Friday, April 11, 2008


Dachshund Learning to Spell

“Do you want to go for a walk with Leon and me tonight?” Ed asked as we were cleaning up the dinner dishes. Bam! Leon torpedoed through his pet door and began jumping, flailing and dancing at our feet in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Oops! Ed should have spelled w-a-l-k. We sometimes forget we have an eavesdropping dachshund that goes completely out of control the moment he hears certain four letter words.

Ed’s slip of the tongue had incited chaos. On such occasions, Leon becomes so frenzied that we can’t secure the collar and leash around his neck without accidentally pinching him in the clasp. When it’s time for an evening jaunt, the four letter word heel is somewhat meaningless to Leon without strict enforcement.

M-a-i-l is another four letter word we either spell or whisper with caution as Leon perceives picking up the mail as his time of day for running about unsupervised. He relishes in teasing and tormenting his neighboring canines as if to say, “Neener! Neener! I’m walking on your grass getting the mail with my dad, and you’re stuck behind a chain link gate! Ha! Ha!”

B-a-t-h is another mandatory spell. Dachshunds are considered to be hunting hounds, but Leon is a bath hound. Like a playful baby seal, he runs splashing into the bath the moment he hears water running into the tub. Drying off after a dip is optional to Leon.

Ride, bone, play, ball, mail and food are some of the four letter words that are sure to catch Leon’s attention. If he hears us say anything about the car, such as ride; nod our head toward the carport; or if he sees one of us standing near the car, he begins yipping and running circles in the grass. For his own safety we can’t drive away without him.

Dogs are engaging creatures that make us laugh when we see them running pell-mell into action with their ears flipped back to “flying ace” position or by their enthusiastic energy over simple pleasures like walking, riding, or playing.

Man’s best friend demonstrates unconditional love whether it’s by covering our face with kisses, happily greeting us when we drag home after a long day or snuggling with us on the couch, which ultimately creates a mutually warm sense of trust, closeness and contentment.

Like many folks, Ed and I feel the love of our bright, brown-eyed weenie dog enriches our lives. So, what’s the big deal if pets occasionally turn tranquility into chaos just because they’re anticipating a r-i-d-e or playing fetch with a b-a-l-l? Although, I can’t help but wonder what mayhem will occur in our house if Leon ever learns to s-p-e-l-l.


Leon has a canine play buddy named, Riley, who is a long-legged Jack Russell terrier mix. It’s quite a contrast to see long and lean Riley and short-legged Leon romping in the back yard or conked out on the living room couch together while Mom and Dad play cards to wee hours of the morning. Oh! What a dog has to put up with….

Riley’s mom, Peggy, and I decided to make our furry guys (our dogs, not our husbands) some homemade doggie biscuits. The boys loved them, quickly responding, “Ruff! ruff! ruff” which must mean, “More, more, more!”

Leon’s Favorite Homemade Doggie Biscuits
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon instant chicken or beef bouillon granules
1/2-2/3 cup hot water

Combine flours, milk powder, rolled oats, cornmeal, sugar and garlic powder in medium bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in egg. Dissolve instant bouillon granules in hot water. Slowly pour into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork to moisten. Form dough into ball and knead on floured board 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Divide dough in half and roll out each ball to 1/2” thick.

Make cutouts with cookie cutter. Or, make nuggets by rolling dough into 1” diameter log and cut into 1/2” long pieces (cut longer pieces for big dogs).

Microwave instructions: Arrange 6 cutout shapes or 24 nuggets on 10” plate and microwave at 50% (medium) for 5-10 minutes or until firm and dry to the touch. For best results, rotate plate every 2 minutes and turn shapes over after half the baking time has elapsed.

Conventional oven: Place cutouts or nuggets on baking sheet and bake at 350° for approximately 30 minutes.

Variation: Cheese Dog Biscuits: Omit bouillon granules. Add 1/4 cup canned grated American cheese food to dry ingredients. Continue as directed.

Riley’s Favorite Homemade Doggie Biscuits
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup non-fat milk powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons margarine or shortening
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons liver powder
1/2 cup ice water

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine flour, powdered milk, garlic powder, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening. Mix in egg, add liver powder. Add ice water until mixture forms a ball. Pat out dough 1/2" thick on lightly oiled cookie sheet. Cut with any size cutter and remove scraps. Bake 30 minutes. Cool before serving.


One of Leon’s favorite people, Chris, from Carlsbad, New Mexico has passed a scrumptious family recipe on to me. It’s an everyday salad, and by that I mean you’re going to want to eat it EVERYDAY!

Chris’ mother-in-law, Arleen, shared the recipe with her as a new bride, and Chris has been serving it as a side or as a main dish salad ever since. Fresh seafood, green peas, and crunchy onions tossed together with crispy lettuce, and topped with crumbled bacon bits creates a satisfying and refreshing lunch or dinnertime pleaser that says, "spring is here!"

Chris and Leon share a special connection, and their bond is strengthening with each tidbit of
f-o-o-d she is willing to share with him. She demonstrates a genuine affection for animals and often says, “Nothing compares to the unconditional love and devotion of a pet.” I couldn’t agree more.

Arleen’s Seafood Salad
3/4 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
One bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 to 1-cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
8 eggs, hard boiled, peeled, and sliced
1 pound salad shrimp, rinsed and drained or imitation crab or a combination of shrimp and crab
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Toss lettuce, onions, peas, boiled eggs, shrimp, parsley, bacon bits and tomatoes together in a large bowl.

Combine mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Thin with additional milk to reach desired consistency. Toss salad with dressing using a small amount at a time for desired taste or serve dressing on the side. With the addition of French bread, this refreshing salad generously serves 4-6.