Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh no, Papa, not the harness!

Watching a few episodes of The Dog Whisperer, my parents and I admired Cesar's ability to handle dogs. Sure, Papaya went through an extended naughty phase, but we counted ourselves lucky that she never freaked out at toasters, skateboards, or other dogs. I prided myself on how our walks seemed to calm her down and curb undesirable behavior.

Pops does still have her share of bad habits. When she's in the car, she likes to stand on the armrest, peeking forward and licking the driver's face.

So my parents bought her a harness that attaches to a seat belt. (Pops did not get excited about this gift.) We adjusted the straps and my dad took her for a walk — 'cause you can also clip it to a leash! All good.

When Pops and I left my parents' house, I buckled the harness into the center seat belt. She didn't look pleased but laid down anyway — submission! — and was silent during the ride.

So imagine my surprise when I opened the back door to let her out.

She was sans harness. What the? It was still strapped to the seat belt, but she had escaped. My fugitive dog had been completely and quietly disobedient.

Not to be deterred, I gave it another try today. I adjusted the straps, put her in the harness, and clipped her in. Then I started the car, turned to look at her, and watched her bend her front leg to slip out of the entire contraption.

Animals 3, Naomi 0.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A holiday tale: Baked goods

For this year's gifts, I made mint brownies.

Whether it was the minty cream cheese filling or the chocolate frosting with Andes pieces, the winterfresh bars were a hit. No complaints at Highlander, work, or Jen's baby shower.

I also tried a new recipe: peppermint bark brownies.

They were more fudgy and less cakey than the winterfresh bars, but the peppermint bark topping was nice and crunchy. It's also less work to make only one kind of batter and skip the frosting step. So each of the recipes has its appeal.

I dropped off a plate of peppermint bark brownies on the back step at my neighbor Jody's house. A couple of hours later, she called to ask what was in them: her dog, Harry, had eaten every single one. As well as the aluminum foil that covered the plate.

Even though chocolate is toxic for dogs, he was okay. Phew.

The next morning, I dropped off a plate of peppermint bark brownies on the back step at my neighbor Lori's house. She does not have a dog.

I received a card from Lori, thanking me for the gesture:

"A funny thing... I came home, saw the bag from a distance. As I got closer I saw cupcake holders on the ground. 'Something' got in the bag and ate the goodies. The plate and card remained. :)"

I'm glad it's the thought that counts, because cupcake liners littering your porch make a pretty lousy gift.

Harry and the squirrels must really like peppermint bark.

Animals 2, Naomi 0.