Once Upon a Time ...
Gideon, CDX, Therapy Dog,
Mobility Assistance Dog, Search and Rescue ..
the dog of all trades .. trying his paw at writing.
For more on Gideon's career, click on his picture.
Contents:Double Dawg Dared
Dog Birth Acrobatics
Searching for the Lost
Everyone has their own little secrets for getting their dogs to work with enthusiasm. I use liver bread and hand out the recipe for the liver bread to my students.
The other night one of my former students, Judy, told me .. “I have a new oven now and want to make the liver bread.” So like a good instructor, I e-mailed her the recipe. Later that evening, I begin to get little messages on the computer from her.
“OK, the flipping dog cookies are in the oven. Now here is the story behind making them. The kitchen curtains have batter all over them, no problem as it will wash out. The reason I have batter on the kitchen curtains is because my NEW blender caught on fire while chopping up the liver and the top sort of came off while I was unplugging it. I now have dirt in my sink because I had to hurry and open the kitchen window to let the toxic fumes out and knocked over half my herb garden.”
I commiserated with her while inwardly snickering to myself. Then the next message came ...
“I have already cleaned the floor where the flour spilled, as I had it measured out and it sort of tipped over while I was carrying the smoking blender out of the house. Forgot to get the garlic powder out so I had to hurry and wash my hands good, as I had bloody liver on them. I will never get all those spice jars back in the same place, as now I have some jars left over. While the liver was blending, I was getting very light headed.”
Knowing how raw liver looks while being squished in a food processor, I always warn people it looks really nasty when preparing the liver.
“I didn't know that it was going to smell so bad and it didn't look very pleasant either. Now maybe I am going into toxic shock, but I just checked the bathroom mirror and my lips are not blue, but I sure am pale. My birds are very quiet also. They are next to the open screen door, I also have the air on to help clear out the smoke and fumes. I paid $900 for my new range and I can't even make flipping dog cookies! Dale (her husband) is just sitting there with that look on his face THAT I HATE. It says "after almost 20 years of marriage I am used to this." He thought I was making a new dish for us. When I told him it was for the dogs he got that look again. He doesn't know how close he is to getting upsided down one side to another side of his head. I would do it but Elka (her dog) would bite me.”
By this time I was laughing so hard, I could hardly type and had spewed ice cream on the computer screen when I laughed and choked.
“My kitchen looks like the Valentine’s Day massacre, as I am trying to stay out of the kitchen until the fumes go away. I will probably use up a whole bottle of that kitchen spray to clean counters with. So that, my dear, is the story. I have not made up anything. So help me God!!!”
That is when I informed Judy that I thought this episode with baking was worthy of a story for the club newsletter or maybe even my web site. And she said ..
“I'm telling you, nobody would believe you. The stuff is starting to bake and I am going to pass out. I fry liver all the time and I USED TO LIKE IT! Changed my mind about passing out, think I will throw up instead. The dogs are milling around me. I washed my hands very good to get the stuff off, but they must still smell it. They look like barracudas. Go ahead and put it in WAGGS, just change Elka's name to SHERMAN!!”
Well, I had been “double dawg dared” .. so as she continued to bake, I began to write.
Sorry Judy, I just make the recipes .. I don’t give out guarantees.
© May 1999 Brenda Sewell and Judy Smeltzer
Liver Bread Dog Biscuits
1 pound Beef liver, thawed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
*Puree liver in food processor or blender until mushy.
*Add all ingredients in large bowl. Beat until mixture is smooth.
*Pour into 9” x 12” cake pan or use 2 cupcake pans. Spray pans with Baker’s Joy, or grease and flour.
(For thinner biscuits, use two pans. I like the tiny muffin pans, myself!)
*Bake at 350° for 35 - 40 minutes. Turn off oven, leave pans in oven for one hour. This will help to dry out the biscuits.
*Cut into 2 inch strips. Cut strips into smaller strips. Muffins can be left whole.
*Store by placing three or four pieces in snack size baggies.
*Freeze liver biscuits in the baggies. If you dont freeze the finished biscuit .. it will mold.
On training night, grab a baggie and go!
This is a basic recipe. If your dog likes peanut butter, you can add 1/4 cup peanut butter to recipe.
Please note: This is a treat! Feed sparingly. Only use 1 or 2 pieces per training session.
Too much liver may cause some dogs to have diarrhea.
Darq Wind Dakota That's Enough
One of the pups from the litter in this story
Dog Birth Acrobatics
I had been baby-sitting a dog that belonged to a friend of mine. Since my friend worked away from her house and I didn’t, it was logical for me to keep the bitch here at my house while she awaited the birth of her first litter.
“Is it going to be today?” Wondering every day if the birth would take place made me feel like a child awaiting Santa Claus to deliver my presents. One evening I noticed a drastic change in the bitch’s breathing pattern and she began to dig and pile the shredded papers in her pen.
Finally! I thought ... this is a sure sign of imminent birth. Then I realized something was wrong ... the bitch would strain, but nothing was happening.
After several hours, I decided that enough was enough and did a vaginal exam on her ... only to feel the back of a puppy instead of a nose or feet. This was not good.
It was 6:00 am, my vet would not be in the office for another hour, and I was beginning to feel desperate. The bitch was working herself to death over this pup that was turned wrong and would not be born.
Waiting for nature to take over, I remembered back to a day in my childhood, watching my grandfather help his beagle with her births. I remembered one time when he was worried he was going to lose the bitch and the litter because of a turned wrong pup.
Grasping the beagle by her hind legs, he hung her upside down for a bit. Within minutes, a pup was born, followed soon after by the rest of the litter. The hanging upside down had allowed gravity to help dislodge the pup and allowed it to turn and be born.
Watching this bitch struggle I thought ... well, it is worth a try ... there was still 45 minutes before there would be anyone at my vet’s office. Taking a strange dog, that weighs some 60 odd pounds, and hanging it upside down was a risk I was willing to take to save the litter.
Hoping that I would not get bit in the process, I took the sheep dog’s hind legs and hoisted her backside into the air. Doing a handstand was not what she wanted to be doing and she told me so quite eloquently with several growls and barks.
Releasing her, I waited to see if her acrobatics had had any effect. Within seconds, she strained and a pup was born ... a hind end breech birth ... but the pup was breathing! She delivered six pups that day ... six alive and healthy pups.
Listening to the pups squeal and whine and make all the cute little sounds that healthy pups make was proof enough to me that the old country-style methods of animal husbandry still work.
© February 1999 Brenda "Rion" Sewell
(Top of Page)
Searching for the Lost ... and finding Peace
I do search and rescue with my German Shepherd dog, Gideon. One night we were called out to verify a walk pattern of a victim of Alzheimer syndrome. As I waited for permission to start the search, I began to wonder how often someone had waited in the dark of the night ... unsure, anxious, and afraid ... just as the family of the victim was doing that night.
I wanted to do something to alleviate their worry, to erase the frowns, and to reduce their guilt. I had talked with the young couple earlier and wanted to stop the young woman’s tears. The missing person was the young woman’s mother; her mother had walked out into the garden for her evening stroll, but had not returned. Upon checking the back yard, the young woman realized that the utility company had unlocked the side gate to gain access to the couple’s electric meter and had neglected to re-lock the gate.
After a futile search of the house and the yard, the young woman had called the police and her husband. By the time my dog and I were notified, over two hours had passed. The yard had been walked over by countless people. I didn’t know if my dog would be able to discern the correct scent from the twenty or so people on the site.
After obtaining a pillow case from the older woman’s bed to give my dog her scent, I stood in the back yard for a few minutes. I did this to give my dog a good scent in the quiet of the yard before taking him out into the ordered confusion that tends to surround the site of any police action. Standing in the quiet of the yard, I kneeled down next to my dog to check his harness.
As I kneeled, I closed my eyes and asked the Creator to protect us, to give us the strength needed on this venture, and to bring it to a quick closure with a happy ending. Before I stood, a feeling of such peace came over me and as I walked to the gate I could smell the sweet fragrance of roses. The yard being dark I could not see the flowers, but their sweet perfume filled my heart with peace.
With a deputy at our heels, Gideon followed the scent and I followed him. Gideon thrust forward with the secure knowledge of a hot scent. Tracking can be an uncertain type of venture, for there are many variables that can change the outcome. Tonight Gideon never stalled or varied his course; he pulled with enthusiasm, tail wagging, intent on finding the person he had been sent to find.
Within a half hour, Gideon and I with the deputy close behind came upon a huddled figure sitting on a bus stop bench. We had found her! She was tired, confused, but otherwise okay. Returning the woman to her family gave me a thrill as I watched the reunion. The young couple came to me and thanked me profusely. I told them that I was happy to be of service to them. The man told me anytime you need anything, you just let me know and you’ve got it!
I told him that I would love to have a rose from their back yard for the smell of them was the sweetest I had ever smelled. The scent was so strong ... I still could smell them. He just looked at me and said, “There are no roses in the back yard.” When I mentioned that I had smelled them as I knelt to say a prayer, he smiled at his wife. He then replied, “It must have been the Rose of Sharon. You were touched by God and blessed by His presence.”
As I think back over the search pattern and how fast it was, how quick the outcome, and how peaceful I felt throughout the whole ordeal, I must admit I asked the Creator for help .. and got it. Thank you.
© September 1998 Brenda "Rion" Sewell