neva's first thanksgiving old fashioned doughnuts nederland: crosscut pizzeria and taphouse chicken sweet potato dog treats

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neva’s first thanksgiving

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I am so grateful for so much and that includes all of you wonderful readers who share your stories (both funny and sad), lend words of support, give great cooking (and dog care) tips and suggestions, and make this such a pleasant and kind community. Thank you.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we have no grand plans for a big Thanksgiving meal – but that doesn’t mean Neva doesn’t get special treatment! Seeing as it is her first Thanksgiving ever, I thought it was appropriate for her to celebrate with a special plate. But we don’t feed Neva people food, so I didn’t know what she would eat. Based on our experience with Kaweah, the assumption that Neva – a lab, after all – would eat anything seemed like a sound one. We held a practice run on Wednesday.

raw beef rosette on lettuce, crumbled bacon with carrot, apple slices with peanut butter and cheddar heart

she has no idea what is happening

It took a lot of coaxing to get Neva to sit still in front of the plate. She has never eaten off the coffee table before. Poor pup was simultaneously drawn to the smell of the food and scared to go near it. Every time we got her to sit, she would lie down or back away. But eventually, she waited patiently like a good girl. Once we gave her the release word, she hesitated then went for the peanut butter and cheddar. Unlike Kaweah, who would start with the beef and sweep right with a big inhale of everything on the plate, Neva picked her way around the plate taking her sweet time. I did eventually hold the apple slices for her to eat as they stuck to the plate, but she would have nothing to do with the lettuce.

she’s clearly a dessert first type of girl

oh, raw beef? this is what being a doggy is all about!

she ate everything but the lettuce

After downing her Thanksgiving plate, Neva followed us around for a half hour as if to hint that she could go for another plate if we needed to move more food. When no second helping arrived, she settled onto the couch with her chin on her front paws, shooting us the most hopeful puppy face you’ve ever seen. So we took her skiing to burn off those calories and she was equally thrilled. The end.

if the world could be as joyful as a happy dog

From everyone at Butter Headquarters (basically me, Jeremy, and the pup) to all of you, our heartfelt thanks and best wishes for a peaceful holiday filled with love and compassion.

fido snacks

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Recipe: chicken sweet potato dog treats

Before we brought Neva home, I made a batch of pumpkin peanut butter dog treats and cut them into little squares for her to eat and train on. I guess I was still in Kaweah-mode because the first time I handed a treat to Neva, she mouthed it for ten minutes then eventually spat it out because she couldn’t bite into it. In fact, she was so little and silly, she’d munch on a puppy kibble for a good ten seconds which translated into long dinner times. I was sad because Kaweah loved those treats so much and Neva didn’t seem to care for them at all. Little did I know that she was just too baby to eat them. Eventually, after her big girl teeth came in, she went after them with gusto. It’s been nice to feed her homemade treats because it’s more economical and doesn’t contain additives or artificial junk.

waiting patiently for her release word

I thought Neva could use some variety in her snacks and began to research diffent flavors and recipes. Because she is a labrador retriever, I don’t have to worry about her being picky. She’ll eat anything. I do want to make the recipes simple and keep the ingredients wholesome – organic when possible. The first variation I tried was chicken and sweet potato. These came out a little denser than I wanted, so my second batch had shredded cheddar cheese added to the dough. The cheese has a nice effect of creating rough layers sort of the way butter does in pastry dough. So even though the cheese isn’t in any of the photos, I do recommend adding it to the dough for a better texture that is less likely to break your dog’s teeth. And of course, she loves the flavor. Here is a video I posted on Instagram of her latest trick using one of these treats.

all you need: baked sweet potato, an egg, whole wheat flour, cooked chicken (not pictured: shredded cheddar cheese)

peel the sweet potatoes

mash them up

**Jump for more butter**

meet neva

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Hey, everyone! I’d like you to meet our new pup, Neva (NEE-vah). We brought all twelve pounds of her home on Saturday and have been sleep-deprived ever since.

finally home

This will be a short post because I began to develop a cold/flu thing of sorts on our long drive to get the pup. Also, puppy training is a lot of work for both humans and puppies! We named Neva after Mount Neva, a mountain in our local Indian Peaks Wilderness (Kaweah was named for Mount Kaweah in the Sierra Nevada of California). Neva also means snow. In the short 48 hours we’ve had her home, she has learned a lot of things! She is now sitting when she wants something (her way of saying “please”), going into her crate on her own, learning to be quiet in her crate, lying down, walking on the leash (she’s getting better about not biting the leash), going up and down stairs, and being ridiculously cute. I have to give major kudos to Jeremy who took over the majority of the training and cared for me when I got sick. He has been incredibly patient, gentle, and kind with Neva.

settling into her crate

leash work with jeremy in the yard

puppies need a lot of chew toys

her crate is her happy place

we love it when she sleeps

Over the weekend, Neva jump-started her social life when my aunt and uncle (visiting Colorado from out of town) came up for dinner and puppy time. The next day, Neva met my friends Erin, Erica (Erin’s sister), and Banjo. She takes to people right away, but she wasn’t so sure about Banjo for the first few minutes – I mean, he’s a big fluffy white dog! The great thing about Banjo is that he is super sweet with Neva (and in general). He would corner like a race car when she clumsily chased him (the back half always seems to have a different agenda from the front half), or nimbly jump over her so he wouldn’t step on her. But when she wanted him to chase her, he slowed way down and was careful not to scare or hurt the puppy. After Neva and Banjo got acquainted, we all went for a short (a really short) local hike to introduce the pup to the life of a Colorado mountain dog.

not so sure about this big white dog

warming up to banjo

super fun puppy playtime!

puppy’s first hike

when puppies are tired, they just flop down wherever they are – like between erin’s boots

It’s a big transition period for Neva and for us, but she is quite attached to both Jeremy and me. As I said above, it is hard work. Even with all of our experience with Kaweah and preparation for this pup, it can be challenging. However, Neva has made such progress already with positive reinforcement training and we are so in love with her – it is worth it. I look forward to watching her discover all of the joys of being a dog in this beautiful world we call home. Welcome to your life, puppy girl.