RIP Daddy

Daddy
Cesar Millan’s pit bull Daddy passed away Friday at the age of 16.  Even if you aren’t a fan of Millan’s philosophy of dog training, you cannot deny Daddy’s impact on the hearts and minds of people around the country.  He helped dispel the myth that these dogs are uncontrollable, untrustworthy, and unsafe.  He was a big, crop-eared, rough looking pit bull who calmly entered millions of homes (whether physically or by way of Cesar’s popular TV show) and showed people what dogs are capable of.  Thank you, Daddy, for making the world a better place for my boys to live in.

You can read more about Daddy at Cesar’s website.

And so, even though Dexter ate a chocolate cup cake this weekend and Ernie spent the night in the bathtub whining at whatever feral animal is making itself at home underneath my house, I’ll hug them both extra tight tonight.

ernie and dexter

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Delicious Fridays

Fridays are delicious, aren’t they?  Last night Kristin made a kick-ass dinner that makes abstaining from meat on Fridays a walk in the park (although we ate it Thursday night, but work with me here).  Take THAT, Lent!

almond crusted tilapia

Ingredients:

1/4 c. whole natural almonds
2 tbsp. dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp. salt-free garlic and herb seasoning blend (such as Mrs. Dash)
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets

1.  Place first 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process 45 seconds or until finely ground.  Transfer crumb mixture to a shallow dish.

2.  Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Brush mustard over both sides of fillets; dredge in crumb mixture.  Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when test with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

Serve with: roasted asparagus with horseradish butter*.

Voila! I can’t attest as to whether the prep-time is accurate because I spent it eating spinach dip and drinking Skinny Bitches:

Skinny Bitches

2 liters Sprite Zero
1 liter club soda
Crystal Light powder – whatever flavor you like (I like Raspberry Ice)
vodka

Pour the Sprite in a pitcher; add vodka (probably about a cup).  Stir in the Crystal Light powder (I usually use 2 of the individual packets per pitcher).  Pour mixture into a glass, leaving room to fill the last 1/3 with club soda.  Enjoy (tastes especially delicious if you are drinking this while someone else is cooking dinner and you are lounging on the couch watching Olympic Men’s Figure Skating).

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*Pre-head oven to 450°; toss asparagus in olive oil and salt.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Mash together 2 tbsp. butter, 1/2 tbsp. horseradish, and salt and pepper.  Toss roasted asparagus in horseradish butter.

Yesterday’s Dexter

ernie and dexter halloween

This is Ernie (with me on the left) and Dexter (right, with Danielle) at Petsmart for Ernie’s first Halloween.  I guess I can’t be mad at Ernie for not looking at the camera, as I appear similarly distracted by whatever is happening off-camera.

I’m not really sure why Danielle and I are dressed as Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I don’t think that was our agreed upon costume.

Both Ernie and Dex are wearing human costumes in this picture – Dexter’s is a bee costume he and Danielle shared for years, and Ernie is wearing a toddler’s dragon costume (I cut off the back legs).  Yet another benefit of having pit bulls – when you get the urge to dress them up, you need look no farther than your own closet.

Thanks again for supporting Dexter.  If you haven’t yet had a chance to vote for him, you’ve still got time!  The last day for voting this period is tomorrow (2/18/2010).

No, excuse you

dexter smiling

Are you tired of this mug yet?  Well, just be grateful you can’t smell his breath.

And you can still vote for him here.  Thanks to everyone for all of your support so far!

Rolling right along with our Dexter-themed week – a discussion on shame.  In Temple Grandin’s  Animals in Translation, she discusses the phenomenon of dogs seemingly “acting guilty” or “knowing” they’ve done something wrong.  She explains that unless caught in the act, punishing a dog for a misdeed is worthless – they do not have the ability to connect the past action to the present correction.  The example she used was a dog that gets into the trash when left alone.  When the owner returns home to a trash-strewn kitchen and yells at the dog, the dog doesn’t learn to leave the garbage alone; the dog learns that when her owner comes home and there is trash on the ground, bad things happen.  Grandin explains that the dog would react the same whether or not she had actually gotten into the trash – if a new puppy were responsible for the mess, for example, the older dog would still offer the same display of guilt.

Ernie is a perfect example of this.  I have yelled at him so often for chewing up my panties and jeans that if I so much as hold up a pair of pants to him, whether or not he’s chewed them, he avoids eye contact with me and slinks away (usually to the corner by the backdoor).  This would be hilarious if it weren’t so heart breaking.  He’s such a sensitive dog – the one time my roommate bopped him on the nose in a pique of anger he cried and wimpered as if she’d broken his little toes one by one.

Dexter, on the other hand, has no shame.  One day Steve and I came home to find that he (Dexter, not Steve) had completely destroyed one of the couch cushions.  He had chewed through the leather and the batting to get down to the springs in the couch.  We found him lounging atop the wreckage of chewed leather and upholstry stuffing; he lazily looked at us with an open-mouthed smile and thumped his tail.

“DEXTER!  What the F*%& were you THINKING?!?”

*thump thump*

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

*thump thump thump*

And while we’re discussing Dexter’s complete lack of shame, I have to tell you about its most recent manifestation.  I was over at a friend’s house with the dogs, playing Super Mario Brothers Wii, and Dexter shuffled through the living room.

*faaaaartfartfartfaaartfartfaaaaarrrrttt*

He totally crop dusted us, walked past his own blanket, and slumped on another dog’s bed.

Must be nice.

In which I mention dutch ovens

Thanks for all the Dexter love this weekend, guys.  He must have felt the good vibes because he had nary an accident this weekend.  A special thanks to Two Pitties in the City for putting the word out on their blog (which you should check out if you haven’t already – Ms. M and Mr. B are gorgeous and so is their apartment!).

If you haven’t voted yet, you have until Thursday! I’ve heard some people had to wait a while before receiving their email verification from Bissell; you may need to check your spam folder (I had to) to find it.

This weekend coastal NC got a little taste of SNOWPOCALYPSE – 3.8 whole inches, guys!  Too bad it fell on a Saturday – no snow days for me.  The boys and I celebrated by walking down to this bar.  Dex made a bee-line for the treat jar behind the bar and Ernie had a fun time playing chase me and bitey-face with a beagle mix named Bentley.  There was also a little chihuahua celebrating his birthday at the bar, complete with doggie birthday cake.  We had to leave before the cake was served, though, because we had important things to do – like make this Irish Stew in my new dutch oven.

No, not that dutch oven.

I [insert bad behavior here] because I love you

Have you seen Disney-Pixar’s Up?  If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and watch it.  Do yourself another favor and keep a box of tissues nearby because this movie doesn’t just tug on the heartstrings, it goes all Indiana Jones on your ass and rips your still-beating heart out of your chest and shows it to you.  It’ll make you want to hug your grandpa.  Heck, it’ll make you want to hug everyone’s grandpa.

AnyoldmeneatingfrenchfriesatMcDonaldsalonemakemesad, the dogs in the movie have collars that vocalize their thoughts, and one of the dogs, the dumb but lovable* Dug, immediately bonds with Carl, the old man.  The affection is not mutual.  At one point Dug hides under Carl’s porch as the house floats away, and when Carl finds Dug on the porch, Dug offers this pitiful explanation:

I hid under your porch because I love you.

This phrase has been on my mind a lot because Dexter has been on a rampage.  He is getting over his second bladder infection in 6 months and in addition to the occasional (and understandable) lapses in bladder control, he’s taken to chewing holes in things around the house that are not dog toys.  I’m really trying to be as patient as possible with him, and so every time I come home to find a puddle of pee by the front door, I imagine him offering this semi-apology.

I peed on the floor because I love you.

When I find a small rip in my new comforter:

I chewed on your comforter because I love you.

It helps with the rage.

And so, in an effort to turn my frown upside-down, I’ve entered Dexter in the Bissell MVP Pet Photo Contest.  If he wins, he’ll get his mug on a Bissell box and $10,000 will be given to a charity of my choice (BADRAP, “a small and busy non-profit organization of pit-bull owners, trainers, educators, rescuers and supporters” in the San Francisco area.  They take in dogs from dog busts all over the country, including the Vick dogs, and are fighting the good fight for pit bulls everywhere though education and training of people and dogs.), PLUS a Bissell vacuum or deep cleaner and a $500 shopping spree.

MVP Pet Photo Contest sponsored by BISSELL, maker of pet vacuum cleaners.

But friends – we need your help!  Please vote for Dexter!  You only have to vote once.  Judging by past weekly winners, he’ll need about 1000 votes to win.  If you’d help spread the word, I’d appreciate it.  The official Twitter hashtag is #dexterwantstobefamous.  Let’s start a trend.

And yes, I’m shameless.

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*Of course the loyal, lovable dog is a lab mix, while the bad, mean dogs are Dobermans, bull dogs, and molosser-type dogs.