The forest, in early evening, and a treat for your dog


My Smart Car-sized pooch, Crowley, spent the weekend with me. We walked miles around my apartment. It was great, mainly because I’ve been missing my boy, but I also missed the long walks we’d take in the woods near my old house

When Crowley screwed his courage to the sticking place and crossed a creek the very first time, he became a true-blue creek-crossing convert. He used to be nervous to walk through a ditch after a rain.

We would walk for hour after hour crossing and re-crossing the creek at various points and never cover the same ground twice. In the years I’ve been going back there I’ve probably walked close to 300 miles, and even the last time I was there I still stumbled upon places that I’d never been.

One cold, gloomy January, Crowley and I were having one of those extended constitutionals. The afternoon was slowly transitioning to evening, and we were just about to cross the creek once more, in the direction of home.

As I started down the bank, I walked past a bush, and one of its twigs brushed my face. I reached up to push some hair back that had fallen into my eye. It was then I noticed my glasses weren’t on my face.

I began to panic but thought that surely if my had glasses fallen off, I would have noticed. Without my specs I’m blind as a bat wearing shades in a French restaurant. I must have come out without them. I’m not blind and an amnesiac as well.


Then I remembered scrolling through the music on my MP3 player in the front yard. So, I glanced down at the screen. If I could read it then I told myself I had left my glasses at home. If I couldn’t, then I was in deep trouble …

I was in deep trouble.

It would be dark within 20 minutes or so; I needed to find them quick. As dim as chances of finding them were, I could only retrace my steps and hope for the best. I urged my canine companion to, “Find Mommy’s glasses, boy!”

We were in an area where I didn’t go very often when Crowley saw, heard, or imagined something, and took off at the same time my hold on the 25-foot expandable leash was less than secure. It flew from my grasp, and the plastic handle bumped along behind my galloping pup. It, and he were quickly out of sight.

So, there I was, in the middle of the rapidly darkening forest, bereft of both dog and reliable sight. It was shaping up to be a banner day. I did not want to return home and reveal the depressing situation to my spouse. I briefly, but seriously considered making my home out there among the trees, or possibly taking up work as a troll, and living under a nearby bridge.

But just then I heard the jingle of the tag on Crowley’s collar. I rounded a shrub and saw him ahead, sitting and calmly watching me. The leash had gotten caught up, and his forward progress had been halted.

The handle had gotten caught on a sapling, but just. One gentle tug from the dog and it and he would have been free.

I reached down to grab it before he took off again, and unbelievably, not three feet away, sitting there as if I had set them down myself, were my glasses.

I was shocked and incredulous. By all rights I should never have found them in what is approximately 60 square acres of heavy woods, but there they were.

This just proves, once again, that the combination of dogs and woods are magic, and only good things can happen.

I couldn’t thank the woods, but the next day I made Crowley a big batch of my famous (only because I give out bags of them to dog owners during the holidays) dog cookies.

But just in case my usual, less than awesome luck shows up and the magic departs, I’m keeping that troll under the bridge thing in my back pocket.

Thanks for your time.

Contact Debbie at

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Canine Treats

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

1 cup oats

pinch of salt

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1/3 cup peanut butter (approx)

1/3 cup canned pumpkin (approx)

Put dry ingredients into bowl of mixer. Add wet on top. Mix until it forms dough ball and comes away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too wet to roll out, add more flour until the dough is right, if it’s too tight add a little more oil.

Knead on kitchen counter a few times until it is a nice neat ball. Cut in half.

Roll out first, lay on parchment lined cookie sheet and score into 1-inch squares (I use a pizza wheel). Repeat with other half on second cookie sheet.

Cook 10 minutes at 400 F. Spin pans 180 degrees and switch racks. Bake 10 more minutes. Turn off oven and allow the biscuits to cool in oven until crisp and hard. Store in airtight container.


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