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We had a smooth week at the shop with Felix. The piston filler works better than she’s worked in over a year. We’re still not back to maximum production because Cammie took a couple of days off to celebrate her wedding anniversary (so happy for her). Still, there was a profound feeling of safety on kitchen days while we did what we loved, making pouches with love. 

Alternatively, my sweet Mabel girl told me she’s now hit a fear period and has been more easily startled by sounds and skittish around new people. I hope I’ve communicated back to her that I have no expectation she’ll say hello to strangers on walks.

That was Gavin’s thing. The terrible joke I’d deliver whenever a new person remarked on how friendly my wiggle-worm-scrunchie-face boy was, “he’s the extrovert. I’m the introvert.”

Fortunately, I’ve discovered that I have the perfect setup at my front door to help Mabel feel safer around new people as they pass on their way to dinner, the coffee shop, or the farmers market. Mabel loves sitting alone and watching the world go by when it’s quiet. And I stand beside her and drop treats on the kitchen floor when it’s busy. I get it. We all need a variety of treats to help our dog(s)’ learn and live their best lives.

I felt great about our game, even better at Mabel’s sweet, soft eyes during our training sessions, until I looked at how much money I was spending on tiny treats I could toss. So, I decided to make my own. And I was so proud of my concoction of liver, beets, coconut, turmeric, and egg, and even more gratified that I made 900+ treats for $6. Making treats at home for our dogs is appealing. It’s not only an act of love but also cost-effective. However, before ensuring your food processor is still working, please consider these food safety tips.

As I was cleaning and sterilizing the kitchen where I also make coffee, sprinkle cayenne pepper on my food, and sneak a bite or two of blue cheese (even a speck of these can cause gastrointestinal distress), I was reminded that not everyone takes into consideration when cutting or preparing their treats how important it is to start with a pristinely, freshly cleaned and dried space.

I thought how easy it would be to deduce that the crunchy treats I made could sit on my counter. My homemade treats look and feel like the freeze-dried treats that cost me a fortune. However, with the process and ingredients I used at home, those treats were stored in the freezer in an air-tight container. And, when I use the yummy-homemade-treats-Mabel-loves, I track when I take them out of the freezer and never re-freeze them.

As I pair treats with people and sounds and give Mabel the space she needs, I hope she continues feeling safe. And I hope that as Mabel continues communicating with me, she learns I’ll do everything possible to protect and help her. She was the bestest goodest girl at her (hopefully) final vet visit Wednesday to check that her ear infection from a month ago was healed entirely (huge thanks to Dr. Giatis for being a gentle and kind soul willing to give Mabel time and the high-value treats we make at the shop.)

May your day and weekend be safe, and may those you love know and trust that you’ll help and protect them. And, if you’re thinking about making your dog(s)’ treats, please research food safety first. We offer economical food safety cards to help.

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