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I Made a Birthday Cake for My Dog

I always wondered what kind of person would bake a birthday cake for their dog.  I guess I’m the kind of person who would do such a thing.  Part of the reason is I like to think I’m a pretty crafty chick (I’m not saying I’m a pretty and a crafty chick…I’m saying I’m a chick who’s pretty crafty).  It was Finn’s 1st birthday so what better time to test out my canine culinary skills?!

I found a doggie birthday cake recipe on allrecipe.com and a frosting recipe from The Daily Pup (yes, I made frosting).

The recipe calls for an egg, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup cooking oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/3 cup honey (optional – I did not use), 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup whole wheat or white flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda.

dogcake

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 6 cup ring mold.  (I used a square brownie pan).
  2. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.

The “batter” looked something like this (blah):  cakemix

   3.  Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Don’t be surprised when your “cake” turns out 1 inch thick and is the consistency of shortbread.  It pretty much looked like an epic dog cake fail.  That’s when I decided frosting was necessary to hide the flaws (actual frosting recipe link here).  I used a light cream cheese base, added peanut butter and a dash of canola oil so I could spread it on the shortbread…I mean cake.  Since the cake was so flat, I cut it in quarters and stacked the layers.  Here’s the finished product.  You’re probably digging the fancy carrot pile on top of the cake, aren’t you?  That’s the crafty part of me I mentioned earlier.

finisheddogcake 

Truth be told, I only frosted the 2 sides of the cake that you see in the photo.  My perfectionist side lost the battle to my frustrated, the-dogs-won’t-even-give-a-crap-about-what-the-cake-looks-like side.  When baking for dogs, you need to know when enough is enough.

I decided to keep my day job and not pursue a career in canine baked goods.  But if times ever get real tough and I need to rely on my mad canine culinary skills, at least I know this cake was puppy approved!

dogcakecollage

Happy first birthday Finn!

finnsfirstbday

Have you ever baked goodies for your dog?  Was it an epic success or an epic fail?

Finnigan Strikes Again & Again

Finn, my whippet puppy, is doing it again.  He’s driving me mad, batty, coo-coo.  I’m supposed to be training for a half marathon but instead, I’m chasing after this goof ball:

slywhippet

He’s a 10 month old whippet, which I’m convinced is old enough to know better…right??  We (the humans) recently took a big leap of faith and started leaving Finn home alone, uncrated, when we left the house.  At first, we left him alone for 20 minutes or so and everything was fine when we returned.  Then we had to leave him for 45 minutes, then an hour, then 4 hours.  Yes, you’re right.  Four hours was a little risky on our part…especially knowing he gets bored so easily.

Here’s what tickles Finn’s fancy in the absence of human supervision:

grass Removing all of the dried moss from the potted plants and then leaving the moss on the kitchen floor.  What’s so fun about that?

mantle Finn knows that we keep all of our winter shoes in the basement closet.  He also knows that we are a forgetful bunch of humans and never close the closet door.  He finds great pleasure in carrying our shoes up to the living room where he chews and chews and chews on them.  When we get home and find all of our shoes (and boots, and hats, and slippers) around the house, we just throw everything on top of the mantle because we know if we put it away in the closet, we’ll forget to close the closet door and we’re back to square one.

mismatchedshoes Where the hell are my missing flip flops, Finn????  I can NOT continue walking around like this!

When I come across one of Finn’s messes, I think to myself, “When I find you, Finn, I’m gonna…” then I find this:

adorablewhippet …An adorable whippet who drives me crazy and melts my heart all at once.  I forget exactly what it was I was going to do to him and instead I pour a glass of wine, relax with my trouble maker and make a mental note to close the closet door.

Puppy’s Plot to Push Me Over the Edge

I’m pretty sure my puppy is plotting to drive me absolutely bat $h!t crazy…Crazy enough to be taken somewhere far, far away where I can get the necessary help.  Sure, Finn is a cute little guy and for the most part fairly innocent looking, but I think when he is alone in his crate, he is busy plotting and planning his revenge on us humans. 

You might laugh and think puppies aren’t that smart but I have proof…Proof that Finn is trying to drive me crazy:

whippetcountersurfs  Exhibit A – Counter Surfing:  He constantly surfs our counter tops and I do not know how to stop it.  Any suggestions?  One night he even stole my dinner off the counter.   I was downstairs walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes and when I came back upstairs to eat dinner, imagine my surprise when dinner was missing…gone…vanished…poof?!?!  I did find two super happy dogs nearby so I knew Finn scored the goods with his super counter surfing skills and both he and Theron enjoyed my dinner.  Are dogs even supposed to like Taquitos?

 whippetbegging  Exhibit B – Begging at the Dinner Table:  Need I say more?  Even our adult whippet, Theron,  who is very sophisticated, partakes in the dinnertime begging.  She’s just smart enough not to get caught on film.

 whippetpapertowels  Exhibit C – Paper towel destruction:  This drives me crazy on two levels.  One, paper towels are not cheap.  Two, when he shreds them, pieces of paper towel end up all over the house and it’s a pain in the butt to pick them all up.  Notice Finn looking away like he has no idea why I’m so mad?

 whippettakesboot  Exhibit D – Stealing Boot Liners:  Sure, he loves chewing on the actual boot, but he finds a certain pleasure in carefully removing all the liners from our shoes and boots and hiding them making it impossible to wear said shoe or boot.  The fluffy boot liners are the best. Again, notice the smug look on his face?

 whippettreatstealer Exhibit E – Stealing Treats from Jacket Pocket:  Yep, he’s a thief.  I was sitting on the couch one day and he brought over a snack and ate it in front of me (like he was trying to make me jealous, whatever).  He left then came back with another one.  What???  Where are the treats coming from, anyway?  So I watched where the little bugger was going and he kept going back to my husband’s jacket where there is a secret snack stash in the pocket.  Guess what honey?  The snack stash is no longer a secret.

  whippetoncouch Exhibit F – Couch Hogging:  We do not have a lot of seating in our living room…Enough for the family which consists of 3 humans and two whippets.  But in order for all of us to fit on the two couches, there is some seating  strategy involved.  We all know where we belong on the couch…except for Finn here.  He basically took up the entire couch when he fell asleep one night so the rest of the family had to come up with a new seating strategy.  And another thing, what kind of dog sleeps like that anyway?

whippettongue Exhibit G – Mocking Me:  You may not be able to tell in this photo so let me explain.  This is a picture of a whippet puppy, Finn, trying to make me jealous by hugging my husband and then sticking his tongue out at me probably thinking, “Neener, neener old lady.  He loves me more than you.”

How could I not go crazy with all these puppy shenanigans taking place day in and day out?

 whippetinsnow2

Does your dog or puppy ever do things that drive you crazy?  Or are you too crazy about your dog to even notice?

Will My Whippet Puppy Ever Grow Into His Face?

This post was supposed to be about running and it was to be dedicated to my sister, Amy, who will be running her first half marathon next year.  But I must take a detour because my whippet puppy, Finn, has some serious issues going on with his face that I must address.

Last night I hopped into bed and right behind me was Finn (yes, we let our dogs sleep in jump on our bed).  It had been awhile since I took a good, long look at Finn so when face to face with the little guy, I couldn’t stop laughing at what I saw:

whippetsmile

I saw a little 5 month old puppy with a mouth full of brand-spanking new, over-sized adult dog teeth.  I should have known he’d be getting some grown up teeth when I started finding his puppy teeth around the house…I just didn’t realize the new teeth would be so huge!

No matter what angle I looked at him, I thought he looked hysterical and I could not stop laughing at the little fella.  What the hell happened to my adorable pup?  He looks like a total dork now.

And the dorkiness does not stop with his sparkling smile.  Anyone who knows a whippet puppy understands they have these enormous whippet ears that can stand at attention like no one’s business.  Well, Finn’s got a nice set of those too!  They are RIDICULOUS:

whippetears

I guess that, like babies, puppies go through stages and I believe that’s what is happening to Finn…he is going though an awkward stage.  Fingers crossed it won’t take long for him to grow into his face.

In the meantime, Finn may look like a dork dog, but he is my dork dog.

Puppies make me stupid, running makes me sore, wine makes me happy

That pretty much sums up this past week. This puppy parenting stuff is exhausting. I’m pretty sure it destroys brain cells at a faster rate than any kind of drug out there. I’m left with no energy for running, or cleaning, or anything for that matter. My brain is like a blob of goo.

Last weekend I took my son to his long awaited soccer game (3rd game of the season) only to end up at the wrong field. Once I discovered that mistake (a mere 20 minutes later…remember, I’m a little slow) we hustled to the car to head off to the correct field. One problem…I dropped my car keys somewhere on the field. My frantic son miraculously recovered  the keys and we are on our way. One other problem…I had no idea where I was going.  I’m new to this soccer mom stuff and had never been to this field, let alone to the part of town where said field was located. I pulled over every 10 minutes to look at my stupid ‘smart phone’ with no luck.  I even asked Siri but of course she couldn’t understand me.   Long story short, my son never played in the 3rd game of the season because we never made it to the field and I blame it on the puppy.

momentsofstupidity

On a happier note, I did manage to get my 10 mile run in today!  My goal was to finish in under 2 hours which I did…barely (1:58).  I’m pretty excited about that because I nearly talked myself out of it….soooooo close to not doing it. With my first half marathon 2 weeks away, this was not the time to blow off a run.

As usual, at the end of the run I was glad that I did it but I’m pretty sore right now. Weird things hurt…second toe on left foot, right ankle, left knee and both arms. Why my arms? I have no idea. Maybe I was swinging those guys with way too much enthusiasm.  Maybe I was trying to take flight.

When I returned from my run at 10:00 am, I enjoyed a piece of pizza and a cup of coffee. Breakfast of champions.  After that, I took an Advil then took a much deserved nap.  I love naps.  I was invigorated when I woke up so I used that newfound energy to do something fancy with my hair.  I was going for this look:

hungergamesorg Katniss from The Hunger Games

But got this look instead:

napoleandynamite Deb from Napoleon Dynamite

I couldn’t pull this look off as well as I could when I was 12 years old.  I stopped fussing with my hair and put that energy toward something more productive…Making wine!!!

I’m not sure if I mentioned that I love wine so if not, let me say it, “I love wine.”  Today was a great day because it was CRUSH TIME!  We make our own wine each year and it’s a fun family affair. We pick the grapes from our vines, de-stem and crush them old school style (by hand) then my husband does some scientific-like stuff and we watch the grape juice turn to wine!  It will take awhile (a couple of years) until we can drink it but cracking open a bottle of homemade wine with friends and family is always worth the wait.

crush Gdestemming

Lesson here – Stupidity and soreness will come and go, but happiness will last forever as long as you’ve got some good wine handy.

7 things to never do while running on a treadmill

Before I share my profound safety tips, I will say that I have no special treadmill safety training nor do I claim to be an expert on the subject.  I am just a gal who likes getting on the treadmill and when I do, I seem to come up with some pretty thought provoking stuff.  You might read these tips and think, “Yeah genius, I knew that”, or you might think, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that??”  Either way, I hope a little piece of safety information stays with you on your next treadmill journey.

7 Things to NEVER do while running on a treadmill

  1. Do not eat baby carrots while running on a treadmill.  They are a known choking hazard and can kill you if they go down the wrong pipe.  I know we technically do not have “pipes” that go down our throats but that’s what we say after we’ve recovered from a choking incident, “It went down the wrong pipe.”  Sometimes we say, “It went down the wrong thing,” which makes “pipe” seem like a much more technical term.   Eat your baby carrots before or after the treadmill.  Do not eat them while running on the treadmill.
  2. Do not drink martinis while running on a treadmill.  Sure, you may get thirsty but if you try to drink a martini on the treadmill, it will spill because those glasses have REALLY wide rims and liquid splashes out quite easily.  And don’t even think about drinking it out of a sippy cup.  That’s just criminal.
  3. Do not try to moonwalk while running on a treadmill.  Today I was on the treadmill and Michael Jackson’s song, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” came on and I SOOO wanted to break out in a moonwalk.  Couple problems:  One, I don’t know how to moonwalk and two, even if I did, I wouldn’t know which direction to do the moonwalk…toward the front of the treadmill or toward the back.  It’s complicated and possibly dangerous.
  4. Do not paint your nails while running on a treadmill.  Enough said.
  5. Do not invite your dog to join you while running on the treadmill.  I just don’t think it’s safe.  Is there really enough room for both of you?  What if your dog wants to go faster than you?  What if your cat, Fluffy, walks by?  If your dog really wants to go on the treadmill, you should take turns.  Humans and dogs sharing the treadmill is a disaster waiting to happen.
  6. Do not bend down to pick something up while running on a treadmill.   I’ve dropped my ear buds, my tissue, my safety clip, you name it.  I always forget that by the time I bend over to pick the item up, it has been flung off the back of the treadmill at warp speed.  Well, maybe not warp speed but at least 5.4 MPH.
  7. Do not listen to the wrong kind of music while running on a treadmill.  This is not really a ‘safety’ tip, just something I thought of and wanted to share.  Music can be a big motivator.  Whether it’s a catchy little ditty or a lyrical masterpiece, music can have a profound impact on a person’s run.  Here are a couple of songs that ended up on my running playlist and need to be removed ASAP:   Tired – by Adele, Harder to Breathe – by Maroon 5, Another One Bites the Dust – by Queen.  Bye bye songs.

I’m sure there are other things you should never do while running on a treadmill but these are the ones I could think of during my 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Maybe number eight should be, “Never try to think of things to never do while running on a treadmill.”

Happy, safe running!

QUICK WHIPPET PUPDATE:

Puppy Finn is still adorable

whippet finn

Training & treadmills & puppies, oh my!

Whew!  It’s been a quite a week of training and treadmills and puppies.  I might be exaggerating on the training and treadmill parts but the puppy part…that’s been crazy, man.

TRAINING

My half marathon is coming up and my training time is going down.  I’m pretty sure that’s not how the training books describe the training plan at this juncture.  On Labor Day I did an 11 mile run (miracle in my book) and I pretty much thought I was a rock star.  But then I had an epic allergy situation take place for the next few days and I was out of commission.  By Thursday, I was off my game.  I ran out of steam.  In less that a week I felt like I broke the awesome little running habit I formed.  So, what do I do when I need a  little kick in the butt?   I spend some quality time on Pinterest and look at the Health and Fitness page and ooh and ahh at the beautifully fit bodies, the really cool exercise routines and I promise myself that one day I will make that spinach-banana-chia pet-whatever smoothie.  Yum.

TREADMILLS

I got over my “I don’t want to run anymore” mood when I looked at a calendar and counted only 3 more weekends before the half (well, that and the Pinterest fix).  That was a nice tasty dose of reality…just as tasty as that chia pet smoothie, I bet.  Anyway, I tried running outside but the air quality was very poor due to fires in Central WA.   I busted out my trusty inhaler, ditched the outdoor runs and instead did some running on the treadmill.  I even did an 8 mile run.  EIGHT MILES on a treadmill!  Not a lot of interesting scenery but I felt great and was proud that I accomplished that goal.  I made fantastic use of my treadmill time and watched an episode of Rookie Blue, listened a bit to my audio book (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) and I came up with a genius idea for treadmill manufacturers.

Instead of a calorie counting feature, there should be a feature that counts how many adult beverages you just earned.  Let me break it down:  Let’s say a glass of white wine is 130 calories.  As you’re running on the treadmill, burning up those calories, an image of a wine glass starts to appear.  As you burn more calories, more of the wine glass image is revealed.  Once you burn 130 calories, your treadmill lights up the entire wine glass image. BAM!  You just earned yourself a guilt free glass of wine. When you burn 260 calories, two wine glasses light up.  Guess who gets two glasses of wine tonight??  And it doesn’t stop at wine.  You can program it for martinis, margaritas, cosmos, whatever floats your boat.  Anyway, I thought it was an amazing idea…Award winning stuff.

PUPPIES

So when I’m not coming up with ways to revolutionize the world of treadmilling (pretty sure that’s not a real word), I am busy with being a puppy mama which leads me to the Whippet Pupdate:  Finn, the whippet puppy, is ridiculous.  We cannot take our eyes off of him for two seconds.  I’m not exaggerating.  We can take our eyes off of him for one second but not two.  He’s crazy fast and just disappears in a flash.  It’s like his super power…We don’t even know how he does it.  One second he’s at your feet, the next second he has vanished into thin air.  Here’s a typical conversation at our house:

Me:  Who’s got Finn?

Husband:  I thought you had him?

Me:  I thought YOU had him!  Garrett!!!  Do you have Finn?

Garrett: What?

Me:  Do you have Finn?

Garrett:  No.  I thought YOU had him.

Me:  Crap.  Where’s Finn??  We gotta find Finn.

This conversation takes place 4 or 5 times a night.  It reminds me of “The Walking Dead” when the adults always lose Karl.  Karl is probably around 9 years old roaming around unsupervised in a land full of ravenous zombies.  He’s the one and only child on the show that the grown ups must keep an eye on but Karl ALWAYS manages to disappear. Seriously grown ups, how can you lose Karl?  If you’re a fan of all things zombies, you’ll love this show.

Anyway, back to Finn…

finnplaying Finn looking playful

finngarden Finn looking thoughtful

finncollar Finn looking just plain adorable

Finn is a great addition to our family but I can’t wait until he’s old enough to start running with me.  Then it will be Slow Girl and really, really fast dog!  He will be the perfect solution to my “I don’t wanna run blues.”