Aside from the two teenage boys my husband and I share, we also have two other animals living in our house. Fur babies. BIG fur babies.
Boo is our Great Dane. Like most Great Danes, she is a big, sappy, cuddlepuss, who has no understanding of her size in comparison to human laps. She crawls up and plops right down as if she was a terrier, snuggling against my chest with her head on my shoulder. Good thing she is a tea-cup great dane, weighing in at only 115 pounds. She is as skilled and stealthy a counter-surfer as there ever was. Red velvet cupcakes are among her favorites.
We also have a very large, very slobbery Bloodhound who, like any proper Bloodhound, is named Roscoe. Other acceptable names for Bloodhounds include Buford, Cletus, Bocephus, or Cooter. You get the picture. Roscoe should probably be named Cybil, due to the number of personalities living inside of him. To me, he is a sweet, snuggly, goofball. To my husband, he is an ornery, stubborn, bullheaded stinker. I would like to think that he is simply reflecting our own personalities right back at us, but I am not as sweet, and my husband not as stubborn as Roscoe can be. Roscoe does have a lovely singing voice, although I am not sure our neighbors agree. Although Roscoe will take any treat you hand him, he will only eat meat. Other treats he is kind enough to bury for you. In your bed sheets. It took me a while to quit blaming Max for the pizza crusts and stale dinner rolls I kept finding.
Until September, we also had Scruffy Van Bullet. Bullet was a Husky that I rescued from a road side BBQ joint in rural south Texas. He had been shot in the flank, most likely having been mistaken for a coyote while raiding someone’s henhouse or garbage pit. He was the best dog we ever had. He talked up a storm, greeted us when we came home, chatted us up every night, and was a calm and gentle soul. He couldn’t get along with strange dogs to save his life, but I never trusted a dog more with children–babies in particular. He just loved them. The vet said that dogs know when you’ve done them a good turn, and are grateful for it. Bullet died peacefully in September, somewhere between the age of 16 and 20. I still miss him (wipes away a tear).
Since not everyone shares our love for our pets, there are times when we can’t take them with us. So, we built them a dog house. And by dog house, I mean Man Cave. It about 5 feet wide and 7 feet long. It has windows, a roof and paint that match our house. And a small door built into the side of a large door, where the whole side can open for easy cleaning. And to replace the twin sized mattress that lies inside. It is heated for those rare times when we have cold weather.
At first I thought my husband built such a great retreat for our dogs because he cares as much as I do about their personal comfort and well-being. Now I believe something else.
I believe he built such a great dog house because men, starting at an early age, have a natural proclivity for The Dog House, since they grow up spending so much time in it. I wish I could say I was being strictly figurative just then, but it would be a lie. My husband has actually slept in the dog house. Yes, beer was involved. Thank you for asking.
But then, there was the event which shall be known forever and always as The Doghouse Sleepover.
Oh, the evening started out usually enough. Max, my then 13 year old, and his friends Nathan and Brennan were out marauding the neighborhood. It was summertime, so they were out of school. Since Greg and I still had to go to work, though, the nightly escapades still had to draw to an early close. I had told Max to be home by 9pm, not one minute later. Period. He was already on thin ice for an earlier episode the same week wherein he clearly believed that his curfew was not so much a rule as a guideline.
When 9:05 rolled around, with no child in site, I called his cell phone. He picked up and said they were almost home. Twenty minutes later, still no boy. I called him again. No answer. I grabbed my keys, hopped in the car, and headed towards the last place he said he was. Sure enough, the three of them were a block away, walking more slowly than any molasses has ever flowed downhill in January. I stopped alongside him, flung open the door, and told him to get in. “What about them?” he gestured towards his friends. Knowing that they both had cell phones, and fairly certain at least one of them had parents in his family tree, I told him they needed to call their folks. And nobody would be spending the night.
Now, before you think I am evil for cancelling a sleepover due to some tardiness, let me state this. No sleepover had been planned, discussed, or implied. However, this was their standard modus operandi. To simply BE at my house at the right time, and seamlessly blend into the nightscape of our home. But this night, I wasn’t having it. Nope. A rule was broken, and consequences were to be had.
The boys went walking off down the street. Did I mention it was 32* outside?
Aside from a few texts I heard Max get after that, and a few whispered phone calls, nothing else was out of whack. Max went to bed and that was that. Sort of.
At 7:00 am the next morning, WAYYYY before Max should be alive during the summer, I heard him get up. Greg came up from the couch on which he had fallen asleep, and said that Max had just walked out in the back yard talking on the cell phone. My mommy senses kicked into overdrive and I said “there are children sleeping in the dog house!”
“What makes you say that?!” Greg asked….I told him instincts…Trust me. There are kids in our dog house. I lumbered off to take a shower, and left Greg to deal with it. When I got out of the shower, I did look out the window at the backyard, and saw the big orange extension cord running to the Canine Condo, and I knew I had been right.
Greg came in a few minutes later. Said that nobody, including Max was out there now, but that the heater was on, and there were two pillows and a big down comforter in the dog house. There were also a few drinking glasses, as apparently we offer room service at Chateau des Chiens.
Greg found Max down the street, alone, walking back towards the house.
At first, they all denied that anyone had spent the night in the dog house. Then they tried to go with the watered down versions of the truth. Like that they only stayed in there until 11pm, when one of their parents picked them up. Eventually, when they realized that we actually weren’t as dumb as we looked, they caved….Talk about being in the doghouse!
It is these kinds of shenanigans that cause men to spend a great portion of their lives in the doghouse, proverbial or otherwise, and why I believe my husband made our doghouse in to a man cave.
For my dogs, and the boys that like to squat in their doghouse, here are a few treats they can enjoy whilst hanging out in there….
Sweet and Spicy Puppy Chow (For People)
So named because of its close resemblance to the dog food of the same name, but so yummy! Traditionally, the recipe calls for peanut butter, but I made it a little more grown up with cashew butter and a bit of heat.
- 1 (12 ounce) bag chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup smooth cashew butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, but recommended)
- 1 (12 ounce) box Crispix cereal or 1 (12 ounce) box similar cereal
- 1 lb confectioners’ sugar
Mix chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan, and melt over medium heat. Stir in salt and cayenne. Place cereal in a large plastic bowl with a lid, stirring gently to coat well. Add powdered sugar, and place the lid on the bowl. Shake vigorously for a few minutes, until well coated and broken apart into individual pieces.
Peanut Butter and Bacon Dog Treat Biscuits
- 2 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup quick oats
- 2 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
- 1 pound bacon, cooked, crumbled
- 1/2 c. peanut butter
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease
- 2 egg white
- 2 tsp baking powder
Mix all ingredients into a stiff dough. Roll in one inch balls, and roll in extra rice flour. Press flat with a fork. For softer treats, bake at 350* for 15 minutes. For crunchy treats, bake at 170* for 4 hours.