Frozen Pumpkin Yogurt Pops

The dogs love these and best of all no wheat gluten.

I mix plain nonfat yogurt and canned pumpkin together.  Then I spray a cupcake pan with non stick spray and spoon in the mixture.  I put the pan in the freezer until frozen.  They pop out of the cupcake pan easily.  I just put into a container and store in the freezer. 

The dogs love them.

AJ (final excerpt)

We decided that AJ would have to be kenneled when neither of us was home.  We didn’t like it, but outside of stripping the house bare of all objects, we didn’t know what else to do.  We read that AJ was probably suffering from separation anxiety and that he probably did all of the damage in the first 10 minutes that we were gone, small consolation, but we were at a loss at how to stop the destruction.  So we brought in the large kennel from the garage.  We put in a blanket to make AJ comfortable and gave him toys and rawhide chews to chew on.  Guess what, he didn’t touch the rawhide chews or the toys; no he chewed the blanket to shreds.  We found out that the whole time we were gone, he barked almost nonstop.  The neighbors told us.

We thought we had the immediate problem solved, but once again we were wrong.  You’d think we start getting used to always being wrong.  I came home from work one afternoon and there was AJ sitting at the door waiting for me.  I slowly walked into the front room thinking maybe this was a clone or something; surely AJ was still in the kennel, because I put him in there myself and was sure that I had secured the door.  The kennel door was standing open wide and after close inspection I could see that spring loaded pin was bent.  Somehow he got the door opened, maybe he put all of his weight on the door, I don’t know, maybe it was just a fluke.  Surprisingly he hadn’t done any damage, probably didn’t have enough time.  Same thing the next time we left and put him in the kennel, I come home and there AJ is waiting for me at the door.  So far no damage, maybe he was cured.  After a couple of weeks of no devastation, I dragged the kennel back to the garage.

AJ is just too smart for his own good.  He knew the kennel was gone and there were new trials for us.  He switched tactics on us.  He started going through the kitchen trash.  He would drag the bag out of the can and bring it to the front room and leave us all kinds of things to clean up.  Wet coffee grinds in the carpet, along with wrappers and such.  Mitch actually put an eyebolt in the wall and used bungee cords to secure the trashcan to the wall. Me, I would have just changed trashcans and put a smaller one under the sink, but knowing AJ, he probably would just open the cabinet door.  When dumpster diving didn’t work, AJ decided the countertops held great appeal.  I had set a frozen loaf of bread in the sink drainer to thaw; he found it and ate the whole loaf, wrapper and all.  He knocked the dog biscuit decanter off the counter and onto the floor pushing it around the kitchen until he ate all of the dog biscuits.  This dog was really trying my patience.

We came up with a solution that so far has worked.  When we have to leave the dogs home alone, we close and secure the bi-fold doors separating the two sides of the house, the front room and our bedroom from the dining room and kitchen.  We would also turn on the radio in the bedroom and give both dogs a rawhide chew.  So far this has worked, I think the only reason it has worked so far, is that AJ hasn’t figured out how to remove the rubber bands that keep the doors closed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about AJ.  He just turned 10 years old and I don’t know who’s more devoted to whom, him to me or me to him.  I love him more each day.  Of course, he still has all of his faults, but when I look into those soft adoring eyes, I feel such peace and calm wash over me.  And I know without a doubt that I would walk through fire for him as he would for me.

AJ (2nd excerpt)

This is the second excerpt of my short stories.  I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

AJ didn’t bark or make any sounds at all.  We would have been worried about that, but Buddy didn’t bark for days either when we first got him.  Maybe it’s their way of getting used to the new surroundings, just sitting back and observing.  When AJ finally did bark it was this little hoarse sound that made him sound like he had laryngitis.  He has these beautiful eyes that usually have a contemplative expression like he’s assessing the situation.  His eye color is the golden brown of a chocolate lab instead of the dark brown that most black labs have and his eyelids come down over his eyes slightly to give him a hooded look.

Because he had this great ability to jump from zero to very high without any effort, he didn’t understand that the bed was off limits to him.  When I left in the morning to go to work, he would jump up on the bed and snuggle up to Mitch, who sleeps very soundly.  One morning, Mitch woke up and felt a presence in the bed touching him, he looked at the clock and saw it was 6:30 and thought I was still asleep.

He nudged “me” and said, “Susan get up, you’ve overslept.  It’s 6:30 you need to get up.”

A black head raised up and looked at him all bleary eyed and then went back to sleep. Mitch decided that if that was the worst AJ did, then he could live with AJ sleeping on the bed.  So much for “dogs don’t belong on the furniture”.

We also discovered something else about AJ.  He liked to chew. It didn’t matter what it was, if it was within his reach, he would chew on it.  I had a pair of old leather Keds that I kept at the end of the bed and wore around the house.  I came home from work and there were my shoes, one was now an open toed sandal and the other had no heel.  Apparently AJ didn’t like me going to work and leaving him home.  I threw them in the trash and Mitch fished them out.

“Why are you keeping the shoes?” I asked.

“Well maybe if those are still there on the floor he won’t bother anything else.”

I was skeptical, but I thought, what the heck?  I’ll try anything.  This was my first exposure to a dog that chewed up my shoes.  Well we were wrong, AGAIN.  AJ didn’t stop at the shoes.

I took Mitch to work one day and left the dogs at home.  I was only gone for 30 minutes, just 30 minutes.  How much damage could he do in that period of time?  As I opened the door, there was AJ waiting in the entry hall just like always, happy to see me.  I held my breath and hoped for the best.  As I walked into the living room total chaos overpowered me.  The floor was covered in shredded pages from a travel-guide – obviously not a destination AJ wanted to go.  In the middle of the room was one lone mangled hiking boot.  The padded top that cushions the ankle was gone – chewed to bits.  AJ was right next to me wagging his tail showing me how pleased he was of his handiwork, or should I say molar work.  It even looked like he was smiling.  I picked up the boot and looked at it closer.  The tongue was gone, probably in his stomach.  There were pieces of orange foam on the floor.  Closer examination determined them to be an insole.  How he got that out of the boot was beyond me.  It dawned on me that I only saw one boot.  So the search was on for the other boot.

I started looking from room to room searching for the other boot, picking up pieces of the boot top of the first boot.  I don’t know, I guess I thought that maybe I could glue them together and put it back on the boot and maybe nobody would notice.  I found the other boot in the bathroom almost unscathed.  The tongue had been chewed, but otherwise it was still wearable.

I walked out of the bathroom with the boot, looking for AJ thinking that death was too quick and easy for him.  There he was sitting there waiting patiently by the bed in the bedroom not realizing how close he was to death and mayhem.  Time for plan B.

Come back for more.