Talking Pets: Santa Paws is coming to town

November 30, 2012 

Ah, the gift-giving season is upon us and it's time to start making those lists of who's been naughty and who's been nice.

And if you're a pet family, you know those lists aren't just for children.

My Ella's been a good girl this year. Her only bad habit is taking her Kong outside and then I have to go looking for it.

She's doing real well with the "sit-stay," too. I can have her sit and then walk all around the house and back, which is quite an accomplishment for a dog that likes to follow me just about everywhere.

She also went on the Coast to Coast Bully Walk, and while the crowd

of dogs had her a little freaked out, she did OK. Same with Canine Christmas. I like to take her places where she can be an ambassador for pit bulls and pit mixes.

So what's on my Christmas list for her? Muffins.

A friend of mine gave me a couple the last time I visited her and her dog, Teddy. Ella loved them, so I immediately called and got the recipe. I've named them:

Muttley Muffins

1- 1/2 cup corn meal

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg

1 egg

2/3 cup honey

1 cup applesauce

1-1/3 cup water

Mix the wet ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients and then gradually add them to the wet ingredients.

Lightly spray a muffin pan with cooking spray, then fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way to the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Refrigerate after a day or so.

I like these better than dog cookies because you don't have to roll them out and cut them. And I'm already thinking of variations on the applesauce. I'd like to try cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, or pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie mix). Another fruit would be good, too, such as blueberries.

And while I'm not crazy about using corn meal, I think these will be OK as an occasional treat.

Ella has a Christmas stocking, too, and it will be hung on the entertainment center because that's the closest thing we have to a fireplace mantel.

In years past, she and Reba would get cute dog cookies shaped like lollipops and maybe a new bandanna from their auntie.

Reba won't be with us this year, so only one stocking will be hung. It's going to hurt, hanging that lone stocking. I miss my little red dog terribly.

Ella wore Reba's "Fleas Navidad" bandanna to Canine Christmas this year, and I missed her then, too. But Ella looked mighty fine in that red, white and black kerchief, and seeing her dancing and prancing in it helped ease the grief a bit.

If you hang stockings for your pets, please be careful with what treats you may put in it. There's a list of recalled pet treats on the Internet you can check before you buy. The biggest offender is chicken jerky, but even big-name treats from companies such as Nutro and Milo's Kitchen are on the list.

In the coming weeks, I will be tweeting some gift ideas for pets. You're invited to follow me on Twitter: @BradentonPets.

M.K. Means, Herald copy editor, can be reached at 941-745-7054.

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