Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ho Dog!

Eleven years ago, Catera brought forth into our lives what had to be the ugliest, plain red and white pup in history. That he and his siblings would put her into the ASCA Hall of Fame as our first Hall of Fame dam, we couldn't have known at the time. It's been quite a ride for us. He has made me cry tears of frustration, anger and joy, sometimes all at the same time. He's made me laugh my butt off while embarrassing me to the max. Just when I would think things were utterly hopeless, he'd pull off something brilliant to remind me just exactly what he was all about. He is every dog's best pal, and while a stranger might be just that for a few minutes, afterwards that stranger would become his best friend ever. He's a big red goofball who can act like a total blithering idiot with the sheep one minute, and the next, gently urge a lost calf in the right direction to the gate where its momma is. He stood in the trial arena one memorable day and had a raucous arguement - with a duck, much to the watching crowds everlasting delight. Later that day, he schooled a steer that not even the advanced dogs had been able to deal with, and did so with authority. He earned his WTCH on a cattle run that saw him be the only dog all day to pen the calves - and the only time in his limited trial career where his force bark actually worked like it was supposed to. His transition from trial dog to ranch dog was a bit rocky, mostly due to his handler also having to relearn everything (and being much harder to retrain, too), but many times, he was the only dog on the ranch that could do certain jobs. We came to depend on him, and as he's gotten older, it's gotten harder for all of us to let go of that dependancy. His old elbow injury pretty well hobbles him nowadays, especially during cold and wet weather. And being this is Western Oregon, that is pretty much October thru May. His hearing is starting to fade a little these days, or maybe he's just being a lot more selective about what he chooses to hear. I can turn him loose with the sheep, any sheep, and not worry about stitching any of them back together or picking up tufts of wool/hair all over the pasture. In fact, that's what I do every morning - the rest of the pack goes with me on the packwalk, and Ho gets turned out in the pasture to follow us along the fenceline, then he gets his exercise by moving whatever is in the pasture around for awhile until we return.

There is so much more to Ho Dog than I can put in here, but one thing is for sure - there will always be that big, goofy, ugly red dog, barking his head off just because he can, and we love him for being him.

Happy eleventh birthday, Ol' Man!

Can ya believe how long that tongue is???

Gizmo, who turns 14 Sunday, wants a piece of the action, er, cake

Share and Share Alike Cake

For both canines and their servants, a tasty treat anytime

1 cup flour, preferably unbleached/unbromated

1 tsp baking soda

coupla shakes cinnamon

1/3 cup honey or molasses

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1 egg

1 large carrot, finely grated

1 tsp vanilla extract (NOT imitation)

Preheat oven to 350 and generously spray 8 or 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Sift flour with baking soda and cinnamon. Beat egg with honey/molasses, oil, peanut butter and vanilla. Mix into flour mixture. Mix in grated carrot. Mixture will be pretty thick and kinda lumpy, but that's fine. Pour/spread into pan and bake about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for about an hour, then invert pan over rack and finish cooling until cool to touch. Frost with honey cream cheese frosting (below) and serve!

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz package REAL cream cheese (not low fat), softened at room temperature

1/2 cup honey or to taste, gently warmed in microwave for 20 seconds on high

Beat together until well blended and frost top of cake

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