Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chicken Liverbread

 You know, like Gingerbread... only different.  :)

There's this thing with dogs - they like it a lot if you reward them for doing something good.  I'm a huge stickler for making sure dogs get rewarded for doing good things - in fact, I find most people don't reward anywhere near enough for my liking.
Somehow people come to the conclusion that just because a dog has been sitting on command for 3 years now, you can't tell him he's a good boy for doing it today.  We all know what that's like - we often experience it at work, it sucks, and we all know it.  I'll never understand why we choose to be like that with our dogs.
 One very easy way to reward dogs is by giving them food.  Most dogs are pretty big fans of food.
At dog shows we tend to use lots of food.  There's lots of waiting and standing around and boredom at dog shows, but a handler has to keep the dog engaged and happy.  Food is often good for achieving engaged and happy.  Unfortunately, food often makes a mess in pockets.  It'd greasy, slimy, crumbly and stinky.  Some of it is in big pieces and hard to break, tear, or otherwise reduce in size and often if you do break it up it makes a mess.

There are some options out there that are less problematic, but they're also comprised of more "food-like products" that real food.  I can't pronounce many of the ingredients, and if I can they are nondescript things like "meat meal" and "animal fat".

So, today, since my freezer is packed full of liver I need to do SOMETHING with - I decided to work on developing my own recipe.  Believe it or not, my very first batch seems to be a winning combination.    

Here's how I did it:

First, toss two cups of chicken livers into the food processor and give 'em hell.  Make sure they're really well pureed.

It might look like a strawberry smoothie, but it sure doesn't SMELL like one.
Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and mix it in well.  Then add another 1/2 cup, this time pulsing it in just until the flour is combined.  Things will be looking like a pretty sticky gooey mess by now.

 Place a sheet of wax paper on a pan or baking stone and place all of the "batter" onto it.  The stone I used is 14" in diameter.  Place another sheet of wax paper on top of the goo and very gently roll it out between the two pieces of paper into a circle about 12" in diameter.

It is VERY important that you trim the wax paper to at least somewhat close to the edge of the mixture.  (I just used the stone as a guide and trimmed along the edge)  The one time I forgot to trim the paper, one corner that was hanging off did singe and make an awful smell.

Cook the mixture in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  At this point take it out, peal off the top layer of wax paper and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  When the bread is done, all the pink color should be gone.  (you can use a pizza cutter to slice down the middle and make sure it's cooked enough for your liking)

No matter how good it sounds at the time, letting the puppy lick out the food processor bowl is probably not the best idea you will have all day.

Once out of the oven, pick the cake of liverbread up by the paper and place it top-down on a board for cooling.  After it has cooled a bit, peal off the other piece of wax paper.  Use a pizza cutter to cut squares or whatever shape you like then allow the bread to fully cool.  (Give the begging dogs a little just so they can make sure you didn't mess anything up)

 You'll notice I left mine pretty large.  This is because the point of these treats is that they are one nice big piece, but I can easily tear off a tiny piece for rewards.

These treats are NOT dry and hard.  I want the treats to be soft and pliable.  If you want them crunchy, you could cut them up and place them back in the oven to cook/dry out for a while. 

Since there are no preservatives in these treats, you don't want to leave them out on the counter in large quantities.  I suggest freezing them, then taking out a few at a time to thaw for training sessions.

Also, keep in mind that these are over 50% liver.  This makes them very popular with the dogs, but pay attention to how much you're using.  A bunch of these for a dog not used to them could cause an upset stomach.  (this is partly why I don't use just straight dried liver) 

I intend to try making these with rice flour next, but most of the rice flour I have access to is very grainy rather than very fine ground like the wheat flour.  If you try this with rice flour, I'd love to hear how it turned out.  :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sun & Snow

Snow is always the most fun when the only tracks behind you are your own

Or of the dog chasing you.  :)


If you think a day goes by that I don't look at him and say "Good word, you're gorgeous", you're mistaken.

If this doesn't crack you up, I'm afraid something might be wrong with you.  :)

You should really click on the next two and make them big.     DO IT!
View of the park from the car out on the road

And look who's in town for a visit!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mother Nature is Bi-Polar

Yesterday you saw what it looks like here right now - inches of heavy white stuff. It's really quite beautiful.

But what about last week?

I suppose that's why they say in Wisconsin, if you don't like the weather - just wait 20 minutes.  :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

4 Months!

Bug's getting so BIG!

...and gorgeous!

We actually coordinated bath day and picture day, can you believe it?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Not Me Did It!!

"Uh.... you know *I* didn't do this, right?"

The guilty party - he's long gone.

Lilly... she doesn't even know what it means to be in trouble for something like this. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What are PETA and the HSUS doing to our culture?

This is a letter written by a woman named Amy.  Permission to cross post has been granted.

The United States was founded under the assumption of liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. To that extent, we are a multicultural country. We have racial cultures, we have religious cultures, we have sports cultures, we have work cultures. We tend to be accepting of other cultures. One neighbor can be a sports fan and a Lutheran, another a jazz fan and a Catholic but they still manage to be neighbors and to accept one another’s cultures.

The culture of the dog hobbyist/fancier is not so lucky. The powerful, rich, and mighty Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have decided that our culture our very lifestyle is unacceptable.

In 2009, over 140 pieces of anti-dog and anti-breeder legislation were introduced in 37 states. The language in all of these bills was remarkably similar. It isn’t by coincidence! It’s the huge, deep, lobbying pockets of HSUS and its ilk.
Wayne Pacella, CEO and President of HSUS, has indicated that he has no problem with eliminating domestic animals: “One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding” (Animal People News, May 1993). HSUS has over $130 million in annual revenue and assets of more than $200 million. Yet less than ½ of one percent of donations goes directly to the hands-on care of animals. Most of the rest of that cash, hard-earned by its donors, goes to six-figure payrolls for staffers, salaries for “social media” personnel who are paid to respond to any and all comments about H$U$, and massive lobbying efforts. In fact, the IRS has been tasked with investigating the 501c3 status of the HSUS based on the tremendous amount of lobbying it performs. Wayne Pacella is an attorney. He is not an animal husbandry expert. He does not even have a pet.

Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, has said “I don’t use the word 'pet.' I think it’s speciesist language. I prefer 'companion animal.' For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding. People could not create different breeds. There would be no pet shops. If people had companion animals in their homes, those animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelters and the streets. You would have a protective relationship with them just as you would with an orphaned child. But as the surplus of cats and dogs (artificially engineered by centuries of forced breeding) declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship enjoyment at a distance. Ms. Newkirk advocates militant action and has been arrested more than 20 times. She is an ardent supporter of the Animal Liberation Front, which is listed by the FBI as a terrorist group.

Who are these people to force their anti-animal, vegan culture on us? Why are we letting this one culture, the culture of those who believe animals should have the same rights as humans, legislate what we do or do not do with the dogs (and other animals) that we own? How can we let them dictate our breeding practices? These two leaders, and most of the staff of their organizations, have no experience in animal husbandry or welfare. Yet they have infiltrated the nation through legislation, the media, and yes, even our grade schools, convincing the public that they have the expertise to determine how many dogs a person should own and who should own them and when to breed them.

None of us likes puppy factories. We know they exist. Yet there are already very adequate animal welfare laws and regulations in place in every state. And while there have been instances in which inspectors have dropped the ball, there is no doubt that the laws do exist and adding another layer of bureaucracy certainly will do nothing to improve the manpower shortage that caused the inspectors to drop the ball! It would be much more practical and economical to simply consistently enforce the already existing animal welfare laws.

All of us believe in animal welfare. We provide food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and love to our animals. But do they really have rights? Having rights also entails having responsibilities. Taking responsibility involves having morals. Humans have the right to go shopping but we do not have the right to steal while doing so. Dogs don’t have that morality. If it’s there, and it’s edible, they’ll try to steal it. Dogs understand “safe” and “dangerous” it may be “safe to lay on the rug and drool while Mom is cooking, but it’s “dangerous” to try to steal food off the table but there is no morality about it. Dogs don’t have an understanding of incest. Dogs don’t go to the ballot box and vote. Humans do.

Alas, our counterculture cannot and will not leave us alone. Sporting badges that look remarkably like police badges, HSUS staff takes part in “raids” on dog owners and breeders. Raids! The very word evokes visions of war. Pirates raid ships. Armies raid other countries. The word “raid” invokes a level of criminality to those being raided even if no charges are filed.

There have been well-publicized cases in which reputable breeders have been “raided” and no findings were made, or charges against them were dropped – yet their dogs were seized and in many cases, adopted out, sterilized, or euthanized before the courts had a chance to make their findings. In one case, not only were the dogs confiscated, but so were the owner’s show win photos, title certificates, ribbons, and other mementos. They were not returned.

This is a war. The HSUS and PETA culture have been gathering steam for years, while our culture the dog culture has stood by with our collective heads in the sand. We have accepted the term “puppy mill” to encompass anyone who breeds more than a litter a year. Shame on us. We are supposed to be the experts on breeding. How does one gain expertise if we bow down to the anti-animal culture that says breeding dogs is bad? Why have we allowed this anti-animal culture to grow to its current, tremendously frightening level?

Most people would not dream of forcing a vegan to eat meat. If a religious cult of any type began lobbying in the same manner as HSUS and PETA, attempting to force its culture down the throats of Americans, the hue and cry raised by citizens would be deafening.

It’s time we stood up to the anti-animal culture. It’s time every one of us, whether owner, breeder, or exhibitor, took part in the legislative process that threatens to overrun our very culture.

If you don’t like Fords, buy a Chevy. If you don’t like meat, don’t eat it. If you don’t like dogs, don’t go to a dog show. But leave me and my dogs alone.


Yay for more snow!

Yes, I know many are tired of the snow.  We are not among the many.

Fresh snow means a fresh covering on our back yard when it was starting to get a little gross.  It also means FUN!

Wrestle Pile
Mr. Rigel
So THAT's how the paint on top of the fence posts disappeared.
He's particularly cute today
Big brother showing him all the important things he needs to know... like digging.
So what other naughty things are you going to teach me today?
Can you hear the old west duel music playing?
Mendel's favorite battle tactic - dive under Lilly.  If she can't put her feet down, she can't beat you up.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mush for a Cure

Yes, I know, the Iditarod is going on.  Once again, it's looking like the Lance show. 

I'm not bitter.  I'm not complaining, and I give the guy a lot of credit for his accomplishments... it's just getting kinda old.  Although, I must say, last I checked Martin Buser was ahead - that makes me happy.  :)  I like Buser.  I don't even know why, other than he named his son Rohn and I think that's awesome.  Rohn is a checkpoint along the Iditarod trail.  (someday I'm gonna name a dog Rohn - not after Rohn Buser, after the city) 

There's another race going on.  One in Minnesota that I found out about by following the blog of a wonderful musher couple who dropped everything and moved out to the middle of nowhere to chase a dream.  They, along with another couple, started a charity race called "Mush for a Cure" in 2008.  The event has grown exponentially.  I don't even know how to describe it, but the community of Mushers just oozes friendliness.  Some day I would love to be a part of this race.

Please, go check out the website and consider donating.

Then... go check out the Mushers.  See #35?  WooooHHOooooo!  A Samoyed team!  Candice has some beautiful dogs!  She's also super nice and has offered to let me come train with her team when Mendel is ready to start pulling.  I really wish I had some extra time and money so I could go watch the race this year.  Next year I'm going to have to plan better.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fun at the Dog Park

Making friends

Standing next to Lilly.  Little Bear isn't so little anymore.

Don't you just want to kiss that face?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Remember this...

It's the scene from my desk when I was working on pedigrees

Well, my desk recently got an upgrade. 

All I can say is that I never in a million years would have thought a 23" monitor could make a girl so happy.  It's bigger than the TV in my bedroom for heaven's sakes.  And the sound system... well, that had been sitting in a box on a shelf for a long time, but now it's rockin' out the Pandora like nobody's business.  (ok, maybe not "rocking"... it's played "easy listening" more than anything else so far - but it's still awesome)

Also, I would just like to say, Windows 7... rocks my socks.
And, of course, a sweet picture of Miss Lilly showing her little brother the good napping places.