Saturday, February 27, 2010

Home Made Doggie Treats: Basic Biscuits

Basic Biscuits

This is a basic biscuit recipe that is a standard favorite. I usually make a batch of these about every month. I also like to put a couple in small craft ziplock bags to give away to friends.

NOTE: You can keep these cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or frozen in a freezer Ziplock bag for up to six months. In hot months, dogs love to eat them directly out of the freezer. In colder months, I take a couple out in the morning to treat George in the afternoon.

1 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 c. Regular Flour
½ c. Powdered milk
½ c. Wheat germ
1 Egg slightly beaten
1 tsp. Molasses
6 Tbl. Shortening
½ C. Water


Preheat oven to 325.

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and then add it to the flour mixture along with the molasses and water. Knead on a floured surface for about two minutes. Roll dough out to ¼ inch and cut into shapes using cookie cutters.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool before treating your dog.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

“Paws to Read” Program at Local Library

Our local library (Muncie Public Library) has a “Paws to Read” program that utilizes therapy dogs to help children with anxiety disorders to manage their anxiety through reading aloud to a certified therapy dog. Each session is 15 minutes long. Children choose a book and curl up with a warm, fuzzy friend to journey into the kinds of worlds that can only be reached through books. The children know that their listener will not laugh at them or chastise them if they stumble over new words, or read too slowly. Their listener sits closely and attentively, emitting a sense of wonder and encouragement, and praising the child with licks and a happy, wagging tail.

The program stared in July, 1009 during the summer reading program. A patron asked the librarians about doing such a project and they were favorable toward the idea. By the fall of 2009, the program became so popular that nearly all the time slots are filled up a week or more in advance. Even children without anxiety disorders can benefit from the program because the activity, reading aloud to an attentive canine, creates comfort and confidence while providing a safe environment to practice a very important skill. Honestly, I wish I’d had this opportunity when I was a young child, I may have learned to read much earlier!

There seems to be no end to the jobs that therapy dogs can perform and the role they can play in helping to increase people’s quality of life.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Too Cold to Walk at the River

George and I can not walk at the park these days because there is simply too much snow. The drive down to the river has not been plowed, so I don’t even dare to try to get there. Instead, we walk around cleared and fairly empty parking lots. It serves the need to get out and walk and offer George a regular opportunity to relieve himself, but other than that, it is not satisfactory at all. There is snow everywhere, so George is not able to find a tree or bush or any patch of ground to do his business. He runs back and forth and around in circles in a desperate attempt to find just the right place, but all the places are cold and white and much bigger than he is, so every day I can see his frustration. I walk with him a bit, so long as the brutal winds are not too painful on my cheeks, and our outings are very short.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy, Clean and Smart

Happy, Clean and Smart is a local doggie day care, grooming facility, and training center. The name truly represents their philosophy and the essence of the business. When you want in the front door, you enter a clean, brightly lit, spacious and classy boutique. The staff is warm and friendly and the 4-footed little tea cup poodle greets you with a smile that absolutely melts you. Coming from just beyond the boutique is the sound of happy dogs in their various classes.

The boutique has a nice selection of practical items including food, dishes, collars, leashes, and toys. They also have fun and frivolous items such as jewelry and charms, fashionable dog clothing, and dog-themed knick-knacks and accessories for dog owners. There is also a selection of books, pamphlets and brochures addressing every question you might have about dogs.

Doggies can take the K-9 Kindergarten class, basic and advanced manners classes, and an agility class. Happy, Clean and Smart also offers good citizen and Therapy Dog classes to get certification. And if those choices do not meet any of your needs, you can sign up for private lessons with one of their certified trainers. The classes teach socialization and behavior management (K-9 Kindergarten); basic obedience (Basic Manners); tricks and distraction management (Advanced Manners); and obstacle courses (Fun with Agility). For dog owners there is also the Pet First Aid and CPR class.

Happy, Clean and Smart has a self-wash facility where you can wash your dog yourself. They provide the shampoo, conditioner, cologne, towels and blow dryer all for just $12.00. Or, if you prefer, you can have your dog professional groomed (and pampered) by their trained groomers.

Members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the International Association of Canine Professionals, Happy, Clean and Smart is a professional dog care facility that focuses on the health and well-being of dogs and their owners. They live the motto of their name: Happy, Clean and Smart, providing a wonderful support for optimal relationships between dog owners and their “best friends”.