Tail Waggin’ Treats

As Dustin pointed out earlier this week, Gulley Park will host the local Humane Society’s 17th Annual Dogwood Walk this Saturday, May 2nd, rain or shine. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m., and for a mere $25 donation to the Humane Society, you get a Dogwood Walk T-shirt and a great goody bag valued at over $100. The bag will be stuffed with all kinds of swag for your canine friend, like toys, snacks, bandanas, grooming products and leashes, to name but a few.

The Fayetteville Animal Shelter will be offering microchipping for your pooch for just $20, and free nail clipping and ear cleaning will be provided by the hound-friendly folks at Petco. And of course, a professional photographer will be there to take a photo of beloved Fido for only $10, with all proceeds going to the Humane Society.

But the perks of your $25 donation don’t benefit just your dog. Jammin’ Java will be offering free coffee during the early hours before the parade, and Papa John’s pizza will be providing free pizza and drinks afterwards.

In the spirit of this weekend’s Dogwood Walk, I tried my hand at homemade dog treats. Although my dogs absolutely love those rubbery “bacon” strips and crunchy basted dog biscuits, I thought I would show them my unwavering love by making them some treats of my own. The ingredients are essentially cookie ingredients, minus the heaps of sugar, salt and leavening agents. I added a bit molasses for a hint of sweetness, and I used War Eagle Mill‘s organic cornmeal and oats for texture. But the star of the treat is what my dogs really love: peanut butter. (Natural peanut butter, of course – no sugars or hydrogenated oils for the pooches.)

The dough resembles a tough cookie dough, but a few kneads and pats on a well-floured board make it very manageable. Using a cookie cutter adds playfulness and whimsy to the treats, but if you don’t have any, simply cut the treats into whatever shape you – or your dogs – like. In just under an hour you can treat your dog to something homemade and very special. Trust me – Olive was trying to jump onto the counter for seconds. And thirds.

No time to make your own treats this weekend? Not to worry. A few of us from the Flyer will be at the Dogwood Walk on Saturday, handing out these treats to those who pose for a Flyer Faces picture with their pooch. Hope to see you there!

Tail Waggin’ Treats

(makes about 50 two-inch treats)

1 1/4 c. water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 Tbs. natural peanut butter
2 tsp. molasses
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. rolled or quick oats
(Additional flour for the board)

Preheat oven to 400°. In a medium bowl with a wire whisk or in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the water, oil, eggs, peanut butter, and molasses until combined. Add flours, cornmeal, and oats to the peanut butter mixture and combine. The dough will be sticky.

Turn the dough out on a well-floured surface. With a roller or your hands, roll or pat the dough out to about a 1/2″ thickness and cut into shapes, using cookie cutters or a sharp knife.

Place treats on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn the oven off and leave the treats in oven for an additional 20 minutes to crisp. Take the treats out of the oven and let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

If the slideshow doesn’t load, visit the entire photo set at our Flickr page.