Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer in September (and the boys take a swim!)

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

The path around the bay - we call it The Pond
San Francisco is not known for its warm summers.  This funky fog shrouds the Bay Area and makes for cool mornings, occasionally sunny afternoons and chilly evenings.  It took some getting-used-to as we lived through our very first summer in San Francisco. 

I have been told – by many natives – that September and October promise to be the best weather months in the Bay Area and that Summer arrives late in San Francisco.  The first couple of weeks in September seemed to prove these optimists wrong as the weather remained foggy and chilly and windy with little sunshine or warmth.  Oh dear, it seems we moved to Seattle!

Then it happened.  Yesterday, Saturday, September 17th – it was glorious.  Clear, blue skies from early in the morning throughout the entire day just like the fourth of July.  A warm breeze whispered lightly through the leaves on the trees.  And today, on Sunday, Mother Nature repeated her performance.
Walking around the bay with the boys, I could actually hear the buzz of the sun and the water was as still and flat as glass.  A rogue duck glided by slowly and silently, leaving tiny ripples in its wake.  We were all alone on the little dirt path that winds around the bay.  The boys were stopping and sniffing at every bush and I was taking in the sights.  The San Francisco skyline was clearly visible today (I love that!) and some of the trees are starting to display their bright autumn colors.
It was high tide today and the bay water looked cleaner than usual.  Happy sunbathers were jumping into the water from a floating dock and Henry and Walter wanted to join in on the action.  It was so warm, I decided to give in and let them swim.  I unhooked the leash and SHOOM! – They were in!  Good thing I had my camera today.  It was a photo opportunity.

The boys wading in The Pond

Walty only stands in the water

Henry swims!
It was a good day.  We had a blast and now it's time to cook some delicious Opah for dinner and watch The Emmys.  Looking forward to some more summer weather this week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Hood

"Understanding your dog and knowing how to control him, develop his potential and resolve behavior problems, emotional conflicts and frustrations are no less essential than love and respect."                          ~ Michael W. Fox

Poor Walter.  He is like the boy in the plastic bubble - except we don't have a bubble for him. 

 We have The Hood. 

Walter Wears the Hood in the Car

I purchased The Hood (Comfy Cone) for Walter a long time ago and it sure has come in handy.  It is much better than those shameful and inflexible plastic lampshades.  How embarrassing and mean those things are!

We have had several allergy tests done on Walter because he often gets itchy skin and ear infections.  Turns out, he is allergic to so many things such as weeds and plants and trees and certain foods and even cats!  It is impossible to keep him away from all of these allergens - unless, of course, we place him in a plastic bubble like Tod Lubitch.    And so he will go through periods of itching and scratching.  The poor guy is itchy, yes, and he takes medicine and he gets oatmeal baths and rubdowns with oils and other soothing potions but still, he scratches and bites and bites and scratches until I have to, once again, put on The Hood.

In addition to Walter's allergies, he also displays some OCD tendencies.  Yes, that is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and dogs have it, too.  Water cannot bear it if something is out of its proper place; if it is, he barks and moans.  If he is taken out of his daily routine and doesn't do the same thing every day, he barks and moans.  If we leave some new or different object in his path, he barks and moans.  He digs holes in the dirt over and over and over again.  Then, there is the obsessive scratching, biting, chewing and licking that he will do for hours on end even long after the itching has stopped.  It can be destructive.  Because he scratches or chews on one spot over and over, eventually it causes a bloody, open wound; and therefore, he must surrender to the The Hood.

It does appear that Walty might even be fond of  The Hood.  It can be folded all the way up (his peripheral vision is blocked but he can't scratch or bite anything on his body) or it can be folded back in a fashionable, rain hat sort of way (as seen in the photos) which is the way he wears it most of the time.  It still keeps him from scratching his face and ears.  I do have to remove it during mealtimes as it impedes his ability to effectively eat his food and causes his bowl to slide across the floor.  Then he barks.  It serves as a lovely pillow when he sleeps and he seems to be quite comfortable.  Look at how peaceful he is - he doesn't even know I am photographing him!

Walter Wears the Hood When he Sleeps

Gotta love the Walty.  He is one of a kind and pure love despite his little OCD tendencies.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Henry Hides my Scarf

"The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them." ~ Stanley Coren, dog psychologist

I wear a scarf almost every day. I used to wear a scarf during only the cooler months of the year but now that I live in San Francisco where warm Summers are pretty much non-existent, I wear a scarf every day. Good thing scarves are en vogue these days; otherwise, I might look a bit daft with my long scarf wrapped two or three times around my neck in the middle of August. Although I have quite the scarf collection, I do have my favorites. There is one scarf that I received as a gift quite some years ago. I wear it often. It is a long scarf and so it wraps around nicely and protects my neck from the cold and damp fog that hangs like a curtain over the Golden Gate Bridge almost every morning and rolls out like a carpet through the streets of San Francisco. I like this scarf and should it go missing, I would mourn its disappearance.

Brian and I have gone out to a couple of  music concerts recently.   When our boys are left alone, they are generally well-behaved. They do seem to get lonely when we are gone for several hours at a time since someone is regularly home with them day and night. Henry, surprisingly, has the most separation anxiety when we are not around.  When he was a baby, he would chew things.  It was always a frightful sight when we came home to chewed up shoes, books and even furniture.  Thank Goodness, he grew out of that.  Henry is a true retriever and he likes to bring me stuff.  He likes to feel useful.  He will bring me shoes and clothes and towels - whatever he can grab at that moment as if to say:  "You'll need this, Mom."

The other day, following a night out, I was ready to go out the door to work and went to grab my favorite scarf.  I could not find it in its usual place.  I searched everywhere but no luck.  Finally, I succumbed.  I realized it must have fallen off while I was on the ferry or the bus or maybe just as I getting out of the car.  I was bummed out. 

A few days went by and as I was cleaning up the area around "Henry's couch" (yes, the couch is his and he lets you know it), I noticed something peeking out from underneath the cushion in his favorite spot,  and after taking a closer look - lo and behold - it was my scarf!  

Henry must have stolen it the night we went to the Jeff Bridges concert. Did he miss me that much that he needed an article of my clothing near him while I was away?  Or was he being a rascal and getting back at me for leaving him alone for so many hours?  

Whatever his motive, I was happy to have my scarf back.  And just to show him I was not sore at him for stealing my scarf, I let him borrow it.