Squash – Yummy for your dog

Butternut Squash Prep

I haven’t had a dog for a long time.  I remember our dog Pete would eat anything scrapped into his bowl – he had to share that bowl one summer with a Mallard.  That duck was fearless and loved dog food.  They go for protein every time.  My Dob Sarah would even try to eat grapes if you were.   She stole a whole block of Cheddar cheese off the table once.  Dogs are clean-up pets.

When I got my chihuahua I read everything I could about diet and joined a few Chi boards too.  Raw diets are very popular.  I’ve always offered fresh raw meat to my pets.  But I haven’t moved to this diet primarily because I’m lazy and I also take my chihuahua almost everywhere.  I have a small bag of kibble and dry meat in my purse!  At the Vets  I was told she is fat – had no waist.  So over the past few weeks she had been given less human treats and more of these natural treats.  Dali is looking much trimmer.

Dali enjoying some cooked Acorn squash seeds

In the fall especially I get into squash.  I mainly stick to Butternut or Acorn squash as they are what I grew up with and I have a real craving for them.  I read that you can give the seeds to your dog as a treat.  I love the roasted seeds as well so my dog and I often snuggle and munch together or snack on them when I’m cooking.

I have a love-hate relationship with Butternut squash as it stains my hands.  Normally I skin it, gut it and chop it into a steamer.  Rinsing your hands often can help with the bright orange and tight skin on your hands.

Seeding the Butternut Squash

Today I halved it like I do the Acorn squash and am roasting it in a bowl of water.

I cooked the seeds in a cast iron pan on low with a hint of olive oil.  Dali my chi is in heaven. I almost forgot to mention that she loves the flesh as well.  I mix it with other veggies, rice or meat so she can get at it.  When I’m cooking I sometimes offer small pieces straight from the pan or fridge.

Tonight she got banana.  Definitely a sweet tooth.

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Pets

Bella, Cora & Me

I’ve been a pet owner all my life.  When I was little I didn’t think about it and made every creature one.  Poor things had to endure periods of neglect and attention.  Being a child and later on too,  I didn’t always know what they needed or cared.  My parents tried to stem my enthusiasm but I was a spoiled child who almost always got her way.  My cat and dog endured many outings dressed, trimmed and stuffed into boxes or carriages.

I have lived a double life – one in the country and one in the city.  In the country it was easy to find pets.  They came by the dozen.   Cats and dogs were always showing up at the farm.  I played with the kittens and the mature cats whenever I could.  My dogs and I would walk the fence-lines and spend long hours under a tree or on a large rock in the sun.  I would race to the stables and snuggle up with the baby pigs and enjoy the older ones chewing on my rubber boots.  Cows have very wet noses and very rough tongues.   Chickens are silly and yet they are very sweet too.   Collecting eggs with my grandmother I also learned to be careful cause a chicken can bite very hard.   Sheep are kind of pushy – young and old.  My  father wanted me to join the 4H club but talked himself out of it when he thought about how I’d react to my calf being slaughtered.  He tried to tell me that farming isn’t about having pets.

Pets have been my closest friends for periods of my life.  They comforted me, made me laugh and were wonderful companions.  They began to teach me that they have their own intelligence.

Last of the cattle

Sarah

I found having a pet in the city a challenge and one that has led me to think about their happiness.  When I moved to the city after school, I couldn’t bring my Doberman.   She didn’t fare well.  The city sounds and the broken glass made her life very difficult.  Luckily my parents took her in.  I didn’t have a pet again for almost 6 years.  As a freelance illustrator I thought my lifestyle allowed space and time for a cat.  It did but as time went on my work and social life took more time away and she grew lonely and a bit nuts.  I got her a companion but she wasn’t prepared and though they did play and shared a bit the relationship wasn’t ideal.  The companion cat lived a long and lovely life with me and my growing family.  My first cat however became increasingly unhappy and fearful, culminating in a shorter life.  She only related to me.

Mitzi

Here is Mitzi – one of  my parent’s dogs.  When my mother was in the hospital for a few years Mitzi would wait for me to arrive at the farm and then she’d hop in the car for the trip to the hospital.   She was a working dog.  She and Bruno, her life-long companion, would take turns working and keeping my father company.  The year they passed away was very hard for my parents.

Losing pets is such a hard topic.  Each passing cuts like a knife.  As hard on me as the loss of my father.  I think this is because they are like your children and in some cases like a sibling.  Luckily for future pets they have given me much to think on regarding their health and happiness.

A little slideshow in honour of many animals in my life but not all.

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1st Writing Challenge – Owning a Chihuahua

I am not a writer but like many people I have aspirations.  I’m off to sign up at the Weekly Post.  I changed my mind about writing every day – have to leave some time  for my art too.

1st story

Dali

Owning a Chihuahua

Last year we decided to get a dog, after waiting for 3 years since our cat of 18 years had passed away.  My husband had some experience with Chihuahuas and suggested this breed as an answer to my desire for a walking and working companion.  It was never my intention to own a small dog – or any dog while living in a big city.  Here I am, almost a year in, owning the most adorable Chi there is.  Dali is my constant companion, my art dog and my personal trainer.  In fact I had better get her outside soon or risk much naughtiness from my darling.  I see her out of the corner of my eye, wandering from room to room in quest of some activity.  Best we hit the park for dog stimulation and calorie burning for us both.

We are back.  It is a cool rainy October day and Chihuahuas tend to dislike this kind of weather.  My Chi also dislikes outfits.  When I got my coat and shoes out she was very excited and came over.  Seeing the sweater made her run into the kitchen with a hang-dog look.  After a bit of cajoling,  the sweater was on and off we went.  We left the park for an urban walk as the grass was too wet and cold for her liking.  The temperature wasn’t too cold so I relented and took off the coat.  In the end she was very dirty and wet.   Her feet tend to splash mud and grit up her belly and sides.  We were out for an hour but she really didn’t get much exercise.  No other dogs were out to play with.  She ran after the ball a bit but mostly she wanted to go home.  When we got home she had to have a bath.

For many years I lived in the country and over time we had a few big dogs – Border Collies, mixed breeds and a Doberman.    We even had some medium-sized dogs – Schipperkes, a Rat Terrier, and Schnauzers .  Most of these dogs had abundant freedom and were great companions when farm work or horseback riding was the activity.  Along with dogs we had many cats.  Cats are a great pet in the country and the city except where there are lots of Coyotes.   My Doberman was my last dog and the city was no place for her.  As I work in the city, I got a cat a few years later and then another.  They were great companions but were locked into the apartment and balcony experience.

I don’t want to give the impression that Dali isn’t up for lots of activity.  She loves her walks and plays many games, including her racing around the apartment like a small greyhound.  This past spring and summer was her 1st and she learned so much about her environment, people and other dogs. We visited family in the country and she reveled in the freedom, exploring and playing with her pal Adam.

Adam & Dal - Spring 2011

In the city she has pals in the park and at my art teacher job north of the city.  She travels well and is quite good about doing her business before a car trip or just afterwards.  In the car, she stays in her dog crate .  The crate is where she sleeps at night and where she will go to nap when I am working.  The crate was originally for my cats and it has been a great investment.  Dali is about 9 lbs and although lighter than the cats, when she’s snuggling in her blanket she fills the carrier nicely.

Now after her bath and a nice lunch she is pressed against my back on my chair, sleeping.    Lucky for me this old chair has a long seat.  I didn’t mention it before but as I type, my budgerigar named Bow,  is sitting on my knee preening and chirping.  The budgies are free-flighted and that means they have the free reign of the back 3 rooms, flying where they want, which includes my studio.

to be continued …