When it comes to Christmas, I think about baking cookies! Being a retired baker there really isn’t anything else I’d rather do to celebrate the season than baking with my family and friends.
Now you may think I’m talking chocolate crinkles, sugar, and gingerbread cookies all decorated neatly and nice with their glistening toppings and icing, but I’m talking cookies for the dog!
Our family has always been strong in sticking together. Our motto is, “The family that bakes together, stays together.” Back in the 1980s my grandmother developed a recipe for gourmet dog treats. My grandparents, my parents, and my sis all lived in the same house, baking was always one big happy family occasion during the holidays.
Me, my mom, my sis, and my grandmother owned a grooming salon at the time. I did all of the fluffy finishing (a wizard at hand-scissoring I might add), my mom did all of the bathing, my grandmother did the blow drying, and sis did all of the book work. You’d think all of our customers were dogs, but we had our fair share of cats, ferrets, and even a regular – a potbelly pig!
Grandmother thought it would be fun to bake some homemade dog treats for me to hand out at the grooming shop. I loved the idea! So all natural gourmet dog treats were created, baked, and each treat was tied with a red bow. Every dog went out of the shop not only looking their best, but now tails wagging with delight as they crunched on their new-found treats.
December came and went. We thought everything would be back to normal at the shop after a nice long holiday. WOW! Were we sadly mistaken. The first day back people started coming in asking if they could buy more of those treats. Our family is full of go-getters, we all resoundingly said, “Yes!” We then proceeded to tell them it would be a few days but we should have them in within the week.
And so it began, the family business was now a grooming salon by day and a “BARK”-ery at night. It wasn’t long and the treats were being shipped around the world. It was so much fun and a great Christmas memory.
Well, life has a funny way of not always sending out memos on what’s coming your way. Grandmother helped in the grooming shop until she was 91 years old. Her health then rapidly digressed. Being the type family that we are we closed down the “BARK”-ery to care for grandmother. I continued grooming to help pay the bills while mom stayed home with grandmother.
Grandmother lived to the ripe age of 94 and was blessed to see the new millennium arrive before she went home to heaven. My husband and I had moved to Florida, leaving grandmother, mom, dad, and sis in Ohio. The grooming business continued, but it was never really the same for them. They eventually closed it down. Mom, dad, and grandmother moved to Florida to join us, and my sis moved north to Michigan’s U.P.
You may be wondering what this really has to do with Christmas now. And I can see your point. Let me try and tie this all together for you and finish it off with a nice big red bow.
About 10 years ago mom was cleaning out her closet and found the original recipe of grandmother’s for the dog treats. She gave it to me and I took what was once only two flavors and turned it into thirteen. In honor of my grandmother I named the treats Gramma Hildie’s Doggie Delights ™ . Again they were a huge success, but this time my own health brought me to the point of having to give it up once again. Devastating to say the least, but of course our family doesn’t give up easily. So I pulled out the novel I’d been working on and am now looking at an early 2012 release of my eight year project: HIDDEN EARTH –Volume 1 Maycly, an epic fantasy. On the world of Maycly you’ll find that Gramma Hildie’s Doggie Delights™ are a favorite of my main character Iona’s very special dog Wiskee.
Now here comes the big red bow! Just recently a long time friend who is marvelous at retail and loves to bake has taken me up on my offer and will be the exclusive baker and provider of Gramma Hildie’s Doggie Delights™.
I’ve been teaching her the ropes of baking the treats this past week. The kitchen has been abuzz with flour flying, rolling out dough and cutting out shapes, the oven warming the air, and best of all that reminiscent smell of grandmother’s doggie treats filling every room in our small house and lingering for days.
It’s been like Christmas of old all over again for me, baking with friends (the kind who are like family) to re-introduce these awesome treats once again to the world—and this time in conjunction with my epic fantasy novel. As a one room school teacher, baker, and farmhand I can only hope that my hard working and dedicated grandmother is looking down from heaven this Christmas and I can make her proud. I certainly hope that by doing this, grandmother’s treats will continue to live on and bring joy to many doggies all throughout Christmas and the New Years to come.
Janet Beasley: epic fantasy author, scenic nature photographer, facilitator, conference speaker, class designer, actor, singer, dancer, director, producer, and published in trade specific magazines. She loves kayaking, photographing nature, dogs, and cupcakes!
Blog JLBCreatives Blog: caters to authors and photographers
Blog Live Events And Productions: audio-visual, special fx, producing events, and more
Janet’s page at LOVE A HAPPY ENDING
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/JLBCreatives – @JLBCreatives
YOUTUBE CHANNEL: JLB CREATIVES CHANNEL