An unexpected perk of us having a dog in our family is the comfort he provides to a sad kid.
I didn’t grow up with dogs, so I didn’t know. I mean, I saw such things on TV, but just figured it was pretend. Like the Littlest Hobo always being on the road.
There have been several times when Lil miss is sad, inconsolable, or feeling defeated and she seeks out Pup-po for a hug, or to lay on him while she lays out all her tears.
It happened again tonight and I was struck with my gratitude to our dog for being present with her. And for being such a good friend to her.
I’m sure that dogs and kids in two parent households can form tight friendships, but I could feel how alone lil Miss was tonight – angry at my decision, and unable to be consoled with any real depth by her brothers – and without a dad in the house to turn to. If we didn’t have pup, the situation would have escalated: she certainly didn’t want a hug from me.
But Pup-po let her cry into his ears, let her flop into his space, and just …accepted her sadness.
That’s a tough one for me. I want to help her not be sad. Help her understand why. But sometimes we just need to be sad, until we’re not sad anymore – then we can hear the reasons, and strive to understand.
Trio are with their dad (read about my intentions here) and for this visit I wrote out some ideas of what I could do while they’re away.
Well, I have about 30 hours until I’m trio-ed up again and, I’m sure you savvy readers have noticed, there is nothing yet crossed off.
However! I have done other stuff. And I contemplated writing these items on the list, just for the satisfaction of being able to record and remove list items (oh come on, we all do it.) but did not.
One of the things I have done:
This morning Pup-po and I made him some doggy bikkies. I thought of you, and wondered whether you’d like this perfect time-killer to fill up the edges of time in your world when you’re looking to ignore more productive things-you-should-be-doing. It’s easy enough so you think “Oh, that’s a small thing and it will make doggy so happy!” and yet active enough so you’re not ruminating or dwelling or listlessly (ha!) staring at the wall [hm, i’m sure there’s a better joke in there for a better joker. LMK if you see it and can articulate it]
Easy ingredients, right? If your dog tolerates wheat better than mine, please use that. My lil dude seems to have an sensitivity to it. I swirled up 1/3 cup of rolled oats to become more flour-like.
We need a cup of something – I just used a trifecta of binding agents that I had on hand: 1/3 cup of ground up oats, 1/3 cup of whole oats, 1/3 cup quinoa flour – you can use whatever you like. I wanted to channel my Tasty capabilities, so I used the smaller glass dish and poured that trifecta into said dish.
Next is some baby food, or that amount of pureed anything. I had peas and bananas on hand, so I figured a peas-and-carrots bikkie might be nice for him. I grated in a 1/3 cup of raw carrot (it was half-a-carrot, but my carrot was kinda small).
I am a *HUGE* cinnamon lover. Everything gets a dash. I was a little worried how it might taste with the peas and carrots, but then I realized that this is a dog cookie. He’s not going to care! I added cinnamon, but only after I accidentally used nutmeg (a total fail) because I put the nutmeg canister where the cinnamon usually lives. Sigh. I carefully scraped out the nutmeg and sprinkled in about 1/2 teaspoon.
It came together ok. I let it sit, thinking that the oats could absorb some of the baby food. But it never really got much drier. I probably should have used more flour (but srsly. Quinoa flour is super expensive) but did not use any more, and it’s FINE!
I even bought a cute little bone cookie cutter just for him. Bake it in a 350 deg oven (or if yours runs hot like mine, 325, otherwise they get brown and crispy at the edges, and chewy in the centre. Unless you think your friend will like them that way. I feel as though an all-the-way crispy bikkie would be good, and that way I can just leave them in a paper bag on the counter) for about 20 – 30 minutes.
Let me know what combinations you used! I think I might try peanut and banana next.
Poor dude just wanted his cookie, and I chased him down saying “Wait! Wait! Sit! ah-ah! Sit!” just for the photo!
A little oil in the pan. Some chopped garlic, and unevenly chunked up chicken breasts. Fry up until golden and surprisingly crispy.
Meanwhile, drizzle oil into a smallish pot and throw in some chopped garlic, onion, and celery. I like adding herbs to a dry-ish pan too, so I sprinkled oregano all over. Wait until the onion is softish (but this meant that the garlic was too brown. Sigh. Next time I’ll try to remember to wait)
I poured in nearly a whole tin of diced tomatoes (trio doesn’t like mushy big slogs of toms so I crushed most of them against the side of the pot #theyhavenoidea) and some olives. I only had green stuffed, but if you’re shopping, I’d get the best black ones you can. I chopped some, halved some, and left some whole.
This recipe calls for anchovies. Yes, anchovies. Do you have some in the pantry? Uh oh- they should really be kept in the fridge, even though they are tinned. (Weird, I know.) I only used one small, and one bigger and chopped them as fine as I could without turning them to paste.
It was sort of tough.
… He helps with the washing up…
(I washed my hands and then went back to the sauce)
…ok! Back to making the Puttanesca!
Toss in some capers. I included a few small (super tiny, baby sized) spoonfuls.
And let it all simmer together while you prepare the pasta: spag or linguine would work. Or zoodles if you’re gluten-selective like me.
Pup-po has some favourite friends (the cat is one of them, but the feelings aren’t mutual) and sometimes he has a hard time expressing those feelings. Sometimes he can be rough with his besties.
And, being somewhat frugal (in some regards and only sometimes) I usually sew up his stuffies for a few more weeks of play before being binned. They sometimes end up looking a little gruesome. But, he loves watching me work (or hates having to wait…)
Oh but he is so happy when he has his good friend back!
Umm… until he sees his really good friend, del gatto.
(This stand off is quite common. Pup-po is sure del gatto wants to be licked and sniffed, but del gatto has known too many dogs! Maybe one day they will better align…)
This is pup’s second Christmas with us. The x-pen is surrounding our live tree to keep him safe (ok, it’s also to keep the decorations safe – most of them are still felt and yarn from when trio was younger, very easy to shred up – and also to prevent the whole thing being yanked over! I’ve had to clean up *that* mess more than once over the years, and I’m not keen to repeat it!), but he’s much taller than last year, and can easily lift his head over the top to delicately remove squashy, stuffed gingerbread men.
He loves sniffing the nutcracker soldiers, and reaching for tinsel. He thinks each time there’s baking in the kitchen that he should have a sample. When the kids tear around the house, being “the jingle horse” from the song “Jingle Bell Rock” he loves scampering along with them. Just this morning while we were getting ready for school, we formed an impromptu conga line, and he merrily danced along.
Pup-po helps me remember the joy and novelty of Christmas. Not like I’m getting tarnished, but looking at the lights and glimmer through his eyes shines it up for me too. I can’t get mad at him wanting to eat the tea towel when it tastes SO much like all the dishes it has helped pull out of the oven (uhm, I imagine it tastes like that. I can’t say for sure).
Pup and I walked Biggie to the bus stop, lil miss and middle are still sleeping, so pup is trying to “help” me make lunches for them.
In response, I ask him to sit on a mat, and I walk around the kitchen and living room, hiding bits of cheese. After he sniffs my hands, he’s released to “go find it!”
He can be quietly snuffing around the main floor for as much as 20 minutes (and yes, I’m thumbing away here instead of making lunches…I digress).
But I’m reminded of last night when lil miss was holding on to pup’s lead while I took out garbage and recycling bins. He outweighs her, and she usually doesn’t hold his lead because he’s just too young and pull-y still. And of course, there was a dog across the road with his young person and two adults whom my dog suddenly needed to sniff.
Schiffle schiffle, scuff scuff
Lil miss is sliding across the road with pup as the engine. It was funny after we were all safely in the house, but what if a car sped up the street in that same moment? What if their dog hadn’t been friendly?
As it turns out, the adults were part of the problem (I definitely acknowledge that lil miss shouldn’t have been holding his lead. And I suppose I could have out the garbage after The Walking Dead. There are lots of potential shouldas.)
These two adults watched a lil girl being dragged across the road, and all they did was quietly ask her to “please pull your dog away from our dog!” Seems to me, one of their 4 strong arms might have reached over to assist? Work together a little? We are in the exact same neighbourhood, and have likely said hi to each other before.
I was over as soon as I could, and laughingly pulled pup apart. These things happen, right? Ha ha ha.
Um. No. They were not amused.
I try to extend compassion to them, as I would appreciate compassion from them. But I can’t imagine what they were thinking to just stand by and get irritated (my perception) instead of helping out.
Is this kind of the same mentality as what we see in the parts of the world who aren’t helping refugees? What can any one of us do as individuals?