates bark off any thought of Valentines, but I watch them whenever a bouquet of flowers arrives at the office, they all crowd around the front desk to see if, by chance, they are the lucky one with a secret admirer.
Lola loves the thought of Valentines Day. She loves roses and chocolate, even though she knows chocolate is very bad for her. She’s been hoping, out loud, that Jean-Claude sends her a Valentines Day card from France. In her mind, the fact that he is French makes it all so much more romantic.
I love Valentines Day because it’s really a day made for dogs. We are all about love, we do not know any other way but to love, love more and then love more again.
So to have a day where the world celebrates love, in all its many forms, has to be a dog-gone good idea!
As winter draws to a close I always feel sorry to see it melt away. As far as I am concerned winter is considerably underrated as a season.
I know it can be cold and windy and the snow is hard work, but there is something magic about winter. It always seems to make my tail wag faster.
To me, the whiteness of the snow looks like a blanket of softness coating the fields, and when it all melts away; there is spring - fresh, blooming and full of sweet wonderful smells. Without winter there would be no joys of spring.
As the ice melts and I can get to the bones I safely buried in the garden, the cold of winter has kept them as fresh as if they had been in the fridge inside.
When winter disappears, so too does the log fires and lounging across the warm hearth. There are less dog gone delicious roast dinners and sweet short pastry apple pies. The Thanksgiving turkey and the delights of Christmas also belong to the winter months.
And let’s face it; for the dog, winter is the season most likely for getting to sleep on the bed. I think we all agree there is nothing quite like the warmth of a cuddly dog to keep you snug on a chilly night. Even the cat can get a berth on the bed in winter.
Sparky often barks the song “to everything there is a season…turn turn turn” and if I think about it, it is quite amazing how the seasons all come and go, turning over like they do, each one needing the other and each one unique in itself.
This is Lola’s first winter and she was delighted with the snow.
She even managed to take a great photo or two.
Like magic, snow flakes flutter softly to the ground, quietly coating the world without a sound.
Lola got a camera for Christmas and since then she has been so busy with it, we hardly ever see her.
Although, the same could not be said of Lola and all of what she was seeing of us. It would seem she’s been happily snapping photos while we had no idea what she was doing.
In years gone by, it used to take ages and ages to take a photo. You had to stand still while the photographer adjusted the camera, got the focus and the lighting right, shuffled everyone in to place and then had everyone smiling together by saying “CHEESE”. You certainly knew, well in advance, that a photo was happening.
However, these days it appears you don’t even have to give your permission. Lola has merrily shot photo after photo of us, at work, at play and even sleeping and now she is talking about loading them up on her Facebook page for the entire world to see.
As I did not want any unflattering photos of myself appearing anywhere, I thought it was best to talk to her about some basic photography etiquette rules.
I suggested that asking a dog whether he would like his photo taken was always polite and also giving a dog time to brush his hair or shake off the various bits of grass that may be stuck to his head, was good manners.
I also barked my concern about cheeky photos that may catch a dog in an unflattering pose and the possible embarrassment of showing that to all the world. We dogs have big egos.
Lola listened to me as I went on and then she very sheepishly asked if I wanted to see any of her photos.
Of course I did. And when I did, I smiled to myself. What a silly dog I had been, I had forgotten how short Lola was….. take a look for yourself:
That will teach me to bark my head off before I know all the facts!
I am not sure what websites Lola visits in her browsing sessions on the computer but she emerged from behind the screen the other day to ask me - “Can dogs go to heaven?”
Besides wondering why she would be concerned about this, I was able to respond to her immediately with “that would be a resounding YES”
She then followed up with, “Do cats go to the same heaven as dogs?”
Thinking about that superior cat Raven, I answered “I hope not!”
“Well what is heaven like?” she asked.
I told her “a dog’s paradise would have to be a place of endless rows of trees, long grass, beaches and dog bones. A place where there was not much to bark about and there was no fences or gates or rules about having to be kept on a leash”.
Then she said “How do you get in to heaven?”
“That’s easy” I told her, “all dogs go to heaven”.
“What does heaven feel like?” she asked
I said to her “It’s like permanently feeling the way you do when you realise that someone has left the front gate open"
“And what about cuddles” she said, “can you get those in heaven?”
“Of course” I said, “but why all the questions?”
“Well” she said, “I got an email from Jean-Claude who is on holiday in the Caribbean and he said he was lying on the beach under a tree and he was in heaven!"
UGH… young pups… they have so much to learn!!
So how many of you have broken your New Year’s resolutions already?
Personally, I made my one easy so I could at least give it a realistic chance. I know my days of being a runway model are well over, but I figured that was no reason to resign myself to a comfortable place on the couch, or on the floor beside the couch when Mr T is home.
In 2013 my goal is to improve my fitness. Not to run a marathon, or even a half marathon, but to increase my general exercise level to a point where running up stairs does not require me to rest half way or to be gasping for a bowl of water when I get to the top.
I know as a puppy we seem to flicker between running on overdrive and sleeping deeply but as we age it becomes more like a gentle jog across the drive and days of living from nap to nap with the odd walk to break up the day.
What actually got me motivated this year was Lola who was reading out some interesting statistics about the aging dog. She said that according to latest research keeping a dog fit can add at least two years to his life! www.gofygure.hubpages.com/hub/Make-Your-Dog-Live-Longer
And to me, that is incentive enough to get up off my fluffy tail and start wiggling it. I tell myself a little each day will make me healthy and fit for play.
There also was a paragraph or two in Lola’s reading that relates to a balanced diet and restricted treat intake, but I think one step at a time is the way to go. I really do not want to get too weak to exercise because I have cut back on my food.
After the dramas of last year when Raven and I tried to put fairy lights on the Christmas tree, I thought it would be safer if I undertook the task on my own this year.
We dogs take trees very seriously and I don’t mean for just cocking our legs against. As far as animals are concerned the tree is our stairway to heaven.
The simple tree provides us both shelter and shade; it houses our chirpy little bird friends who nest in them and provides refuge for the odd cat who has to sit there while waiting for the fireman to rescue them.
Standing mighty and strong, they are beautiful when coated with snow or blossoms or as their leaves turn to shades of gold and amber as winter comes.
But to me the Christmas tree is possibly the most magic of them all. So this year I wanted to do something quite traditional to reflect the true meaning of Christmas. I did a Google search for ideas and much to my delight it revealed more than I could have imagined. It turns out that originally the Christmas tree was decorated with FOOD!!
What a splendid idea!
It was such a pleasurable task to busy myself with collecting assorted delicacies and bits of food to decorate the tree. I will admit to the odd nibble as I worked, but most of them made it to the tree in tact.
However as I sat and admired my beautiful Xmas creation I did wonder why this tradition of food coated trees had been lost, only to be replaced by plastic variations of tinsel and decorations?
Well, I did not have to wait long for an answer as I watched Lola sniff up to the tree and begin chomping on my low hanging Christmas cherries!!!
They said if we shopped online we’d avoid the Christmas rush and all those long queues. They promised bargain prices and quick delivery. The internet is the new Santa Claus, or so they would have you believe.
It was time to do my Christmas shopping, so with my carefully pawed gift list by my computer, I was all set to go with my virtual shopping session.
Lola had opted to go with Mrs T to do her shopping, but being a boy, the online shopping option seemed like a much much better idea to me.
However, on reflection, I am now wondering if I made the right decision.
I can tell you there was more traffic on the web than arrivals at LA airport and it seemed like everyone wanted exactly the same things as me – a Santa sack of chicken necks. (They had caught my eye as I was browsing for something else).
Which leads me to the main problem I seem to have with the Internet, I start off with great intentions and a list of things I need to do, I can even have the exact website address, but somehow I always end up dog miles away from where I started out. Hence the chicken necks instead of the neck tie for Mr T.
Anyway, Lola and Mrs T had returned with their Christmas shopping and I was still stuck on the shoe website trying to convince it to accept my request to have 4, size triple zero gumboots put in my shopping cart.
Lola made it worse when she announced “We had such a great day shopping, there were no queues and we got to see Santa at the shopping mall, he was handing out Christmas treats”.
Despondently I went back to my screen only to see it was flashing “offline”. I howled out loud in frustration.
It is one thing to shop online, it is another to go to a shop and stand in line, but to be at home and told you are offline!! I give up!!
The other day Lola asked me what does “a puppy is not just for Christmas” mean?
Poor Lola was worried the statement was maybe suggesting that some puppies have the same end result as the Christmas turkey.
That did make me laugh, but then I got more serious as I thought about her question and the importance of what was being said. Puppies are NOT just for Christmas!
There is absolutely no doubt a puppy can be a perfect gift for Christmas. A small bundle of love wrapped in the cutest parcel, with a little face far sweeter than chocolate, and the biggest heart just waiting to be loved back.
Puppies are glorious, full of mischief, innocent naughtiness and so adorably playful right up until that last minute when they fall asleep exhausted and take on the look of an angel.
But they do demand attention; they need your time, lots of pats, walks, training and more.
And as I explained to Lola, puppies don’t have an off switch or replaceable batteries which can be recharged when they run flat or removed so you can have a rest between play times. They are not like a toy which can be stored in a cupboard until next time.
I told her that sometimes people do not realise how much hard work a puppy can be as they learn how to do the things a grown up dog needs to know in order to live happily in a family.
I wasn’t sure if Lola had understood what I was trying to explain to her until I saw her letter to Santa which read –
I cannot wait to give thanks for my Thanksgiving Dinner! Not only is it doggy-licious but it reminds me of how lucky I am.
Mrs T makes the day special with all the decorations and wonderful food. Mr and Mrs T are very generous so there is always a house full of guests and the wonderful part of that, from a dog’s point of view, is that most of them have no idea about the “don’t feed the dog from the table” rule. Much to my delight, this makes me a huge winner on the day.
It is the one day I am happy to play dumb, do the odd trick and accept any food offerings with a wag of the tail and a tilt of the head (dinner guests just love that tilt of the head!).
This year though Lola will be BIG competition, she is cute and quick. I’ve watched her dart around under the table with precision and sleekness well beyond all expectations of a dog her size. It is definitely going to be game on for my slice of the turkey!
I have to say though, I’ve never quite understood the philosophy around not letting doggie family members dine at the Thanksgiving table and I was even more disturbed when I saw pages on the internet dedicated to the topic! http://voices.yahoo.com/preventing-guests-feeding-dog-table-scraps-5497785.html?cat=53
When you read things like that you know the odds are really stacked against you in terms of getting free range to Thanksgiving treats.
Sparky says it’s in our best interest not to nibble on Thanksgiving leftovers, so we should work out a compromise for our menu with Mrs T? That way, he says, we can have a guilt free way to being thankful about a roast turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin thanksgiving dinner.
But I have to ask – is there such a thing as a recipe for guilt free dog friendly Thanksgiving gravy?
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