The very first dog we saw upon entering the long row of kennels was a large and energetic yellow lab named Duke. I looked at my husband and said "That dog is too big. We can't handle a dog that big" and we moved on down the hall. If you've never been to the Humane Society, let me just say - it makes you want to adopt all those dogs and just take them home and love them. I know they are treated well and get fed properly and receive the medical attention they need - but it just hurt my heart to see them all. We spoke to one of the people that worked there about a black lab and found out that it wasn't good with other dogs so we gave up on that one very quickly. Then I said "What about that yellow lab, Duke?" The person assisting us looked at me and her eyes lit up. "Duke is a wonderful dog. He's just gotten a bit of a bad reputation." Seems Duke had accidentally (truly, it was an accident, at least five workers came up to us to explain how it wasn't Duke's fault) bitten a worker there and they have to disclose that information. Turns out most people don't want to adopt a huge dog that recently bit someone. So, we played with Duke and he seemed like your typical energetic lab. After about 20 minutes we walked back inside and said we'd like to adopt him.
To say that the people at the Humane Society were surprised by this would be an understatement. Duke had been with them quite awhile, already been adopted once and returned, and they went to great lengths to make sure we really knew what we were getting ourselves into. We assured them we did and the 2 hours of questionnaires and paperwork began. It is quite a process to adopt a dog, as it should be. However, if you have the patience, the Humane Society is the way to go. They make sure the dog is spayed or neutered and has all the necessary shots except for rabies. They give you one free vet visit (presumably so you can get that rabies shot right away), food samples, a month of pet insurance in case any problems arise, the list goes on and on. It's amazing.
We took Duke home with us that day. I can't say it has always been easy. There were times when my husband and I had very honest conversations about whether we could keep him. But, we, and he, persevered. We had private dog trainers come in and help us with some behavioral issues. We figured out that he is tall enough to easily retrieve any food left on counters and now we know to put everything in cupboards that he can't get into (this was learned the hard way - several bags of produce and a home made pie crust were sacrificed in the process). At this point, I don't remember what life was like before we had him. Only that it wasn't as good as it is now.
Last Sunday was one year since we'd adopted Duke. We call it his "Birthday" since we'll never know the real day he was born on. Of course, he was more spoiled than usual. Which is saying something because he's pretty spoiled already. I made him some special treats from scratch from the book The Ultimate Dog Treat Cookbook by Liz Palika. These treats were very simple to make and he went crazy for them. I even took a bite of one to see how they tasted and they were pretty good. They are not that different from biscuits I sometimes make for dinner. If you have a four legged friend in your life and you feel like spoiling them, make them a batch of these.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup grated canned Parmesan and Romano Cheese
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup evaporated low fat milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all of the ingredients well. Form the dough into teaspoon size balls (dough was too wet for this - I just dropped onto cookie sheet by teaspoon full) Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until light golden brown (mine was 12 minutes). Remove from the oven, let cool thoroughly, and store in an airtight container.