Katy is finishing up her second year of Juniors in Girl Scouts and the big deal in Juniors is earning the Bronze Award.
The girls are supposed to look around their community and find a need, come up with a project and carry it out with a suggested minimum of 20 hours. Katy loves animals and wanted to do something to help animals. First she thought of bird houses but none of the kits really make a functional house (mainly, no way to open and clean them) and a kit is about all the building skills she can handle right now and it’s close enough to the end of the school year there wasn’t really time for a carpentry class. In the meantime, her troop took a field trip to the Humane Society shelter and she thought a “welcome home” bag would be a neat thing for families adopting a dog.
So the first thing was to head back to the Humane Society to make sure this was something they could use. The volunteer director, Kate Pika, thought it was a wonderful idea. And incidentally, she’d just met with a few high school Girl Scouts working on their Gold Award.
Katy decided she wanted to include homemade toys and treats and ask various dog-related businesses for donations of items. We visited two pet boutiques, which both donated food, treats and information and a doggy day care that provided a car magnet, drink holder and a brochure about their various services. In between the business calls Katy researched toys and treats she could easily make at home.
For a toy, she bought fleece, cut it into three strips and braided it together for a tug-of-war/fetch toys. Buddy was our official toy tester. He thought the fleece tug toy was the greatest thing ever.
So with that success, it was on to the treats. There are lots of recipes for homemade dog treats out there and Katy narrowed it down to two. One she made a batch of and then rejected. While they were easy to make, healthy and our dog testers (Buddy and Kallie) liked them, they looked a little like piles of baked vomit. She really wanted something cuter and a little more appetizing looking.
So onto recipe #2. These were roll-out cookies.
Those worked better. The recipe called for powdered milk and that gave Kallie a stomach ache. Since dogs often have issues with milk and some dogs can’t tolerate wheat (the main ingredient), either, I helped Katy rework the recipe to leave out the milk and replaced the whole wheat flour with brown rice flour. Much easier on the tummy. Buddy and Kallie gave them two paws up. Since this recipe was a keeper, we went to Joann’s and picked out a bone-shaped cookie cutter. (The recipe is at the end of this post.)
The finished product. You haven’t lived until your house smells like peanut butter and garlic.
Since this was a time-consuming project and everything is more fun with a friend, Katy invited some friends to help her. Nadia came over to help with the cookies. Buddy was close at hand to supervise the entire process.
With the cookies done and in the freezer, Catherine and Elizabeth came over to help make the toys and decorate the bags. They toys were a two-person job as one person needed to hold the end tight while the other did the braiding. And while the prototype went pretty well, when it was time to get serious and make them all no one, including me, could tie a knot at the top. With a little trial and error we discovered it was easier to braid first and then knot the ends.
Then came the creative part, decorating the bags. Katy was a little aggravated that she doesn’t know how to draw a dog or a person. It’s a really good thing Katy recruited help, decorating 15 bags was a big job. They were going to do both sides but abandoned that idea pretty quickly.
Here are a few of the bags.
And finally Katy was ready to stuff them. She also included a copy of the treat recipe and a paper explaining the project.
And the last step, delivering them to the Humane Society. We all hope the dogs and their new families enjoy their gift!
“Peanut Butter, Please?” Biscuits
2 c. Brown Rice Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 jar (8 oz.) Peanut Butter
1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 c. Cold Water
1. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the water. Once they’re combined, add the water and knead the dough until a ball forms.
3. Cut your treats into shapes. If you make balls, be sure to flatten them.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes and let cool.