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Grim's Grub: Treat your four-legged family members right

I heard once that early human beings at one point depended so much on domesticated canines that without them, we might not exist as a species today. I don't know if it is true, but I can see how people might choose to believe it.

My family has almost always had a dog or two. Often they are hunting dogs, but usually even the hunting dogs are spoiled rotten. It's honestly the least we as human beings can do for creatures that devote their entire existence to us and depend on our mercy.

The relationship is kind of selfish in that we demand a great deal from dogs, including but not limited to training them to go against their instincts, training them to hunt and then taking away the animals they get, and all sorts of other one-sided relationships.

Our greatest disservice to these awesome quadrupeds is in our manipulation of their genes. I don't oppose the creation of breeds that live fairly healthy lives, but with many of the specialty breeds we have today, we strengthened genetic predisposition to hip issues, breathing problems and who knows what (of course, dependent on what type of breed).

Human beings bred dogs to look like giant hot dogs, small rodents and for all sorts of odd shapes and purposes, but we never did bother to breed them for longevity. Anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet dog knows - 14 or so years is just not long enough.

That's probably why my dogs get spoiled like they do. One of them is only a few years old, but the other is 9 and she has me feeling a bit uneasy. She is healthy, but she won't always be. It won't be a good day when our family says goodbye to Bugget, whom I inherited from my mother.

I am reminded of this because my sister's dog of 12 years (Bugget's cousin or something) is unwell, and the vet has told her it is something that she will either recover from on her own, or it is one of two fatal diseases. They could do expensive scans and tests to find a cause, but even if they know what it is, there is very little he can do about it.

Even if she does get well this time around, she's getting older, and some day she will not get better. That's the truth with all dogs, so in honor of these selfless, four-legged friends, let's remember to treat them as best we can to thank them for giving up their short lives for us.

Peanut Butter Banana Pupcakes

Via wearenotmartha.com/peanut-butter-banana-pupcakes/

Batter:

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup mashed banana

2 eggs

½ cup water

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then lightly oil a mini muffin/cupcake tin.

In a medium size bowl, mix your dry ingredients. With a mixer, cream together peanut butter, mashed banana and eggs. Into the peanut butter mixture, alternately add in water and flour mixture until all are combined. Fill tins ¾ full and bake 6-8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool.

For the frosting, use a mixer to combine the cream cheese and peanut butter. Top each cupcake with frosting. For your dog, top with a small dog biscuit. For human family members, do not add dog biscuits.

Simple Dog Biscuits

Modified from cesarsway.com/dog-care/nutrition/recipes-for-quick-and-healthy-dog-treats

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour (use substitutes if your dog is wheat sensitive)

1 egg

1/2 cup salt-free broth

Optional: add bacon bits, peanut butter, cheese or other special flavors as you see fit (avoid chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic and other foods toxic to dogs)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat broth and then combine with other ingredients a bit at a time until you create a firm but not sticky dough. Knead dough until it forms a ball and then roll out to ½-inch thickness. Cut into biscuit sizes and bake 30 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.

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