JOPLIN, Mo. —
Like every kid, I desperately wanted a dog.
Specifically, I wanted to wake up on Christmas morning and have a puppy waiting for me under the tree.
She would be in a box with a big red bow. In my dream, I would lift off the lid and declare my undying love to my parents for bestowing this adorable creature upon our family. I would name her Trixie.
But, it never happened.
Fast-forward to grown-up life. I now have a crotchety, incontinent cat with her own bedroom and a 4-year-old desperate for a baby sister. We want our children to have what we didn't, right? I had a happy childhood, but I never had a dog that loved me. So, when I saw a box of free puppies at the farmers market last week, I took a leap into the unknown.
My child was thrilled. Mission accomplished. But now, a week later, the pain of day-to-day life with a puppy has set in ' literally. Her teeth and claws are needle-sharp, and she likes to use them on anything in front of her. My daughter spends 75 percent of her time screaming and running from the pup, which she calls Lovey Johnson, and the other 25 percent carrying the pup around with her arms wrapped around its belly, the poor thing's limbs dangling with a seemingly permanent pitiful look on its face.
Using food as a reward isn't part of my ideal parenting style. I've done it out of desperation and weakness, but it doesn't seem like a good idea.
Food is supposed to be fuel for our bodies. However, using it as a reward for puppies is OK. I'll do almost anything to get our new pup under control.
Try some of these recipes for your canine friends. You'll know exactly what your dog is eating, and you'll save a few bucks by making it yourself.
Homemade dog food
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 pound baby carrots
2 small baking potatoes
3 cups brown rice
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
Cook all 3 ground meats together in 6-quart Dutch oven. Add rice, chicken broth and water. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots and slightly beaten eggs. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. After cooking, put mixture into storage containers; it freezes well.
Basic dog biscuits
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (substitute regular flour or oats if your dog is sensitive to wheat)
1 teaspoon salt (or less)
1 teaspoon beef or chicken bouillon granules (or substitute beef or chicken broth/stock)
1/2 cup hot water
Optional add-ins: Bacon, chicken broth, eggs, oats, liver powder, wheat germ, shredded cheese, bacon bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve bouillon in hot water. Add remaining ingredients. Knead dough until it forms a ball (approximately 3 minutes), then roll out to 1/2-inch thick pieces. Cut into slices or bone shapes with a cookie cutter. Place dough pieces on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.
Apple crunch pupcakes
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 medium egg
4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup dried apple chips (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix water, applesauce, honey, egg and vanilla together in a bowl, then add remaining ingredients and mix until well-blended. Pour into lightly greased muffin pans. Bake for 75 minutes.
Have questions? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.