Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Howliday Dog Cookie Exchange

A number of years ago, I saw a recipe for Yummy Dog Bones from the Atlanta Humane Society.  Homemade dog treats – what a brilliant idea!  I love to cook anyway, and so this was a natural for me.  This dough is very easy to work with, lending itself to all kinds of cookie cutter shapes.  In addition to a bone cookie cutter, I also use a fire hydrant cookie cutter.  My favorite, however, is a gingerbread man cookie cutter; I use a nut pick to draw a face and to write US MAIL on each man’s chest, creating mailmen J  One time I made a batch of these dog biscuits, and Robert’s curiosity got the best of him.  He just had to try one.  (No worries there because, like most homemade dog treats, this recipe contains only ingredients that people eat anyway.)  Robert’s review: it tasted about like you’d expect a dog biscuit to taste.  But the hounds give them two paws up!  Since then, I have had fun trying all kinds of other dog treat recipes.  That original recipe for Yummy Dog Bones, however, is hard to beat.

Yummy Dog Bones

1/3 cup butter
2 beef or chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 egg, beaten
3 cups whole wheat flour

Combine butter, bouillon, and water in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted and bouillon dissolves.  Add this to powdered milk and egg in a large bowl.  Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Knead 3-4 minutes.  Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out with bone-shaped cookie cutter.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until hard and light brown.

Yield: 1¼ lb.

Having discovered the joy of making homemade dog treats, I couldn’t resist when the Southeastern Greyhound Club (parent organization of Southeastern Greyhound Adoption) starting hosting an annual Howliday Dog Cookie Exchange.  We get together with our greyhounds and exchange individual bags of treats.  Everyone takes home all kinds of dog goodies, ranging from cookies to muffins to homemade jerky.  Ingredients might include meat or meat broth, peanut butter, pumpkin, cranberries, or bananas.  (Of course, the main dog no-no is chocolate.)

Since we have the Howliday Dog Cookie Exchange during the Christmas season, I often dress myself and the greyhounds festively for the event.  I love finding excuses to don crazy costumes myself, and so I have no compunction about dressing up my greyhounds, either.  For example, one time the greyhounds and I wore matching elf costumes.  (I bought them for just a few dollars each in a clearance sale.  I have totally gotten my money’s worth out of those costumes!)  That year there was a surprise prize for the best holiday attire.  Guess who won?  I was thrilled to receive an entire cookbook of dog treat recipes.

Perhaps even more memorable than the elf costumes was the year that I dressed up Cosmo and Mr. Spock as camels.  My mother made the costumes and did a beautiful job.  They consisted of foam humps draped with satiny fabric.  She even put gold fringe along the edges and made reins out of gold cords.  The only tricky part was actually getting the costumes on the greyhounds – imagine that!  The best way we could come up with to secure the humps was to wrap ace bandages around them and the greyhounds’ bellies.  Then the fabric was draped over the humps.  The whole system looked good on the surface but was rather unstable underneath the glitz.  The costumes dazzled briefly before the humps started falling off.  Still, it was worth it for a few minutes of jollity.

I didn’t ask my mother to go to all that trouble to make the camel costumes just for the cookie exchange.  That was really just a bonus camel-costume-wearing event.  The primary reason for the costumes is that Cosmo and Mr. Spock were supposed to be camels at my church’s live nativity that year.  I was on the live nativity planning committee, and several months earlier as we were discussing which live animals we could incorporate, someone had the rather joking suggestion that my greyhounds could be camels.  Of course, I had to run with this!

The live nativity was held outside in the courtyard next to my church.  The “camels” were to enter the scene late in the program, accompanying the wise men.  So, I waited in the adjacent parking lot with Cosmo and Mr. Spock, bedecked in all their regalia, until their time to go on.  As before when they wore the costumes, I struggled to get the humps to stay in place, but we were managing OK.  It turns out that we faced an even bigger obstacle.  The live nativity also included a donkey and some chickens, which stayed on stage throughout the performance.  These other creatures, and probably the whole unfamiliar situation, kind of freaked out my greyhounds.  When it was time for Cosmo and Mr. Spock to go on, they got stage fright and wouldn’t move.  The wise men had to proceed camel-less-ly.

Naturally, my mother wanted to hear how the live nativity went.  I was kind of reluctant to tell her about it, but we couldn’t help but laugh.  At least the greyhounds had gotten a good wearing of the camel costumes at the Howliday Dog Cookie Exchange.

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