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for a lifetime

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Recipe: homemade dog paw wax

Today is my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I’d say that is a pretty impressive accomplishment for any time in history, but especially now. Jeremy and I will be heading out to celebrate with them in the spring since the week before Christmas is a pretty terrible time to travel or do anything for that matter. I scanned a few photos from the early years of their courtship and marriage, because it’s fascinating and touching to look back on those days. Another place, another time. My parents were younger than I am now in all of these photographs. I’m glad they made it to 50 years and I hope they log more years to come. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you.


i think this was college – ah, young love

early 70s (i’m the little fat one being held)

a day at the beach (probably winter)



When Jeremy and I agreed to bring Kaweah into our family, all I could think was, “We’re getting a puppy!” She was my first dog and I had no idea what to expect. There were some things we did right and some things we did wrong. We learned as we went and I discovered that loving that dog – my sweet Kaweah – for all of her 15-plus years was one of the best things to have happened to me in my life. Once we decided to make Neva a part of our household, I didn’t dwell too much on her puppyhood (aside from the sleep-deprivation and training), but focused my sights on her doghood. After all, she’s only a puppy for a blink of an eye, but she’ll be a (good?) dog for her lifetime. The puppy stage was the time to introduce her to life as a Colorado mountain dog. We have mapped it all out for her: hiking, trail running, skiing, SUPing, swimming, backpacking, maybe even mountain biking. Kaweah is our reference point and Neva seems to be following right in her footsteps and then some.

But Kaweah learned the Colorado mountain dog life as a strong and athletic adult. Neva is still developing into her adult stage. So when we took her ski touring in a foot of powder a few months back, I was surprised that she experienced some trouble with her paws in the snow. I’m still unclear if it was from ice balling under her paws or if the snow was just too cold for her footies. Whatever it was, this was new for us because Kaweah never had these problems out west. Of course dogs like Banjo with longer hair between their footpads are practically guaranteed to get ice balls forming underfoot on powder days which can be painful. Erin (Banjo’s person) uses a combination of dog booties and Musher’s Secret (dog paw wax) to protect Banjo’s paws. I got Neva a couple sets of dog booties, but stopped short of buying Musher’s Secret because it’s spendy. That’s when I looked into making it myself and you know what? It’s not only cheaper to make it yourself, but it is ridiculously easy. First, you need to find a place that supplies what you’ll need.


rebecca’s herbal apothecary in boulder is awesome



There are plenty of great online stores where you can source the ingredients, but I wanted to keep my business local if possible. Thankfully, Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary makes that possible. They have a physical shop in Boulder and an online store for orders to ship. The store carries a wide selection of butters, salts, oils, teas, waxes, herbs, and so much more. I went in finding everything I needed as well as getting some great advice on shea butters and making sure the ingredients were safe for ingestion in case Neva decided to lick it off her paws.

all you need: olive oil, shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil

cutting up the beeswax



**Jump for more butter**

the abcds

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Recipe: apple bacon cheddar dog (abcd) treats

While working on our annual digital year in photos, I scrolled through a lot of snaps I took of Neva when she was a wee pup. I had completely forgotten about them because I was in such a state of sleep-deprivation for a period of three or four months starting on May 23, 2015. Jeremy was in the other room, but he could tell I was looking at puppy pictures because I kept squealing and cooing at the computer. Neva was so cute, but she was so feral compared to a normal dog – because she wasn’t a normal dog. She was a puppy.


these cute little faces will suck up all of your time



Oh, but now Neva is becoming a really good girl as she settles into a routine of the familiar. She’s now used to watching dogs, cars, and people passing through our neighborhood. She doesn’t flip out when she sees birds anymore (there are so.many.birds). Her favorite places to nap depend on where the sun is hitting the house. Neva knows to ask when she wants to go outside instead of sneaking into the office to piddle next to Jeremy’s desk. I remember how it took forever and a day to walk anywhere because she had to put every damn pine cone, rock, stick, blade of grass, and flower in her mouth. We loved her little adorable puppiness, but we both knew from the start that we couldn’t wait for her to grow into a dog.

Neva always knows when I’m making HER treats in the kitchen. She’ll hang around patiently at my feet until I pop them in the oven, at which point she stares longingly at the oven. I’m not sure how much variety Neva needs in her treat selection, but I know for a fact that these treats are her number one all-time favoritest treats on the planet. I threw them together last month with a bunch of leftover ingredients and she’s been pretty devoted to them ever since. They smell fantastic while they bake because duh – the treats are made with cheddar cheese and bacon! I used applesauce as a healthy binder, along with an egg, and threw in some parsley for her breath. So I wanted to share this with anyone looking to make some extra wonderful goodies for their canine companions.


applesauce, bacon, cheddar cheese, egg, parsley, whole wheat flour

prepping the ingredients for mixing

chop the bacon and parsley fine, especially if you are making small treats



**Jump for more butter**

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.