Recipe Column: A mother all over again
My Mother’s Day is going to be a little more special this year. I’ve become a mom-again. I adopted a wiener dog, and his name is Homey.
I suppose there are those scoffing at the idea that having a dog classifies you as a mother, but I know just as many that would disagree. After all, part of a mom’s job is nurturing and tending a living being, and any good pet owner knows, that’s what living with an animal is all about.
Faithful readers will recall my adoption of Crawdad the kitten last fall. The 10 months before her “divine” presence in the house there was nothing, which resulted in a very, very empty nest. I needed something to tend, and thought maybe a cat would fill this void. But Crawdad has developed a decidedly independent streak. Affection is doled out on her terms only, and playtime is at her discretion. Besides, something was missing, specifically dog activities.
For instance, have you ever tried to walk a cat? One time a few months back, I decided that maybe Crawdad would like to experience the great outdoors. It was a beautiful winter day, with a blanket of fresh snow beckoning.
With leash in hand we step onto the deck. The animal was momentarily stunned and then took off like a sprite. Everything was game; the dead leaves fluttering on an oak, blades of grass poking through the snow; and the calls of birds made her zig zag in excitement. We went about 20 feet total, while producing a roundabout and undulating track in the fresh powder.
A little while later a friend stopped by and wanted to know if I was tipping a few. I looked at him quizzically. “Did you make those tracks in the driveway?” he asked. I got a big laugh out of that.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that what I needed was a dog, and so the search began. I had a couple of criterion though. I wanted to adopt one from a shelter and it had to be smallish. That was it and the hunt was on.
This searching became an obsession. I studied dogs of every breed, in shelters from all over the state. Poodles and pugs, terriers to Chihuahuas were all considered. This went on for months and then one day I woke up and decided when it was time, the perfect animal would come into my life. And I was right.
About a week later a friend showed me Homey’s picture on her phone. He was in a foster home, but had originated as a stray from the Forest County Humane Society. To tell the truth, I sort of shrugged him off. I had never even considered a wiener dog. But then his foster mom emailed me and described him as lots of fun and pretty much trained in all the important ways, I was intrigued and requested a visit.
We made arrangements to meet at Hodag Park. My first glimpse of him was a blur as he burst out of the car like a bullet and then I was handed the leash. He took off and the leash slipped out of my hand. But he came when I called him and skidded to a stop at my feet, looking up at me with big brown eyes. At first I was hesitant but a voice in the back of my head kept repeating “This is your dog, this is your dog,” and unbidden I heard myself say “I’ll take him.”
He even named himself. His temporary moniker was “Rocko” but at least for me, he wouldn’t respond to it. The next morning I was drinking my coffee and the little dog was gazing out the window. On a whim I started listing off, what I thought were good doggie names. Wally, Reggie, Ollie, Rover, etc. but none made him even blink. Then I remembered a show with a clown named Homey, and without much faith blurted it out. He turned with a start then jumped in my lap. So Homey he became.
I’m glad I listened to that little voice inside my head though, because since his arrival a couple of months ago, he’s brought nothing but joy. He’s as sleek and shiny as a seal pup, handsomely black with rich tan highlights. But best of all, once again, there’s wet nose smudges on the picture windows; there’s the jingle of tags echoing through the house; and before-bed strolls with the stars shining brightly and, I might add, straight and true footprints up and back the driveway.
So now there are two in my household, and I couldn’t feel more motherly if I tried. Life is once again complete.
This Mother’s Day I’ll be celebrating with my human son, as well as my furry kids. I’m going to contribute a dessert that has been a family favorite for years.
And I’ve realized something that I’ll be especially grateful for this Sunday-that families come in many different shapes and forms, but really what makes life rich is a happy home with lots of love. And I see that every time I look into Homey’s eyes.
Happy Mother’s Day.
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (18 oz.) roll refrigerated sugar cookies
2 cans (21 oz. each) cherry pie filling
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended; set aside. Remove cookie dough from wrapper; place in ungreased 13×9-inch pan. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Spoon and spread filling evenly over crust. Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool completely, about 40 minutes. In another medium bowl, mix topping ingredients; spread over top. Serve cold.
Associate Editor’s note: I have gotten a lot of feedback on a food column article I wrote about hunting and eating mushrooms a couple of weeks ago. For those that are interested, I wrote about it in my blog. Let’s just say I learned something new. Visit my blog right here and find out more about these fungi.