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the truth about neva

Recipe: chocolate cream puffs


Thank you for the incredibly sweet comments and emails regarding the last post. It was not my intention to rally support, merely to point certain individuals to the door. You guys are the best. xo


There’s something I need to tell you about Neva…

yes, that neva

I didn’t love Neva when we brought her home. I mean, of course I loved her – but I didn’t LOVE her, not like I loved my Kaweah girl. I loved Neva out of obligation and because she was my responsibility. This puppy was all kinds of feral. Neva had so many accidents in the house that we ended up taking her out to potty every half hour because she had a bladder with the capacity of an eye dropper. She’d pee in the yard and then come back inside and happily pee on her doggy bed two minutes later – oblivious to the difference. Sure, she was a puppy, and puppies don’t know ANYTHING, but Neva was like a special needs puppy because it took her longer to learn things compared to most pups. That and when we thought she HAD learned something, she would regress and get commands confused.

cute as a button, but a complete terror

Neva was highly excitable and overreacted to everything (people, dogs, bikes, cars, birds, leaves, rocks…), baying loudly like a donkey, growling and barking as she scrabbled and clawed her way against the leash toward whatever it was. When we were outside, all she wanted to do was run off and follow scents. No amount of food (she’s a lab, for crying out loud!) would bring her back. There were times when I debated for a split second whether to let her run off forever or to try and catch her. During her puppyhood, we met LOTS of other puppies who were calm, sweet, loyal, and focused on people. Neva was the opposite – her progress appeared to be inversely proportional to the amount of time we invested in her training.

she had to bite *everything*

Little pup spent plenty of time socializing and playing with other dogs, but she didn’t understand that most adult dogs wanted nothing to do with a sharp-toothed hyper baby dog. Neva was never aggressive, but she was persistent with her attentions. Dogs are pretty clear about their feelings with one another. Unfortunately, our girl did not clue in on the snarling or raised hackles and sometimes (lots of times) got the smackdown from older dogs.

mr. wyatt lays down the law, but neva just wants to love him

Our nickname for Neva was Miss FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). She never had separation anxiety issues (thank goodness), but she didn’t like the thought of something good going on without her. Neva was not especially affectionate with us. On the rare occasion that she got hurt or scared, she would stand behind one of us or try to climb into our laps for comforting. But more often than not, she looked at us as housemates with opposable thumbs rather than her pack.

passed out in the car after a loooong hike

We spent a lot of time not having fun so that Neva could have fun. She loved the outdoors as much as we did, yet spending time with her outside made us miserable. Instead of hiking, we were constantly wrangling the dog. Instead of hanging out on the stand up paddle board, she jumped off and swam to shore where one of us had to run interference to keep her from bolting off to who knows where. Instead of backcountry skiing, Jeremy skinned uphill without poles (to manage Neva’s leash) and wedged downhill rather than getting turns so Neva wouldn’t get cut by a ski. Whenever we planned to do something the question always arose, “Do you want to bring Neva or leave her at home?”, but the real meaning was, “Do you want to bring Neva or would you rather have fun?” More often than not, we brought her along because we just kept hoping that someday she’d become a good dog.

aaaand, she’s off again

Neva was not much of a cuddler, which broke my heart because Kaweah was SUCH a cuddle bug. When we came home, she didn’t get out of her bed to greet us or even show any excitement that we were back. It felt like Neva didn’t enjoy being with us except when she wanted something to eat. If we sat next to her to pet her, she would get up and lie down four feet away. She acted like she wanted to run away from us every chance she got. After the first eight months, I began to accept that maybe I didn’t have to love Neva the way I loved Kaweah. Yet I also wondered if I loved Neva at all. We resigned ourselves to giving Neva a happy life, even if she didn’t seem thrilled to be with us.

trying to shake off and cross a stream at the same time

The change was gradual, to the point of being imperceptible. Some time in the last six months, we noticed that Neva started to cuddle. She also allowed us to rub her belly or spoon with her. When she is happy or anxious, she likes to rub her side against vertical fabric like couches, hanging towels, beds, and lately our legs (when wearing pants). For the past several months, each night she started out in her bed when I turned out the lights, but by morning Neva would be snuggled between us on our bed, softly snoring away. While Neva is far from a Good Dog, she raises our blood pressure a little less each time we take her for a walk, a hike, a ski.

the goofiest goofball that ever goofed around

I never expected Neva to be Kaweah. And I should point out that I am under no illusion that Kaweah was perfect – far from it! Neva was just an order of magnitude more work than Kaweah. This might be because Neva is notably less intelligent than Kaweah. Kaweah was not the sharpest tack in the box, however Neva is a veritable ball bearing. But gosh if that little pea-brain hasn’t grown on me. I think she matured quite a bit in her second year, for which we are all grateful. I have also observed that Neva looks to Jeremy as her person, which makes me very happy, because I love him and I love that she loves him. I feel as if we are finally reaching that stage I was hoping to achieve within the first month of her arrival – a pack. I didn’t start out loving Neva the way I wanted to, but I realize that I do truly love that crazy little girl. And I find myself telling her, “I love you, baby puppy,” more and more every day, from the heart.

my heart: these two

Alright now, Valentine’s Day is coming up and I think most of you know that I don’t really care for it in the traditional sense. For me, Valentine’s Day is a reminder to be kind and loving to everyone everyday. It is also the perfect excuse to make things that people love to eat. I have made these chocolate cream puffs several times in the past year for various gatherings. I thought of them as my Frankenstein puffs because the recipe is cobbled together from parts of other recipes. I finally tired of having to reference multiple recipes, so I am posting this in one place as a favor to my future self (as I’ve said before, I blog for me, but I share with you). Ultimately, it’s all about the cream puffs. I recommend making the pastry cream first.

pastry cream: chocolate, sugar, cornstarch, butter, eggs (yolks), milk

heat the milk

whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar together

temper the egg mixture with hot milk

Pastry cream is simple once you master two things: tempering the egg yolks and having an attention span greater than that of an 8-year old. Tempering in this instance means slowly raising the temperature of the egg yolks so they don’t cook. If you add all of the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture at once, the yolks will cook and you will not get pastry cream. Whisking a little hot milk into the egg yolk mixture merely raises the temperature a little without cooking the yolks. Keep adding more in this manner until the yolks are completely incorporated in the hot milk. Next, cook the custard over moderate heat while constantly whisking. Don’t step away for a second, don’t even think of turning your back on it. Just keep whisking and whisking until the custard turns thick and creamy. Pastry cream is a wonderful thing.

strain the custard mixture back into your pan

whisk until the pastry cream thickens, then whisk in melted chocolate

finish the pastry cream with a pat of butter

chill the pastry cream (you can make it 2-3 days ahead)

The pastry cream will need to chill for a few hours, which is why I suggest making it first. If you want to break the recipe into two days, you can make the pastry cream up to 3 days ahead. I did this and some of my photography friends dropped by unexpectedly and I gave each a spoon to dip into the chocolate pastry cream. Hey, they liked it.

If you have any pastry cream left, you can move ahead to the next part of the recipe – the puffs. The ingredients required for choux pastry (which makes puffs, gougères, and eclairs) are simple: water, butter, flour, and eggs. Mix these up in the right way and you get airy, puffy golden deliciousness.

for the puffs: water, eggs, flour, butter

bring the water and butter to a boil

stir the flour in all at once

vigorously stir the eggs in, one at a time

When stirring each egg into the dough, it will seem like the egg is just spinning around without actually mixing into the dough. Be patient. Keep at it. It will eventually stop slipping about and disappear into the dough, turning it shiny and silky. When the last egg has been stirred into the choux dough, you can either pipe or drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The bigger the blobs, the more space you need to allow between each blob as they expand during baking. Round out the pointed tops of each puff with the tip of a finger dipped in water before they go into the oven.

silky choux dough

piping the puggs

smooth out the tops with a finger dipped in water

bake until golden and hollow sounding when tapped

The puffs cool in no time, which means you can get to work on poking holes in them shortly after they come off the baking sheet. I use a chopstick to pierce a hole in the side of each puff, wiggling it around on the inside to open up any chambers that may form in the cavity. A piping bag is probably the best way to fill the puffs with pastry cream. Whatever implement you use to poke a hole in the puffs, just make sure the hole is large enough to fit your plain pastry tip. I’ve learned when the hole is too small, it just pushes the pastry tip back into the bag which is a bit of a mess to fix. Squeeze enough pastry cream into each puff so that it is full, but not overfull.

poke a hole in the side and hollow out the inside

fill with pastry cream

Once all of the puffs are filled, it’s quick work to whip up the glaze, which in this case is a chocolate ganache. Pour hot cream over chopped dark chocolate and let it sit for a minute before stirring it into a smooth and velvety glaze. Dip the top of each puff into the glaze, then allow the puffs to sit upright while the glaze sets. If the glaze begins to separate after a few dips, just give it a good stir until it is smooth again.

the glaze: chocolate and cream

pour hot cream over chopped chocolate

stir until smooth

dip the puffs in the glaze

These puffs are essentially mini chocolate eclairs, but they are the perfect two-bite treat to bring to parties, serve to guests, or surprise people you love. People don’t feel like they are committing to a little cream puff the way they do to an eclair, and round is a universally wonderful shape. These puffs will store covered in the refrigerator for up to a day and they are especially good accompanied by a ripe raspberry. So cream puffs for everyone and lots of love, too.

jeremy thinks the chocolate cream puffs are best served with coffee

a happy little bite

the cross-section of loveliness

Chocolate Cream Puffs
[print recipe]
based on pistachio cream puffs and chocolate eclairs

chocolate pastry cream
from Pierre Hermé via Dessert First
2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
6 tbsps (75 g) sugar
3 tbsps cornstarch, sifted
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature

pastry puffs
1 cup water
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

chocolate glaze
4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
3 oz. heavy cream

Make the pastry cream: Boil the milk in a small saucepan. Whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Temper the yolks by whisking a ladle of the hot milk into the yolk mixture (this prevents the egg from cooking by incrementally increasing the temperature). Whisk in a little more of the hot milk. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk. Strain the liquid back into the saucepan (to remove any cooked egg bits). Set the saucepan over medium heat and whisk vigorously until the pastry cream comes to a boil. Continue to whisk over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the melted chocolate and remove from heat. Place the pastry cream in a bowl and set the bowl over an ice bath. Keep stirring the pastry cream to keep it smooth. When the temperature reaches 140°F, stir in the butter. Stir to cool the pastry cream completely, or do what I did and cover it with plastic (make sure the plastic touches the entire surface to prevent skin from forming) and pop it in the refrigerator. Can be made 2-3 days ahead of time.

Make the puffs: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring 1 cup of water and the butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Turn off the heat and stir all of the flour in at once until completely incorporated. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and stir the dough to help it dry out for a minute or two. Remove the pan from the stove. Stir the eggs in one at a time, mixing well until the egg is incorporated into the dough before adding the next one. Drop tablespoon dollops or pipe tablespoon mounds of dough onto the baking sheet about 1-2 inches apart (more distance for larger puffs). Dip your finger in water and smooth the tops if there are any points of dough poking up. Bake for 30 minutes until golden in color and hollow sounding when tapped on the tops. Turn off the oven and crack the door ajar (or use the handle of a wooden spoon to keep the door cracked). Let the puffs remain in the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

Make the glaze: Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a pan until just bubbling at the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for a minute. Stir the cream and chocolate together until it forms a glossy, glaze. If it hardens too much for dipping, you can pop it into the microwave for 5 or so seconds, then stir until smooth and continue to use.

Assembly: Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch tip with some of the pastry cream. Using a chopstick or other tool, poke a hole in the side of each cream puff, making the hole large enough to fit your piping tip. Wiggle the chopstick around inside the puff to hollow it out. Fill each cream puff with about 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate pastry cream, by inserting the pastry tip in the hole and squeezing pastry cream until full (but not overfull). Dip the tops of the cream puffs into the dark chocolate glaze and place them upright to let the glaze set. Makes about 36.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

pistachio cream puffs puffy hearts and rings chanterelle puffs chicken salad puffs

22 nibbles at “the truth about neva”

  1. Linda says:

    Neva is such a cutie, but I can see her being a handful. I’m glad she has become a snuggler. There’s just something about cuddling with a puppy.

    Now Rowdy, my grandpuppy who will be 10 on Tuesday, is just the reverse. She was more snuggly when she was a puppy. Last week, my daughter was sick in bed, and all Rowdy would do is lay on the floor and look at her as if saying, “will I still get fed if you die?” She got snuggles from her bff’s pup Lacey, that they babysit while her mommy is at work.

    Those cream puffettes look so good, and when I saw that chocolate pastry cream, cursed you a little bit, because I wanted a big spoonful of it…..right now!

    xo Linda

  2. Patty says:

    I give you all the credit in the world for putting up with and standing by Neva. Your story is a very familiar one. When my husband and I were young graduate students at UW we had a Golden named Jake. He was perfect in every way, you’d swear he was part human. Being young and naive we decided to get another. That dog was a nightmare, chewed everything in sight including the baseboards. We decided it best for everyone to find a good home for her with the understanding she was a problem. After that experience we decided life is too short to be miserable with your pet. We have purchased 2 Goldens since Jake in 35 years, all from reputable kennels where we could meet the ancestors and siblings. They have all been wonderful family companions. I always feel guilty for not getting our dogs from a homeless shelter but if it didn’t work out I think the dog would be better off without us, we just don’t have that kind of luck, although I think today you can return them if they don’t work out.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful photography, food and life in the Rockies. It brings back many memories of living there so long ago. Life and careers have taken our lives to Vermont which is very nice but not quite as stunning as the west.

  3. Dani H says:

    I have grandpuppies that I take care of when my daughter and her family are out of town and I adore them, but I have always had cats. I’m glad to hear that everyone seems happy now.

    My mother made cream puffs every New Year’s Day. I later discovered that her recipe was identical to an early edition of “The Joy of Cooking.” Both said to keep the pan on the heat stirring constantly until the dough came away from the sides of the pot. I only tried to make them once and it felt like I had been stirring for at least half an hour by the time the pastry dough was ready.

    I asked my mother how she was able to make them since she had severe rheumatoid arthritis in both hands and wrists. She laughed and then admitted that she used an electric mixer. Despite that they always came out perfectly.

    Belated Happy New Year!

  4. Bette says:

    Reading this post, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel if I got to the end to find you’d given Neva away. I’m glad she’s settling and maturing, and that you’re keeping her. Your story actually reminded me of living with teenagers, so hopefully it’s just a matter of a gradual mind/body alignment!

  5. Wendy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your Neva story. It’s absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day! We, too, are adjusting to life with a new pup after our beloved pup of nearly 15 years passed last August. Other than being the same breed, new pup is quite different than old pup and I also had doubts that I would ever love her as much. Thankfully, just like Neva, she has worked her way into our hearts and souls and taken up residence as if she had always been there. Now, we can’t imagine life without her. Wishing you and your four-legged Valentine many many wonderful years and adventures together.

  6. Kristin says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggles with Neva, and I am so glad that she is becoming a more enjoyable companion. I look forward to an opportunity to try these cream puffs. I miss eclairs, but they are 1. too big and 2. never as good as I think they should be. I suspect that these will be delicious!

  7. cherie says:

    You were good parents to stick with your girl. I am glad there’s payoff being reached – or at least some balance. I can totally understand every single thing you said!
    Puffs look FANTABULOUS! Can’t wait to try them . . .

  8. Melissa says:

    I don’t have an attention span greater than an 8-year-old. :P

    No but the Neva thing. Somehow this entire post didn’t surprise me at all. It’s cute and funny to tell crazy pup stories on social media, but after Kaweah, I was well aware that the reality of it must have been far more stressful.

    And I know – I REALLY KNOW – that cats are dogs are not the same, but let me tell you: I did not love Oswald (yes! Oswald!) for a very long time because he was the most unbelievably difficult animal I have ever lived with. In his case, it was because he was TOO smart. He got into everything and tested our limits every damn day, and training him out of those behaviors was so ridiculously hard. He learned. Mostly. To this day, we still have our entire kitchen child-proofed because otherwise he will open all the cabinets and open the pantry door. We have latches on a couple of other doors in the house for the same reason. He drove me so crazy the first year we had him that I used to tell Steve I regretted ever having him join our home and there were moments I wanted to fling him right out the door. And during his growth spurts, he was so super alpha male hormonal that he would stop being affectionate for weeks, which made him even more intolerable.

    Anyway. :) I know it’s not the same as being outdoors with a crazy pup, but the feelings were the same. I thought I would never feel about him how I do now. But it changed. And I am really, really happy to hear that it is changing for Neva, and for you guys. I imagine over time it will only continue to get even better.

  9. pete says:

    Jen – Yes, another nutty Black Lab! Been there done that!…I’ve had four of the lovable clowns, including our Ruby (you may remember her.) They all have different personalities, and you never know what to expect as they grow… except that you will always come to love them dearly and they will love you back.

  10. Joan says:

    Such a great blog post. I love your writing style and I appreciate your brutal honesty. It is important to remind people that sometimes it does take time for animals to meld into the family and reach a stage we are happy with. Sometimes they never really do (neither of my cats let me cuddle or sleep in and I have just come to terms with it…) and though instagram can make the world look perfect I know that it isn’t always!

    I also can totally relate to, “I blog for me, but I share with you”. I totally use my own blog to make my recipes again. Such a great way to keep track of everything for myself in a much better organized fashion than my notebook with all the chicken scratch and recipe combinations.

  11. Mary says:

    Labs are crazy creatures.. I swear it takes until they’re at least two years old before they really start to mellow. So glad Neva is finding her stride with you guys :)

  12. sassygirl says:

    i remember asking my mom if our first pup, a rescue,
    would ever learn to love me. she just smiled and replied,
    oh yes he will…just give him time.
    terrific post and puffs!

  13. Pei Lin says:

    i never bothered googling what FOMO means. Now I know. Thanks! I haven’t made choux since the Daring Bakers days. Adding this to the to-make list!

  14. Veronica says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipes, your stories, your photos and your life.

  15. Sam says:

    Thank you for blogging with honesty. It bothers me when I express similar frustrations with my youngest furkid and people get offended that I’ve said he’s a pain in the behind. Well, better that than the person whose dog is an angel in their eyes but is actually the biggest doggy bully! Some people, furry and otherwise are just harder to love than others and venting helps you go back into the fray and give them what they need. It took 2 years for our male dog to settle into something more manageable too – our Labradors took forever – one took 4 years! After that though she became the most beautiful friend and companion and at her passing the whole neighbourhood went into mourning. I look at the things she chewed during that awful stage with nostalgia! May the Force Be With You.

  16. Jill Hyde says:

    Awwwww, love is grand. She’s one lucky pup. xo, jill

  17. Sobaka says:

    Oh my, sounds like Neva was on the “most difficult” end of the puppy spectrum. Seems like she was a bit on the “autistic” side as well, if that can be applied to dogs. Good for you for sticking it out. I’ve had some rough starts with shelter dogs, times when, yes, when they ran off into the woods I had the temptation, just for a second, to not chase them down. But we have a responsibility to our dogs, it’s not their fault if they’ve been damaged by previous owners, bad genes, etc. I’m glad your hard work is finally starting to pay off. I love reading about your adventures, and I’ll enjoy it even more now that I know the backstory. :) And I love your photos, the colors and textures always are extraordinary. Thank you for sharing some of your life with the world.

  18. monica (from austria) says:

    hello jen, thank you so much for another warm and wonderful post, filled with puppy truth, puppy love and (yeah!!!) puppy pics. i do so enjoy your writing; you are a gifted story teller. ok, enough gushing.
    as for this week’s recipe: another thank you is in order. just 2 weeks ago i made pastry cream filled mini eclairs and was decidedly underwhelmed. and it was a mary berry recipe, to boot! comparing the two recipes i can see why mine produced flat eclairs and runny pastry cream. clearly, your recipe/recipe adaption will happen next sunday.
    may i close with a rather cheeky wish/comment/request, please? any time you feel like you would enjoy making little “how to* movie clips” for some of your recipes, pleeeease don’t hold back! i know, cheeky. ?
    all the best to you, your human, and the furry one!

    *your step-by-step pics + descriptions are already like mini-tutorials. and my request is in no way a critique, rather a “gosh, how cool would that be?!!”-kinda thing.

  19. Kittie says:

    I had the exact same experience when we brought our second dog home. My husband picked her out as a surprise, which I always romanticized and desired — talk about a learning curve. It took our new pup Leia months to get along with our first dog Aiden; she had been rescued from the streets and was used to dominating absolutely everything. Sometimes they fought so hard, no amount of water spraying or collar tugging could separate them. I wanted to love her, but day after day of hyperactivity and snarling fights were too much. I thought she might have to be re-homed. But, slowly, so slowly! but surely, Leia and Aiden bonded, giving me breathing room, allowing me to love her more than duty required. And when Leia chose my husband her her go-to human, I was also so happy :) Now we all know our place in the hierarchy, Leia and Aiden are inseparable, and the midnight pee parties have ceased. So much empathy for you and your pack! <3

  20. jenyu says:

    Linda – I wonder if dogs become more reserved as they age? Kaweah used to follow us from room to room, but as she got older, she would leave us and want to be alone someplace quiet starting around age 13. I hope Rowdy still gets many more years of snuggles AND treats :)

    Patty – I would very much like to get a Jake someday! It seems thus far we have brought two crazy high-energy not-so-smart labrador retriever females into this household. Neva is so much more work than Kaweah, but we are starting to see some of the results of that time investment – she might even be better than Kaweah some day :)

    Dani H – Yes, stirring the dough around in the hot pot helps to dry out the excess liquid. I only do it until the dough begins to leave a slight residue on the sides of the pan, but your mom was a genius to use the mixer!

    Bette – We are pretty committed to making our lives with Neva work. The only reason we would give her up was if she repeatedly attacked, bit, or was otherwise aggressive toward people and there was no way to change that behavior. In that case, I wouldn’t give her away so much as have her put down – because I think that’s my responsibility as a dog owner and a member of my community. Happily, Neva is about the sweetest nugget around. She’s just really dim witted and highly energized :)

    Wendy – SO happy to hear that your pup has grown into her place in the pack. I think for those of us who said goodbye to an old pup and then took in a crazy little puppy shortly afterward – it’s a big shock to the system! :)

    Kristin – I promise these are just as good as eclairs, but you can eat TWO and not feel guilty ;)

    cherie – Thanks. Very glad that Neva is growing into the dog she’s meant to be!

    Melissa – OMG, Oswald. I think Oswald and Neva must be living parallel kitteh/doggy lives. They’re so cute and photogenic and silly and goofy, but then they’re such TROUBLE! I will not claim to be above having said, “I hate you,” to Neva on several occasions (some of those involving poop). This is why I love to LOOK at puppies and maybe visit with puppies, but I knew from the start that I wanted a DOG. We just had to get through all the training. It makes me so happy to hear that it’s working out with Oswald. And sure, who doesn’t have a rough time with adolescence? Love you, girl. <3 <3 <3

    pete - Labs are just the best (except when they're not... even then, they still are) :)

    Joan - So true about pets. I'm glad Neva is finally getting there, because coming with us into the backcountry is a big part of our (and her) lives, but she has to be Good so she doesn't get herself killed or maimed. We're still working with her - she's definitely got a way to go. And yeah, I think I use my blog for recipes more than anyone else ;)

    Mary - Thanks! It took Kaweah 10 years to mellow out, so I don't have high expectations for Neva as far as energy goes. But she is improving and learning, and that's all I really want. xo

    sassygirl - <3

    Pei Lin - Ha ha! FOMO means Neva ;)

    Veronica - Thank you!

    Sam - Agree with you 100%. People who are offended probably don't have real dogs ;) Also, folks who think their dogs are perfect when they aren't? Their dogs have the unfortunate luck of belonging to an asshole. We see it ALL THE TIME. But a dog is such a special and wonderful companion - like no other <3

    Jill Hyde - Thank you :) xo

    Sobaka - Funny you should say that because Jeremy would muse about an "autistic" spectrum for dogs and that Neva must be on it (somewhere). Neva has been a lot of work, but she is most definitely worth it. I think maturation has helped tremendously and we will be enrolling her in an intensive training program shortly. So far she did well in orientation and the trainer says Neva has a lot of promise! Phew!!

    monica - Ha! Thanks for the feedback. I haven't been tempted to toy with video too much because of storage issues and editing. But a friend of mine (who is a vlogger) tells me it's not that hard, so perhaps I will hit him up for a tutorial? :)

    Kittie - Awwww! I love this! Truly happy for your pack that it all worked out. It makes me especially delighted to know that the pups are BFFs now. Maybe we all just need to stick it through for a few years. I wish others wouldn't be so quick to give up on dogs - but sadly, I think those folks are the reason there are so many pups in shelters :( xoxo

  21. says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Wonderful to read about how you guys got acquainted and fell in love slowly but surely ;-) It took about 6 months before our adopted Schnoodle deigned to share the same couch as us. She hasn’t been willing to leave our side since.

  22. jenyu says: – Glad you guys figured it out, too! She’s becoming sweeter and snugglier each day, I cannot complain :)

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