Disclaimer: This is a very indulgent post. If you aren’t an animal lover – specifically a dog lover – you should probably go do some laundry, get on with your life, and check back in a few days when I’m back to talking about ice cream or a foreign country or my quest for the perfect cinnamon bun.
I think most dog owners feel similarly about their dogs – in that we each think our dog is the best.
When I first brought Russell home over five years ago, my mom said he was ugly and asked if I could trade him in for a different puppy. My dad said I was making a mistake, and we already had a dog and he was never going to love this one, and it’s going to live for fifteen years and I’m going to be married with children and still have this dog and have I really thought this through? These days, my dad spends most of our visits trying to get Russell to sit on his lap. My mom is more excited to see the dog than me when we come home. She continuously points out how happy he is to be there, and then she gives him steak and salmon and cuddles him on her lap. Unlike our old dog, who wasn’t allowed on the carpet, Russell has free reign of the house. My mom drew the line at allowing him in her bed, but when he has sleepovers she sleeps in my old bed so they can still cuddle all night.
Like most dogs, Russell is irrationally excited to see me when I get home. He’s terrified of my camera, and any noise coming from the kitchen. He knows how I’m feeling better than I do. He hates getting wet, and has refused to go out and pee for over 24 hours because it was raining too hard. He’s hiked Quarry Rock and the Chief with me, and runs the seawall. He sleeps under the covers and doesn’t get out of bed when I do; instead he burrows further inside where it’s warm and doesn’t move until after ten o’clock. He loves stuffed animals that are four times his size, and drags them around the house. If I put them somewhere out of his reach, he sits below them and growls. He chases squirrels and wants cats to chase him (they don’t understand). He would spend his whole life cuddling if he could.
Russell may not be the most useful dog, or the most intelligent, but in my mind he is the best. Since I spend so much of my time baking, (which terrifies him), I figured it was time to bake something just for him. He liked these treats so much he overcame his fears of the kitchen and my camera for a few hours.
Peanut Butter Dog Treats (coincidentally vegan)
Two tablespoons canola oil (or melted bacon grease if you have it and it doesn’t gross you out)
Two thirds cup peanut butter
One cup water
Two cups pastry flour (I’m sure all-purpose would be just fine)
One cup quick cooking oats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stir the oil, PB and water together until smooth. Stir in the flour and oats until everything is well mixed. It gets pretty thick, so I got in there with my hands.
Shape the dough into a ball, and on a lightly floured surface roll out to about a fifth of an inch thick (I did this in two batches). Use cookie cutters to make whatever shapes you (and your dog) are into, and put them on a greased or lined baking pan. These don’t spread at all, so you can pack them in pretty tight.
Bake for about 14 minutes, until they’re starting to brown on top. Let them cool before feeding them to your dog.
Final thoughts: The irony of these treats amuses me. I go to great effort (and expense!) to make sure my dog only eats high-quality, raw, gluten- and grain-free dog food. Then I bake him treats based on gluten and grains. But hey, I try to eat well most of the time too, and I love a good nutrient-empty treat from time to time. Life’s too short not to eat white flour – I know Russell agrees.