Food Column: The (creative) dog days of summer
I’ve never considered myself a teacher but last week I found myself heading a class for creative writers. Admittedly, at least at first, I felt a little bit over my head.
My very good friend, Dianne Jacobson, is one of those pals that has a way of getting me to exit my comfort zone and she was responsible for suggesting I would be good at leading this summer class. It was the middle of winter when she brought it up and I said “Sure!” with hardly a thought to what lay ahead.
So last week I walked into a classroom at the Oneida County senior center and seven eager faces turned my way. I gulped, took a deep breath, and the discussion commenced. And I have to admit, it didn’t take me long to come to cherish my students.
After we discussed the ins and outs of writing a good story, the class agreed they wouldn’t mind an assignment and so I gave them one that I got when I was first started out as a journalist. I had them write three unrelated objects on a piece of paper and fold it up. Then the pieces of paper were shuffled and everyone picked one including me. Here’s what was written on the piece of paper I chose; a pet, summer fun and back to school. The assignment is to write a story that includes all the items on your paper.
Just for fun I am going to share my story assignment with faithful Food Column readers but if anyone is interested in this class come join us. It starts at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Oneida County Senior Center located in Rhinelander. There’s no fee, no pressure and it’s lots of fun.
So here is my assignment for the class:
Some people might call me a pet, but I am much more than that. I am a handsome black and tan wiener dog, and my name is Homey. My human’s name is Mary Ann, at least that’s the sound she comes to.
When I was a young dog I had a different human. I can’t tell my Mary Ann exactly what happened but she knows I was found in a snow bank and taken to a place where there were lots of dogs inside cages. I was put into one too and didn’t like it very much. Then two nice humans came and got me, Karen and Tom, and I lived at their house for a while. It was fun because there were other wiener dogs I could play with.
Then I had to have an operation and some sharp pricks into my skin. I didn’t like that very much either. In fact, I was very scared. One day, when I was feeling better Karen and Tom brought me to a great place with lots of green grass and a big, big bowl of water, they called Hodag Park. That’s when I met Mary Ann and she brought me to her big doghouse in the country.
You know, I really thought my other human would come and get me. I would look out the window for hours watching but they never came. That’s when I knew this Mary Ann was my new human and it took awhile but now I love her more than any human on earth.
I try my best to make her happy. I jump with joy when she walks in the door. I play fetch and tug of war with my rope. I’m a good snuggler and I know Mary Ann loves this because she always pets me really soft then.
But I can be naughty. If fact, a few months ago Mary Ann said, “you are going back to school” and every night we would practice making my manners better. I had to learn how to put my behind on the floor when humans say the sound “sit.” I know how to “stay” and “come” and if I feel like it I will lift up my paw when I hear the sound “shake” although I think this is ridiculous.
Then when one day my human told me I had “graduated” and was so excited she made me some homemade treats, which I love. I hope she shares this recipe with other humans who have children like me.
Now we are having lots of summer fun. I have a brother named Bubs, and my whole pack goes on walks. We all like to ride in the big metal thing that goes real fast down the road and sometimes my human will even take us to a place where there is water as far as the eye can see! I like the people who visit our house too. I always greet them at the door and they pet me real nice. That’s what I like the best.
I feel very lucky I have Mary Ann as my human. I will always love her unconditionally no matter what and I know my job is to make her happy. There are other dogs that have a harder life, I saw them in that place a while ago. I hope humans know how much it means to us when we can live with them. That’s why we are here, just to love.
Homey’s Favorite Doggie Treats
1 cup whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten free flour
1 cup of grated carrots
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together until dough forms. Roll dough into small balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press dough down slightly so the biscuits are about about 1/4 inch thick. Bake until golden brown 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.