Homemade Dog Treats for Opening Day

 Homemade Dog Treats for Baseball Season, Dog Treats, Dog Treat Recipe #Baseball #YogurtIcing #HealthyDogTreats #DIYDogTreats #DIY #OpeningDay #CincinnatiReds

As you can probably imagine, Cincinnati Reds Opening Day is a big deal around here. On the years that we don’t go to the season opener, we enjoy hot dogs, pretzels and good beer at home. Even our pups like to get in on the celebration! (Well, any celebration, really. As we all know, dogs are pretty much always ready to party.) They wear holiday appropriate garb and discuss intricate stats about our city’s boys of summer. Baboon would love to see Joey Votto get a ring this year while Gorilla watches Gapper on the television with confusion in her eyes. (We all do.)

This year, we decided to up their celebration game with some homemade dog treats created and adorned especially in honor of America’s favorite past time. This recipe is so easy and can be made with or without the icing on top. But who are we kidding? We are a house full of artists, so of course the cookies were going to be decorated. *Beautifully, even. :)

*Okay, that’s subjective, we know.

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Homemade Dog Treats for Opening Day

Dog Treat Recipe:

2 small sweet potatoes chopped
¼ cup shredded plain coconut
¼ cup shredded and chopped carrot
½ cup peanut butter
1-2 cups flour of choice (I used oat and coconut flours. The amount you use will depend on dryness of your flour.)
1-2 tbsp water

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Dog Treat Icing Recipe:

½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1-2 tbsp milk (for a smooth and spreadable consistency)
2 tbsp cornstarch
Berries and turmeric to color the icing

 

How to Make the Dog Treats:

Preheat your oven to 350F.

First, chop the sweet taters and add them to a food processor with the chopped carrots, coconut flakes and peanut butter. Blend until a lump of organic mass forms. I added a little water here to help the process along. Then add your flours. I ended up using ½ cup oat flour (rolled oats pulverized into powder) and ¾ cup coconut flour. Again, I added a bit of water because the dough was dry and crumbly.

Next, I turned the dough into a bowl to make sure it was all mixed consistently. Like I said, the dough was somewhat crumbly, so I placed it between two pieces of parchment paper to roll out to about ⅜”. Then I used cookie cutters to make the shapes I wanted: baseballs, stars and bones, of course. I had to use a spatula to move the shapes to parchment lined baking sheets because of the crumble factor. Then I baked them at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

Let them cool completely before icing. (I noticed that the cookies were dry and crisp after baking, but when I added the yogurt Icing, they felt soft and moist again. Yeah, I said moist. Come at me, bro!) To make the icing, just put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Raspberries made a deep pink color, blueberries made violet and turmeric made pale gold. So to make the colors more saturated, I ended up adding a little food coloring.

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Baboon and Gorilla absolutely love these dog treats! Whenever they hear us open the container, we get accosted in the kitchen by our furry mafia. Demands for payment are made… or else! And we always comply because they are the cutest tiny mafia we’ve ever seen.

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Let us know how you’re celebrating Opening Day this year in the comments! (And if you have other dog treat recipes that you’ve tried and your dogs enjoy, we’d love to hear those, too.) Until we meet again, we hope you and your pup play like a champions today!

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Saying Goodbye to Our Dog

 Saying Goodbye to Our Dog #PetLoss #Grief #PetHospice #RainbowBridge #Hospice #PetCare #LabradorRetriever

This post is penned by Michelle Blades - Brent Naughton’s wife. Together, they share a wonderful life which includes some of the furriest, snuggliest, most steadfast dogs imaginable.

Saying Goodbye to Our Dog

We said goodbye our beloved pup Chimpanzee just over a year ago (today would have been her 13th birthday). She gave us nearly 12 years of everything she had - her perfectly stubborn attitude was matched only by her steadfast and loving loyalty to our whole family. We knew Chimp’s time was coming as we witnessed her body grow weaker and harder to control. She was always strong in spirit, forgetting her limitations and chasing squirrels in the backyard even when her legs did not function like they did in her younger years. Alas, it was growing more and more difficult for her to have a reasonable quality of life and enjoy all of the things she used to.

The decision to say a final goodbye to our pets is one of the hardest we’ll ever make as their humans and caretakers. We all know that with love, comes loss. But it’s a complex knowingness. We have to be the ones to make the arrangements. We beckon the loss as a last demonstration of our care.

The one piece of this putting a pet to sleep puzzle that Brent and I could never quite reconcile was a matter of logistics more than anything. We could accept that dealing with death emotionally and mentally would happen because it had to. The one hard truth about this scene that we could not quite grasp was that it would have to take place *somewhere.* A predetermined physical setting would need to be named.

Perhaps for many folks, that decision is made by default. They know that going to their vet’s office makes sense for them and feels appropriate in this process. The situation for us was a bit trickier because to put it bluntly, Chimp abhorred her trips to the vet. There was no part of an office visit that she found relaxing or comfortable. So, how could we ask her to go there and pack into a small room with a steel table and a linoleum floor (which she also hated… probably because of the association with the vet’s office) and wait for her last moments on this planet to arrive? The simple answer was: we couldn’t.

Fortunately, when the time came, a dear friend pointed us toward a group of kind-hearted folks who would be able to shepherd all of us through this logistical piece with the kind of care you’d want for any of your beloveds. That group is called Angel’s Paws.

Pet Euthanasia At Home

The work that Angel’s Paws does is nothing short of amazing. On that fateful day, one of their veterinarians came to our home and helped Chimp pass with dignity, surrounded by her family with a belly full of treats. It was a gut-wrenchingly beautiful way to send her to the next existence and we have been grateful for this service every day since we experienced it.

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Tammy Wynn, Founder of Angel’s Paws to hear more about their programs. It was an enlightening experience, to say the least. The way that she was called to do this work is a miracle in and of itself.

Pet Hospice in Cincinnati

We learned about Angel’s Paws at the very end of Chimp’s time with us. We’ve come to understand that this organization offers so much more than this end of life service. The Pet Parent Peace of Mind program supports human caregivers as well as pets as they wane in health, and provides answers and guidance to concerned parents 24 hours a day. Yes, someone is there to answer your call anytime day or night!

Tammy explained that many times, they meet folks like Brent and me on the last day of a pet’s life. They hear stories about how the past months have been stressful physically, mentally and emotionally, and know that their services could have helped this family had the family known to call them. Most people assume that when the vet delivers the news about a pet nearing the end of its life, there is no recourse other than just to wait things out.

Tammy Wynn’s mission is to let all of us know  - here in Cincinnati, anyway - that there is help for us during this trying time. Her pet hospice program works in conjunction with traditional medicinal support, not instead of (as in the case of human hospice). I am certain, should the need arise, we’ll use this service in the future (and all be better for it!). Likewise, I strongly urge anyone feeling lost or alone in the midst of caring for an ill or elderly pet to give Angel’s Paws a call. Someone will be there to help you with a kind voice and actionable advice. You’ll have the peace of mind to know you are doing everything you can to make your beloved pet comfortable. And that is a gift for both of you.

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Pet Loss Support

Although we didn’t use cremation services because we elected to bury Chimp at home, Tammy showed me the chapel in the Blue Ash office and told me about how it’s used. Clients who’ve opted for cremation services can schedule a time to pick up their pet’s ashes in a room that includes soft lighting, art supplies for therapy, a Lego tower where one can add a brick with their pet’s name on it (a ritual that Tammy graciously allowed me to participate in) and the space to work through this piece of the process. I can attest, it’s an incredibly touching, soulful place.

In addition, Angel’s Paws provides ongoing support to folks who are in mourning in the form of grief counseling and pet loss support groups. The breadth of thoughtful services this organization offers to families is quite impressive.

A Year Later

In the grand scheme of things, our pets are with us for such a short amount of time. Their superpower, it seems, is packing enough love to last our whole lifetime into their more abbreviated lives.

After a year of reflection about Chimp’s passing, I can honestly say that we would not change a thing about that day (I mean, barring the inevitable, of course). We showered Chimp with love, steak (twice in one day!) and, most importantly, a dignified transition across the Rainbow Bridge. It was truly the least we could do to thank her for the lifetime of love she gave us.

 

If you’re interested in supporting those that give support, Angel’s Watch is the foundation arm (leg, paw?) of Angel’s Paws. This organization does not turn away anyone in need of their services thanks in great part to the foundation!

Puppy Love

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Our new year began with a bang and a handful of midnight whimpers. You see, on January 1st, we made a two hour drive to the middle of Ohio to meet our newest family member. Described by her breeders as ‘spunky’ (which led us to question… ‘What does that mean…? What have we gotten ourselves into…?’), this tank of a 12 week old chocolate labrador retriever sat quietly as Brent, Baboon and I checked her out on the floor of her breeder’s home. By the time we got ourselves and our new pup back into the car to drive home, it was clear that our litter choice was spot on.

We named her Gorilla. Of course.

The trip back to Cincinnati was marked with snuggling, excitement, roadside urination (the pup - not us), sweet little puppy noises and eventually, exhausted napping. And, yes, we saw signs of her ‘spunky’ nature almost immediately. That afternoon, Gorilla scoped out our home and entertained her first guests. By dinner time, we were all so tired (did I mention we were out late ringing in the new year the night before?) and ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap.

We knew the next 3 months would include wee small hour pee trips down two flights of stairs into the backyard to let a wide awake pup do her business - maybe nightly. And so far, Gorilla has delivered on that promise. What we maybe didn’t factor in, or maybe didn’t care because we were so ready to have a new force in our pack, was that these sojourns would take place in the dead of winter. (Did I mention the first week of January in the Midwest was in the middle of one of the coldest 2 week periods in many years?)

 Puppy Love #PuppyLove #NewPuppy #PetCare #LabradorRetriever

I can tell you that standing outside at 4am, in the dark, in -2F weather waiting for a pet to take a whiz begs a certain kind of fortitude. An almost blind and unwavering commitment that defies logic prevails in that moment. This kind of irrational self-flagellation can only be motivated by one simple thing: Love. More specifically: Puppy Love.

Puppy Love is the thing that allows us to kneel down multiple times a day and scrub pee from the carpet without getting rage-face angry. It keeps a calm voice as Gorilla bears down on our hands with her little shark teeth time and again. It gently redirects her gnat-sized attention span back to her duties in the backyard as every passing leaf or tiny sound causes her head to bob and swing around wildly trying to determine from whence it came. It even encourages our sweet Baboon to welcome snuggles from the new pup - it seems she’s happy to have a sidekick around again, too. We could not be happier about that! Puppy Love appreciates even the messiest parts of this stage of our life together.

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Probably the biggest prize that Puppy Love has to offer is that it will still be there long after the cold nights standing in the yard have ended. We know this time will be short lived. We won’t need the level of patience it assures 6 months from now. At that point, we’ll just get to enjoy watching the incredible beast that Gorilla’s already becoming continue to burgeon (did I mention she weighed 20 pounds at 12 weeks? She’s going to be a big’n). By the time summer rolls around, Puppy Love will give way to mutual respect, warm admiration and the joyful, indelible bond that only pet ownership can give.

And to that we say: Welcome home, Gorilla.

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Baboon’s Top Ten Golden Rules for Making the Most of Thanksgiving Gatherings

 Baboon's Top Ten Golden Rules for Making the Most of Thanksgiving Gatherings www.BrentNaughton.com/pets #pets #dogs #topten #Thanksgiving #goldenretriever #golden #accesoriize #foodholiday

Our Creative Director, Baboon, has been diligently working on a list of her most helpful tips to really enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. Here, she shares her wisdom with all of us:

  1. Early in the week, find a cozy hiding place to avoid your Thanksgiving bath.

  2. That evil sweeping machine surely will be in use before guests arrive, so be on your paws. Ask to go outside for some fresh air during that time and SQUIRREL!

  3. Accesoize for the event in your most fashionable scarf.

  4. Greet humans with your cutest plush toys early to soften the “food ask” later.

  5. Pace yourself. Often humans enjoy midnight snacks, you need to be on your game late into the night.

  6. Be sure to visit every guest at least once, but especially locate and butter up older man guests. They’re easy marks and find it humorous to over-feed you. (It’s a win-win.) Also - follow the little humans. Their tiny paws seem to drop food more often. (The kids table is a goldmine - mine it like a “furry 49er”!)

  7. Position yourself strategically in the kitchen during clean-up. This is the time when scraps are most likely to fall.

  8. Circle back under the table after the humans have left. Scraps have surely fallen from dishes, uncle’s shirts or the high chairs.

  9. If anyone lays on the carpet after the meal, that is an open invitation to play or snuggle with you. In exchange, provide them with your favorite smelly toy.

  10. Relax, stretch out and be thankful for your humans, tummy rubs and food scraps.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone from all of us at Orange Collar Pet Portraits!