Note: this post is pretty much about my dog. If you’re not a dog lover, be forewarned. There is a recipe at the end of the post, but it’s for a dog birthday cake. Again, you’ve been warned!
It was just over a year ago that a little 20 pound ball of fluff came into our lives, and we’ve been the proud owners of a beautiful cockapoo ever since. I remember feeling super nervous at becoming a first-time pet owner – what if she’s not housebroken? what if she turns out mean? what if our house ends up reeking of dog? what if she’s high energy and needs ten walks a day? but it’s all turned out so well and been such a fun year, and can’t imagine our lives without Snickers now.
I mean, how can one look at that face not turn the worst of days into a happy fuzzy one? The best thing is when I’m sitting on the couch working on my laptop, and she comes up and nestles right next to me. Happiness is a warm puppy, indeed.
Snickers is pretty cute, if I can be an annoying dog owner for just one second, and people are often surprised to find out that she’s a rescue – wondering how such an adorable dog could have ended up in a shelter. Well, I tell them that she wasn’t always this cute: as you can see when we first got her she definitely needed some TLC. Look at those poor skinny shaved down legs, and the stained fur! Not to mention she was nervous and skittish as well. Unfortunately we don’t know her history and how she ended up this way, but she really opened up to us in the first few months. She was very sweet and gentle, had clearly been somebody’s pet for a while since she understood commands, and just wanted some love and affection.
And when her fur finally grew out and we got her groomed, she finally fulfilled that potential we saw in her:
Freshly groomed – she almost looks like a different dog! It’s pretty funny how different cuts make her look. A lot of people love her longer-haired”Benji” look; I like it too but I don’t like when her hair starts covering her big cocker spaniel eyes and we can’t see them. I love when she comes back from the groomer’s because her fur has been blown out straight (we call it the full body blowout) and it’s extra soft and silky. Passers-by seem to love petting her fur: fortunately she’s very even-tempered and doesn’t mind!
We named her Snickerdoodle because of her cream and tan coloring, like a snickerdoodle! but we generally call her Snickers. She also goes by Snicks, Snicker Doo, Snicky Doodle, Snickers D. Dog, Snickerita, Sweet Face, and Sweet Girl. And sometimes Crazy Nut, when she’s acting weird (tearing around the house, rolling around on the sofa, licking her fur, etc).
Because she’s a rescue, we don’t know her exact age. The rescue group said the vet estimated her to be between three and four. So a year later, we decided we would celebrate her fourth-and-a-half birthday – can’t believe the time passed so fast!
She loves meeting new dogs and new people, although she doesn’t really play much. She prefers to watch the other dogs chase each other and wrestle in the dust while she stays clean and ladylike. We have a dog walker come by a couple times a week when Mike and I are both out at work, and she’s told us that two of Snickers’ best friends in the pack are named Ramen and Sushi - I guess there are a lot of hungry pet owners around our neighborhood! Together, the three of them are almost a complete meal!
Beside not being interested in romping around with other dogs, Snickers also isn’t a big fan of getting messy. She doesn’t mind walking in the dirt or mud when we go hiking, but she hates getting wet and will walk around puddles rather than through them – it’s hilarious. I told people that I didn’t plan on getting a girly dog, but I guess that’s sort of what we got!
Although she’s usually pretty mellow, Snickers has a fully-realized prey drive: any small skittering animal will set her off like a shot. She has attempted to climb trees to get at squirrels and stalks birds at the park. We also discovered a park near my parents’ house is home to a colony of ground squirrels (my husband refused to believe that there are squirrels that live underground until we looked it up on the internet) and apparently their chirps drive her crazy – she was running from squirrel hole to squirrel hole in her own insane version of whack-a-mole.
Like pretty much every other dog in existence, Snicker is very food-motivated. Snickers being my first dog ever, I’m discovering many things that are probably old news to seasoned dog owners. Like the fact that my dog is smart enough to wait until I’ve left the room before jumping up on the table and going for food I left out. So sneaky!
In fact, about two months after we first got her, I walked into the living room to find that she had jumped from the sofa to the coffee table to the regular-height table I use for staging my photos, picked up four (expensive) chocolate bars I had left there, and eaten them all. I literally found her surrounded by wrappers. My first thought was, “I just poisoned my new dog.” My second thought was, “She just ate about $50 worth of fancy chocolate. My dog has really good taste.” A frantic visit to the vet and some induced vomiting later, Snickers was all fine and totally undeterred – and I learned to secure all the food in the house safely out of reach.
Although we try to avoid feeding her human food (too often), we have discovered that she loves anything meaty, salty, cheesy, or sugary (not surprising), does not like leafy greens (guess that makes sense for dogs), and goes nuts for apple slices (she hasn’t figured out how to bite into a whole apple). She also has a fascination with paper bags (we wonder if it comes from her past days possibly scavenging for food on the streets) and will go after every bag she sees in the street, in hopes that it’s a McDonald’s or Burger King bag filled with leftovers.
So to celebrate her first year with us, and her fourth-and-a-half birthday, I went searching for dog birthday cake recipes. The most appealing one I found, which Brown Eyed Baker also made, was this carrot-peanut butter-honey cupcake (muffin, really). It’s super easy to put together – in fact, I forgot to add the egg and it seemed to bake up just fine (not to be mean, but I’m pretty sure dogs aren’t going to complain).
While we knew better than to leave her alone with some peanut butter-smelling cupcakes, she is very good at following commands. While I was setting up for the shot with a dummy cupcake, she watched it very intently but didn’t go for it until we “released” her. Look at that restraint!
Here she is, the birthday girl, with her birthday cake and her birthday hat! Did you know how hard it was to find party hats? Are they out of style or something? Or maybe it’s just because there aren’t any party superstores near us and I assumed that any reasonably-sized drugstore would have party supplies. Wrong! Anyway, I did finally find a pink princess party hat for our little princess!
“Oh thank God, we’re finally done with photos and I can eat cake!” This recipe gets an enthusiastic two paws up from Snickers, although it’s pretty hard to go wrong with the ingredients. I’m fairly certain I could have just dumped all the ingredients in a bowl and she would have gobbled it up as well. But she did follow me all around the house the rest of the evening in hopes of more crumbs, so I’m going to say that she really liked her birthday cake!
The recipe makes six cupcakes, and one cupcake seems like more than plenty for a lil’ twenty pound dog – we gave her about a third of it. The recipe doesn’t include a frosting recipe, but you can put a little peanut butter on top if you like. I combined the peanut butter with some butter and powdered sugar to make it thicker and more pipeable, but I don’t think I’d let her eat that – I scraped it off before I fed her. Sorry Snickers, that’s the wonderful world of food styling!
It’s pretty awesome how much love a little dog can bring into one’s life. Happy birthday Snickers, looking forward to celebrating many more with you!
Carrot Peanut Butter Doggie Birthday Cake
- This recipe is adapted from one I found on allrecipes. You can bake it in a single 8" cake pan or in a muffin tin.
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a six cup cupcake tin with cupcake papers. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, and honey in a large bowl.
- Add in the carrots and stir to combine.
- Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and add to the carrot mixture. Stir until fully incorporated.
- Divide among prepared cupcake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs on it.
- Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Frost tops with a little peanut butter before serving to your furry friend.