Yesterday we celebrated Kaylee (11) and Jayne’s (5) birthdays, as well as the three-year anniversary of their adoption. Whereas Ralphie and Peedee were owner surrenders with known DOBs, all of the girls are ex-strays, so we’ve really no idea how old they are. Instead of pulling birthdays out of thin air, we celebrate Kaylee, Jayne and O-Ren’s birthdays on the days of their adoption. This means the girls are cheated out of a second “special day” every year – which is why I try to make their celebrations extra-special!
I really, really wanted to make Kaylee and Jayne a birthday cake – ganache, anyone? – but alas, I haven’t been able to find vegan carob chips or carob powder locally, so no luck there. My backup plan worked out beautifully though: I made a batch of mini-muffins using Molly’s Apple Cinnamon Muffin recipe, and topped them off with a “frosting” of blended silken tofu and peanut butter.
Here are the muffins, sans frosting:
The ridiculously cute embroidered placemats in the background, by the way, were a gift from my aunt (last x-mas, perhaps? I forget.). She made one for each of our six nonhuman animal kids; the front of each features a species-appropriate pattern, and the animal’s name is on the back. Naturally, the dogs’ mats are shaped like bones, whereas Ozzy gets the sole fish. I think she thinks I didn’t like the gift because I don’t actually use them as placemats for the animals’ food – but I love them so much that there’s no freaking way I’d risk staining them! (So if you’re reading, Aunt Cindy, there ya go!)
Anyway, back to those muffins. Mostly I followed Molly’s lead, with the following modifications:
– I substituted vanilla soy milk for the water; and
– I didn’t have any flax or hemp seeds, so I used a flax/nut/seed combo from Matilda’s Kitchen Flax & Company.
My initial impulse was to frost the muffins with peanut butter, but I decided to blend the pb with a brick of silken tofu in order to water down the fat content a bit. The recipe is pretty simple:
Silken (Tofu) Peanut Butter Frosting
16 ounces (1 brick) silken tofu
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
water as needed
In a blender or food processor, blend the tofu with a splash of water until smooth. Add in the peanut butter and canola oil and blend until mixed. Add water as needed.
I recommend using a food processor over a blender, since it’ll probably give you a thicker, easier-to-handle frosting. Unfortunately, my food processor was not cooperating yesterday, so I had to go with the blender. The frosting was a little runny, but not unusable; I left the frosted muffins out, uncovered, for a few hours and the frosting firmed up a bit. For decoration, I sprinkled a bit of the flax/nuts/seeds on top. Any ground nuts or seeds will do – or even dried fruit, like cherries or cranberries!
You can also halve the recipe (or make double the muffins!). I ended up with a lot of extra frosting, which I watered down into a gravy to garnish the dogs’ afternoon and evening kibble meals.
I hope to write a more detailed post about vegan dogs, dog food and dog treats for VeganMoFo, but for now, I’ll just refer you to It’s A Vegan Dog’s Life and Yummy for Dogs, both of which feature a ton of yummy vegan recipes.
Now normally I wax nostalgic on the dogs’ birthdays and stuff, but seeing as I’ve written extensively here about Kaylee and Jayne – especially as of late – instead I think I’ll share three shiny things about each girl (who are, yes indeedy, named after certain peoples in the Whedonverse!).
1. Kaylee loves the sun.
More than that; she’s a total sun whore. More than any of the other dogs, she loves to sunbathe. She’ll spend hours just chillaxing in the sun, until she can take the heat no longer; then she’ll plop down onto the concrete floor and/or in the shade, and once she’s cooled off, will head back out for more.
This will be the third autumn we spend in our “new” place, and there’s definitely a pattern emerging. In the spring and summer, the sun shines on the patio for most of the day, but is strongest in late morning and early afternoon. It’s during this time you can find Kaylee relaxing on the picnic table, with her pseudo-daughter Rennie in tow.
Once the weather starts to cool, Kaylee takes to chasing the sun around the house. From September to December-ish, first thing in the morning, you can only catch rays in the foyer – so, temp allowing, we throw open up the heavy wood doors and cram a few dog beds into the entryway to accommodate our canine slackers. Kaylee’s almost always in the middle of the pile.
And of course, as the sun winds its way into the bedroom and office (and then back into the office at sunset), Kaylee will follow it like – well, almost as dutifully as she follows me around.
Hmmm, on second thought, maybe I should be jealous?
2. Kaylee is a Hungry, Hungry
Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t find this behavior adorable, as it might stem from a lifetime of neglect and starvation (necessitating in her scrounging for food scraps), but it is crazy cute. After the dogs have all been fed, Kaylee will make the rounds, licking each dog’s deserted dish once, twice, even three times. If, for whatever reason, the dishes are still on the floor after she comes back in from outside (after meals is one of their mandated potty breaks), she’ll make another round or two.
She’s got all the dogs doing it now, but hers is still the silliest and most obsessive routine.
Birthday girl, meet muffin plate.
3. Kaylee has the saddest, sorriest set of doggy teefies I’ve ever seen.
She had a bunch of work done right before we adopted her, and she’s been under twice since in order to have a dozen (give or take – it’s hard to keep track) teeth removed. At first we thought her dental problems stemmed from neglect – and indeed, that may have played a part – but genetics aren’t on her side, either.
(Kaylee, after her last round of dental surgery. Doesn’t she look cute with her teal armband/bandage?)
Her crazy and missing teeth give her face an odd, messy, lopsided look. For example, her two canines hung low – lower than her gumline – so you could see them even when her mouth was closed (hence the nickname “Eva Fangoria”). This was disconcerting enough – but then she had one of the fangs removed. Now she looks a bit like a Picasso.
Several of the little teefies in the center of her bottom mouth were pulled, too – all of them on one side.
If she didn’t look odd and pitiable before, the poor girl sure does now. Luckily, I’ve got a soft spot in the cockles for special dogs like her.
Besides, she’s beautiful on the inside – where it really counts.
That’s my Kaylee – shiny and sweet, the prettiest ugly dog you’ll ever meet.
And then there was Jayne. Unlike Kaylee, Jayne’s a loner. A rebel. She’s been very hard to get close to, again probably owing to neglectful or outright abusive treatment at the hands of her previous “owners.” It’s slow going, but we have seen some progress.
1. Jayne is very affectionate (well, relatively speaking) in the morning.
Most of the time, Jayne is ambivalent about attention: when you pet her, she freezes up as though she’s terrified and would rather you take your belly rubs elsewhere. As soon as you stop, though, she look up at you as if to say “Hey, what the hell! I didn’t excuse you. Get back to it, silly human!” It’s hard to tell whether she enjoys or dislikes attention; methinks it’s an odd combination of pleasure and dread. Increasingly, though, pleasure seems to be winning out.
Take Jayne’s morning routine. Kaylee is an early riser, and the ringleader of the bunch. If neither Shane nor I are awake when Kaylee rises, she’ll start barking and dancing and running around the room to rouse us. Naturally, this gets everyone else riled up: Peedee joins in the chorus; Rennie wiggles under the covers with me, rubbing her piggy fat in my face; Ralphie drowns me in kisses. Whereas she didn’t really before, now Jayne jumps into the fray, doing her little “lawn dance” on the bed and floor, rubbing her body to and fro. Once you’re awake, she darts from one side of the bed to the other, giving you a drive-by peck as she passes. Sometimes she’ll drag herself around by her front paws, letting her back legs trail behind in a funny morning stretch.
So cute and happy – I like this new Jayne!
2. Jayne + Ozzy
Jayne is absolutely obsessed with Ozzy, our sole cat-kid. She’ll spend hours sitting outside his window, staring up, longing for a glimpse of his pink ears or a flash of his white fat roll. Ditto: sitting outside his room (when she’s allowed on that side of the house, anyhow). After meals, she’ll rush to his room – or, barring that, to the door that’s shutting her off from doing so – to try and score a peek before she has to head outside.
As you’ve likely surmised, we keep the cat separated from the dogs, since they aren’t all good with him (and Ozzy’s antisocial, to boot). Our house is arranged perfectly for this; Ozzy has two rooms to himself (the guest bedroom and Shane’s hobby room), and we’re able to block the dogs’ access to them with a strategically placed wooden box (a makeshift “hallway”) Shane crafted just for this purpose. We can also keep the dogs out of Ozzy’s side of the house altogether by closing a few doors, which is helpful when Ozzy’s in a wandering mood.
Even so, the dogs have managed to corner the cat a few times, but without much bloodshed. He’s getting more and more brazen – and hungry! – and will emerge from hiding when he hears the dogs being fed. Probably this is how Jayne developed the newest habit of heading down to Ozzy’s room after meals – for dessert, maybe?
I guess this quirk will be cute only as long as Jayne doesn’t make a snack out of Ozzy, but until then, it’s great fodder for lolz.
For bonus lolz, I like to hide under/next to an open window while Jayne’s on the other side and make meowing noises through the screen. Her curious head-cocking ad bewildered searching are priceless.
3. Jayne & Ralphie
Jayne’s equally aloof with humans and dogs, and doesn’t interact with her canine siblings very often – with one significant exception: when Ralphie’s digging for creepy crawlies (which is, like, 50% of the time), Jayne transforms into the Robin to Ralphie’s Batman. I’m talking mega sidekick action here:
Jayne is usually indifferent at best to the other dogs; certainly, she doesn’t take any shit from them. Mostly, she steers clear of politics and power plays. But when Ralphie’s frantically kicking up dirt and grass, Jayne is content to take a backseat and follow Ralphie’s lead.
She’ll sit outside, usually in the remains of his dirt pile, and watch him DIGDIGDIG for hours at a time. You can clearly see that she wants that snake / squirrel / mouse / rabbit / bird just as much as he, but something holds her back from challenging Ralphie and trying to dominate his hole. (Errr, wait, that didn’t sound right.) It’s all very odd, and strangely endearing.
Or perhaps I’m just happy to see Jayne getting on with one of the other dogs for a change.
* Please check out the Dog Food Disclaimer page if you have any questions or concerns, or before trying any dog food recipes on this site!
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