Of all of the new recipes in Make it Ahead, this might be the one that most captured the attention of my family.
Before Neil and I had kids, and before we even met each other, we were dog people. Finding out that the other was a dog person on our first date was almost as important as the big questions of religion and family. This was a fundamental similarity that could really provide some common ground! I met Neil’s little dog Georgia on the day that I met him, and later that summer, he drove with me to Wisconsin to bring my family dog, Cody, to Williamsburg to live out her golden years in retirement there. Georgia and Cody have both gone to doggy heaven (and don’t you EVEN try to tell me that they don’t have souls), and we have since welcomed Tippet (age 9) and Birdie (age unknown, but approaching 5 months) into our family. Our dogs are sweet, goofy, hilarious, and adorable. We border on obnoxious in our love for them. Tippet even tweets.
Tippet is a black lab mix. Her mother was found on the streets of Richmond, Virginia, wandering with a pack of dogs. Any of that pack could have been Tippet’s father, and it’s quite probable that her littermates had different fathers (ewwww). Our veterinarians have speculated that her father probably had at least some labrador genes, too, given her appearance and general demeanor. She is sweet, sweet, sweet, and a little neurotic, and cuddly and awesome. She is the most patient dog I have ever met. If it weren’t so impractical and creepy, I would clone her. She was our first “baby” together.
Birdie is a mystery. The people who gave her to us claimed she was part boxer, part Great Pyrenees, but I think that might have been according to Dr. Google. Our vet thinks that she is part lab, part border collie. She looks a little bit like a Great Dane, but she’s not quite that big. Who knows. She is ridiculous and fun and sweet and loud. Tippet is her best friend and favorite toy.
Because the dogs are such a big part of our family life, I was really excited to make homemade dog biscuits. But serving them had me nervous. You see, when our last lab, Cody, turned ten, it was long before we had children, and I decided that it would only be right to make her a birthday “cake” for her milestone birthday. I looked up a recipe on the internet, and I think it even had beef baby food in it. Gag. The birthday girl loved it – loved it so much, in fact, that she nearly choked to death on it because she was so zealous about eating it. I panicked and might have screamed a bit, but Neil gave her some version of the doggy Heimlich maneuver and saved her life. And so, I was a little nervous about serving anything homemade to Tippet and Birdie.
I didn’t have to worry. They loved them! But I did break them in half before handing them over. And as it turns out, making homemade dog biscuits is quite possibly the perfect weekend activity for a preschooler. There is rolling and cutting out, but nothing has to be perfect, and so what if they aren’t perfectly clean? I’ve seen what my dogs have eaten off the ground, and I can guarantee these were more sterile than that.
Bonus: these didn’t have any meat-flavored baby food in them, and they actually smelled pretty good while they baked – you really can’t complain about whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and peanut butter.