The Biggest Rock You Can Find (featuring Homemade Dog Cookies)
“It could get cold in town, don’t forget your jacket”, Shannon shouted to me from next to our campfire. I glanced at the dogs in the backseat, hopped out of the passenger side and shut the door.
And I felt something strange. Something not right. I knew it immediately. I turned back quickly, pulled on the rental car door handle- nothing. Then again, then again, then again. Nothing. My heart was beating in my head, my chest, my throat. Nonononononononono. Furiously running from front door to back door to other side doors, pulling, tugging. Nothing.
Shannon came up to me, smiling. “What’s wrong honey?”
“I’M GONNA NEED A REALLY BIG ROCK.”
I grew up in New York City, in a world of chaos and stink and torturous beautiful shoes that you can neither afford nor walk gracefully in.
I do not camp.
My boyfriend Shannon is very outdoorsy. He’s an ultra-marathon runner and has pushed me beyond my comfort zone on many occasions (I‘m an avid watcher, not runner, I mean come on- I’m not insane). Recently Shannon had a 50 mile marathon in upstate New York, near Saugerties. I had a little down time between catering a few big events and he convinced me to trek upstate with him and our dogs for a little country r&r. I am lucky to love what I do and love the city I do it in – for however crazy it makes me- and I can easily forget to let other stuff in. Shannon reminds me and I am always the better for it.
But here I was, far from home, on a woodsy mountain campsite, with my two most beloved quadrupedded beings trapped in the stupid zipcar we rented – along with the keys, the zipcar card, and my cellphone.
Now, I’m almost 42 and I don’t have children. I’ve never really wanted them either. This makes me a bit of an anomaly. It’s a feeling that I always assumed would come. I’m not busy enough to qualify as a workaholic, I’m not one of those people who travel constantly or socialize to extremes. None of those 21st century excuses apply. I just don’t feel it. And I have moments where I wonder what’s wrong with me.
So this moment, with the dogs trapped in the car, felt like a watershed moment to me. I couldn’t rationalize beyond figuring the fastest way to get them out. Believe me, spending however much money replacing the rental car window is the last thing I want to do, but I didn’t even consider my finances at that moment.
Shannon laughed and drew me in to his arms. “It’s ok honey, it’s ok.”
I was shaking “But, but, but… They’re TRAPPED.”
Dexter is a German Labradorgi (I made it up, but it’s a pretty good approximation of what he is – more Corgi than Lab or Shepherd, but Labradorgi just sang to me), and Sampson, who is Shannon’s dog is a startlingly beautiful German Shepherd Husky mix. I spend more time with the two of them than anyone in the world and they remind me on a daily basis what love is. Do you know that a dog’s entire job in life is to love us? It’s true and it’s so simple and so perfect it takes my breath away. Their job is to love me, my job is to deserve it. They keep me smiling, keep me calm, teach me patience, and prove to me that I’m not dead inside.
They were, by the way, absolutely fine trapped inside the rental car. Neither one of them was particularly interested in camping, so to get a comfortable back seat for a few hours was kind of a win for them. It took us 3 hours of attempts to release the hounds, but finally a park ranger came by with the number to a locksmith, who got it open in about 30 seconds. Hand to God, the dogs were disappointed to be let out. I think they may have flipped the “lock” switch when they first got in there.
Here is an wonderful recipe for homemade dog cookies. Honestly, I don’t make them as often as I should. I’m too distracted with people food. They aren’t particularly difficult to make one you’ve gathered the ingredients and one recipe produces an awful lot of cookies. I want to tell you that they’re the only thing that Dex and Sam will eat, but truthfully, they’ve happily eaten things … well, I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, they’re not that picky. These cookies are more for the owner than the dog I think. It’s nice to know that you’re giving them the best. And- though I’m not interested in rushing the season- they do make fantastic Christmas gifts for the dog lovers in your life.
(From Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)
Makes 200 Biscuits
- 3 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 cup Rye Flour
- 1 cup Cornmeal
- 2 cups Cracked Wheat (Bulgur)
- ½ cup Nonfat Dry Milk
- 1 tablespoon of Salt
- 1 package Dry Yeast, dissolved in ¼ cup Water
- 1 pint Chicken Stock or other liquid, warmed
- 1 egg, beaten and mixed with 1 tablespoon Milk
- 1/4 cup Parsley, chopped fine
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the dissolved yeast and chicken stock or other liquid and parsley. Mix together.
3. Knead for about 3 minutes into a stiff dough.
4. Roll the dough into ¼” sheets. Cut with cookie cutters into whatever shapes your dog enjoys. Place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake the cookies for 1 hour. Let cool (preferably overnight to let the cookies harden) before your dogs start snacking.
They will keep for about 2 weeks but they will last for a long time in the freezer.