Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Obsession

I have been infatuated with peanut butter from the moment I was allowed to eat toast, as a toddler. The peanut-y flavour, the smooth yet sticky, and the 'goes with pretty much everything' attitude makes it my number one delicacy. Truth be told, it has to be the processed stuff - Kraft, Jiffy, Skippy - cause the natural stuff isn't my style. (Although I do like natural versions of other nut & seed butters, like almond, sunflower & get your mind out of the gutter.)

Since I stock up on peanut butter like a crazy cat lady does cats, I have been eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches this past week. To keep things a little exciting, I sometimes add new ingredients to my sandwich. Here are some of the combos I did this week:
- PB & Triple Berry Jelly
- PB & Honey
- PB & Honey with Chocolate Chips
- PB & Chocolate Chips
- PB & Bacon

Other combos I have tried previously include:
- PB & plain potato chips
- PB & mayonnaise (sounds gross but is surprisingly good!)
- PB & summer sausage, cheddar cheese, and cool ranch doritos
- PB & summer sausage and mozzarella
- PB & butter
- PB & honey and jam

I hope I haven't made you throw up. Husband thought I was crazy and disgusting UNTIL he tried PB & sausage and cheddar cheese. Now he is a PB Believer.

How about you? Would you try any of my sandwiches? What is your most bizarre or unique sandwich creation? (a million pts if it has peanut butter)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Dog No One Understands

She is socially inept around people. She doesn't understand that strangers mean no harm and that people look at her because she's gorgeous, not because they are challenging her. She growls in fear, raising her ridgeback hackles, tucking her tail between her legs. She looks for the closest escape; there is none while she is on leash. She will lunge in protection if warranted, barking within a foot of a stranger, as she has learned it will scare people away. It's not right, and I am striving to change her reactions. But she doesn't know any better. My attempts to socialize my dog are somewhat fruitless. She is slowly becoming more comfortable around friends and family. When ignored and left to make contact on her own merit, she reacts calmly and curiously (just like any dog should). However walking through town is a completely different story. Her fear of other people makes her so anxious that people react to her as if she is Cujo. I can understand why. A loud barking dog can be scary. (My dog is 60 lbs, and medium sized, so understandably a lot 'scarier' than a yipping 12 lb terrier, but a terrier displaying the same reaction would come across as cute or annoying - depending on your perspective of terriers. Just sayin') When people comment, I explain she is a puppy who is learning to socialize, and is VERY fearful of people (hence the strong reaction). She is not an agressive dog. She is fearful. BIG DIFFERENCE!!! Most people understand. Some people stop to swap dog stories, others steer clear of us. No judgement at all. It's the "that dog needs to be trained" and "that dog shouldn't be out in public" comments that irk the crap out of me. Yesterday, one lady had the audacity to say both of the above comments, and when I explained to her that the reason my dog was acting this way is because she is a puppy and I am in the process of socializing her. Bringing her around people is the only way she is going to learn how to behave properly in public. She continued on (quite rudely) to say how she trained dogs all her life and had never had issues like my dog has. I just kept repeating myself that she is still a puppy and still learning. After she walked away, my dog settled down, and I came up with a whole bunch of things I *wish* I had said instead. Dontcha hate when that happens? At least I am prepared for the next rude Caesar-Milan-wannabe know-it-all! I hate being trapped in this stupid catch-22: my dog needs to be out in public to be socialized, yet I can't* take her out in public because she is barky, growly, & lungey when strangers are nearby. *by can't I mean safely and without fear of judgment or embarrassment or someone calling the dog catcher on us (and yes that has happened once already) The key is control. A controlled environment. A controlled leader. And lots and lots of practice. I take super duper care to keep her away from children (one socializing step at a time!) and keep a safe distance from people, so the fight or flight instinct doesn't kick in. She is awesome around other dogs. She prefers to be left alone while at the dog park, but will not hesitate to meet others, or chase/play with more stable dogs. She has dog friends that she adores, and has a doggy boyfriend who protects her when other dogs start to play to rough with her. (Even when she is the instigator). She is incredibly smart, and knows all of the basic commands. At home she is treated like a pack member and not like a child, though there are times we let it slip and dress her up for special occasions. I know her fear isn't going to magically dissipate. I know it's going to take a LOT of work to get her to relax and be calm in every environment and situation. And as we keep expanding her world in a safe and somewhat controlled way, she will be a much more happy and healthy dog.