All Good Dogs Bakery: Available at Paw Paw’s!

IMG_3795.jpgExciting new development in the past week!  I contacted Ali, the owner/manager of Paw Paw’s Dog Wash and Pet Boutique at 624 S and 300 W in Salt Lake City about possibly selling my treats at the shop.  And she said yes!  I’m super excited about it.  I dropped off a bunch of treats, all bundled up and ready for sale.

I have to say, the support that I’ve gotten with this new venture has been outstanding.  I have old friends contacting me for mail orders and now I’ll be selling the treats at a local business.  It’s really fun baking the treats and I hope that this will be a profitable venture (so far, I’ve about broken even, which is great for the first month).

IMG_3727.jpgI came up with a new flavor of treats and made a short video about it.  “Something Tropical” is what our new Banana-Coconut treats are!  And the dogs love them.  Honestly, they smell so good baking in the oven, I want to eat them!  They are made with real bananas and coconut oil.  It is believed that coconut oil, which is a medium-chain fatty acid can help boost metabolic rate for weight loss.  It also benefits the immune system and helps protect the heart, and brain.  And bananas… dogs love ’em!

I posted a video to Facebook and Instagram of the dogs trying out the new Banana-Coconut treats.  Check it out!

Treats available in the following flavors:

BANANA COCONUT  (NEW!)  Ingredients: Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, bananas, oat flour, peanut butter, flax meal, aquafaba, coconut oil, potato starch, tapioca flour

APPLE BLUEBERRY  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, apples, peanut butter, aquafaba, blueberries, flax meal, potato starch, tapioca flour

APPLE BACON  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, peanut butter, aquafaba, apples, non-nitrate bacon, flax meal, potato starch, tapioca flour

PUMPKIN CINNAMON  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, pumpkin puree, oat flour, peanut butter, flax meal, aquafaba, molasses, potato starch, tapioca flour, cinnamon

MINT PARSLEY YOGURT  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, peanut butter, yogurt, aquafaba, mint leaves, parsley, flax meal, potato starch, tapioca flour

Treat packs available in the following sizes for prices listed (does not include shipping cost):

  • 4 ounce treat packs/ $6
  • 8 ounce treat packs/ $10
  • 16 ounce treat packs/ $20
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All Good Dogs: Bakery is live!

So happy to announce that the All Good Dogs Bakery is up and ready for business.

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I sent out some trial packs to several dogs last week and the feedback was very positive with two paws up!  Now, I’m just trying to figure out the bestway to get my product out to the public.  So far, I am advertising on my sites on Instagram (@soligrrl and @allgooddogsslc) and on my personal Facebook page (Missy Berkel).  You can also search #allgooddogsslcbakery and you should be able to find my page.IMG_3512.jpg

Ordering Info:  You can message me from this blog or send an email to hmberkel@gmail.com for ordering.  Please include the following info with your order (go ahead and copy and paste):

Size:  small/trainer or medium

Flavors:  apple-blueberry,  apple-bacon,  pumpkin-cinnamon,  mint-parsley-yogurt

Combo Pack includes all 4 flavors

Package Sizes:  4 oz ($6),   8 oz ($10), or 16 oz ($20)

Treat Sizes:  small/trainer, medium, large (see below)

Shipping cost is $5 for 4-8 oz and $8-10 for 16-32 oz.

At this time, I’m accepting cash and check (for local customers in the Salt Lake City area) and Venmo (@allgooddogsslc) and PayPal (801-673-9856).  I will ship anywhere in the US.  If I get enough interest, I may open up an Etsy shop.

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I will deliver orders for free to the Salt Lake City area, or you may pick up your order at my home with prior notice.

I should also let you know, there are no preservatives in these dog treats.  I would expect them to last at room temperature for at least 4 weeks (possibly longer) in a sealed container.  They are pretty dry and biscuit-like.  If you think you need to keep them around for more than 4 weeks, I would recommend that you store them in the freezer or at least in the refrigerator to extend shelf-life.

Sizes are as follows:

Small/trainer:  3/4 inch diameter, about the size of a penny

Medium: 1 1/4 inch diameter, a bit larger than a quarter

Large: 1 3/4 inch diameter

Ingredients:

APPLE BLUEBERRY  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, apples, peanut butter, aquafaba, blueberries, flax meal, potato starch, tapioca flour

APPLE BACON  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, peanut butter, aquafaba, apples, non-nitrate bacon, flax meal, potato starch, tapioca flour

PUMPKIN CINNAMON  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, pumpkin puree, oat flour, peanut butter, flax meal, molasses, potato starch, tapioca flour, cinnamon

MINT PARSLEY YOGURT  Ingredients:  Almond flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, peanut butter, yogurt, aquafaba, mint leaves, parsley, flax meal, potato starch, tapioca flour

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medium size

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small/trainer size

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Pictured:  medium (top) and small/trainer (bottom)

All Good Dogs: a bakery

When I started my dog walking and hiking business almost a year ago (I can’t believe it’s been almost a year!) I had no idea how many treats I would go through on a daily basis!  Here’s a confession:  one of the tricks of the trade of getting a group of dogs to follow you is to have a pocket-full of tasty treats so that they will always want to stick by you.

Here’s another confession:  I’ve always loved to bake.  I recall sitting at the kitchen counter with my mother while she worked in our kitchen.  I would pour over her cookbooks as a child, asking, “Could we make this one?  What about this?  Do we have the stuff for this recipe?”  And nine times out of ten, I would win out and we would end up baking some tasty treat.  I loved baking with my mother in that kitchen, and I loved eating the treats afterwards.  Here’s a fact:  over 40 years later, I’ve never gotten sick from eating raw cookie dough.

When I started a low carb diet about 6 months ago, my love for baking took a back seat to weight loss.  I realized that the more I ate bread, cookies, baked goods, the more I was gradually gaining weight.  The stress of my previous job didn’t help things.  I recall last December, one of my last days at my professional job, sitting in the break room, crying, and eating from a tin of Christmas ginger thin cookies.  I was eating them like popcorn, just popping them into my mouth one after the other.  Talk about stress eating!  I must have eaten at least 30 cookies in one sitting.

I’ve always been really bad about that:  not being able to stop at just one or two cookies.  I baked some low-carb cookies last week (almond flour and coconut sugar) and ate all 30 within 3 days.

Yikes.  I can’t keep doing that.  Even if the cookies are low carb, they’re not low calorie, and I can’t afford to get on that train again!  I’ve worked so hard this summer to lose the stress weight that I put on over the past several years working in the medical profession.

So, if I can’t bake for myself… what about baking for the dogs?  Enter the All Good Dogs Bakery.

img_32211.jpgI’ve been pouring over dog treat recipes on the internet and experimenting with my own combinations.  Some go over with the dogs a lot better than others.  The first batch of treats that I made I thought turned out pretty great (I tasted one of them, and although a little bland, I thought it was pretty tasty).  I gave one to Mocha, one to Charlie and they were like, “Yeah, I’ll crunch on that.”  (They are pretty non-disriminatory eaters.  They will both also eat dirt in the back yard.)  And then I gave one to Charlotte the pup.  She held it in her mouth for about 5 seconds and then dropped it on the floor.  She looked at me with pleading eyes, “Must I?”  I told her it was good, that she should give it a chance.  She took it in her mouth, hid under the bed, and reluctantly crunched away.

“Well,” I thought.  “Looks like I’ve got a little work to do.”

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So I started experimenting with different recipes.  Nut butters go over very well.  Apples and blueberries are also accepted.  Combine the three?  Trifecta.  The trick is to get these sticky, fresh ingredients to combine into a dough that is not so excessively sticky that you can actually make a treat out of it.  So I’ve also been experimenting with different shapes and baking methods.  It’s a lot of fun, and it’s got me back in the kitchen baking!  I have to say, the house smells so good when there is something baking in the oven.

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I’m dedicated to making all of my treats wheat, soy, corn, and egg-free to avoid most allergens.  So far, they are also dairy-free, but I’d like to come up with a cheese flavored treat as well.  And bacon… did someone say bacon?  I would love to share some of my home baked treats with your dogs.  If you are interested, let me know and we can do some product testing!
I’m planning on making some batches to give away as Christmas treats, and possibly branching out to pet stores and veterinary clinics.  I see a new business plan forming…

 

All Good Dogs: growing by leaps and bounds

It’s hard to believe it’s been 9 months since starting the dog walking-dog hiking business. I have watched my business grow not only by the numbers, but also in maturity.  I’ve learned so much about handling dogs in groups, both on-leash and off.  I’ve watched these dogs, most of whom hike with me every week and many of them who hike with me more than once a week, grow in sociability, maturity, and obedience.IMG_2613.jpg

When I first started out in January 2018, I remember trying to herd the dogs in and out of the car, attaching leashes, getting tangled up, getting pulled across the trailhead parking lot.  Now after weeks and months of practice, I’m able to open the tailgate of the vehicle, ask the dogs to sit and stay, and can attach their leashes and have them hop out of the car one by one.  It’s pretty amazing to see the progression.  We are sitting for group pictures a lot better than we were at first, too!

IMG_2704.jpgIt’s not to say that everyday is a perfect day:  some days are more chaotic than others.  We definitely have our moments in the mud.  But on the whole, things are running really smoothly and the dogs know that I’m their pack leader, the other dogs are members of their pack, and that we all should stick together.

I love it when we come up on a group of people who expect the dogs to “rush” them and lose their doggie-minds.  Honestly the dogs could typically care less about other trail users and either move out of the way (of bikes) or move right past people stopped on the side of the trail.  This happened today:  a group of adults and children on the side of the trail stopped for a picnic.  5 out of 6 dogs moved right past the group of people without paying them any attention, even with the children screaming about the dogs, laughing loudly, and jumping around.  One dog stopped to say hi, and then we all were quickly and efficiently on our way.  I was impressed with them (the dogs, not the people).IMG_2763.jpg

The majority of people who see our pack moving along the trail are seriously as impressed as I am.  We’ve gotten so many complements on what a good group of dogs we have.  It warms my heart to hear these comments, because we really do work hard to be respectful trail users and respectful of others.

IMG_2768.jpgI’ve also come across a handful of disgruntled trail users along the way:  people who complain that our hike group is to big, we are in the way, that “something bad could happen.”  Well, I have this to say:  before you judge us as “bad dogs” (which we are definitely NOT), take a moment to actually watch us move as a pack.  I guarantee that if you slow down a bit, watch us, and display the same trail courtesy that we give to you, you will not be disappointed in your interaction with us.  The people whom we interact the best with on the trail are those who display mutual respect.  We will gladly move out of the way of passing mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners.  When the passing trail user gives us a moment to do so, it makes things that much easier for everyone.

And as far as the poop factor:  we always pick up after ourselves, but I can’t say the same for others out there.  Wow, we are picking up SO MUCH POOP the last few days that does not belong to us!  Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, we are able to hit some of the trails closer to the city.  And the POOP!  I have made it a project to pick up more than our fair share of poop at our favorite trailheads in the foothills.  It seems that people over the summer who were using these spaces didn’t find it a priority to clean up after their pets.  We are currently running a 2 for 1 deal in these areas (we pick up 2 for every 1 that we put down).  So if you see poop bags on the side of the trail:  NEVER FEAR!  We will get those bags on the way down from our hike… it’s just too much poop to carry with us for the entire hike and we’ll retrieve it on the way out.

Enough about poop… let’s talk about something positive!

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Strut Your Mutt is coming up next weekend, October 13th.  I’m fundraising with the CAWS (Community Animal Welfare Society), the same organization that I am writing grants for.  Charlotte and I are looking forward to strutting next Saturday with hundreds of other fun dogs and their humans.  If you have the day free, consider coming down to Liberty Park.  The event runs from 10a – 4p and the actual walk starts at 12p.  If you can’t make the event but you still want to support CAWS and Best Friends Animal Society, you could always make a donation here.

As always, happy trails!   If you’re interested in having your dog join our pack, please contact me at hmberkel@gmail.com or visit us on our Facebook & Instagram pages @allgooddogsslc.  Thanks!

 

Forever Franklin

Franklin040218.jpgIt’s been 10 days since Franklin left us.  I have felt the void since he died, and I’ve been really pretty down, but not as depressed and sad as I thought I would be.  That’s probably because he lived such a full life and I really felt like in those final moments, it was his time to go over the Rainbow Bridge.

I hope he was able to find Artemis.  I’m fairly certain he was.  I think when Artemis passed away about a year ago, I was quite a bit more sad because I knew that they were going to be apart for a time.  It’s been somewhat comforting thinking that they might be together again.

I got Franklin 13 1/2 years ago at the age of two years old from a woman who was getting a divorce, moved in with her son, and said that Franklin and the son’s dog weren’t getting along.  Which is strange, because I don’t think I ever really knew a dog that Franklin didn’t like, other than the Great Pyrenees dog Wapiti who used to live down the street (even then, I felt like Wapiti was the aggressor).

When I first met franklin, I was going over to a friend’s house to pick up her and her dog to join me and Roxie (my old yellow lab) to go on hikes.  Franklin was an overweight, goofy adolescent retriever looking longingly at us as we pulled out of the drive.  “What’s the deal with that retriever?  Do you think he would want to come with us?”  So we took him along hiking with us and he was a perfect gentleman.

I offered to foster Franklin while the woman who owned him figured out her situation.  My friend’s house was pretty full of people and dogs and I had more space at my home.  And besides, I kind of liked the guy.  So I fostered him for a couple of months and after a time I thought to myself, “I’m not sure I can live without this dog.”  I still remember one of those first nights:  I was washing dishes at the sink and Franklin came up to me and leaned his head on my leg.  He looked up at me, longingly, as if to say, “Can’t I just stay with you forever?”

I called his original owner up after a couple of months and left a voice message for her that if she ever needed a permanent home for Franklin, I hoped she would consider me.  She called me back a day later and said that she thought I should keep Franklin… permanently.  My heart melted.

My heart continued to melt over the past 13 1/2 years.  Franklin and I had a very special connection that I can’t even really put into words.  We loved each other dearly.  I felt he would do anything for me, and I for him.

I’ll miss him beyond explanation.

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All Good Dogs: I am not a salesperson

I remember the first time I really figured out that I was not a salesperson.  I was working as a ski instructor at a resort near Salt Lake City, Utah.  I had been there a few years, mostly teaching children’s group lessons, and decided to make a switch for a change of pace and start teaching some adult group lessons as well.

A group of us instructors would start out in the morning with 6 to 10 students each and teach for a couple of hours.  We would break for lunch, then go to afternoon “line-up.”  I started noticing that some of the more “experienced” instructors (mostly guys in their 40s and 50s who had been teaching at the area for many years) would not be present at afternoon line-up.  I would take another group of 6 to 10 students for the afternoon, and then see those “missing” instructors teaching a private 2 hour lesson for the afternoon (you made a lot more money teaching privates).  Some of the instructors would stay on groups, and would claim a lot of “return clients” on check out.

What was going on here?  I was doing my job, my students seemed to like me (although I got very few tips, probably because I didn’t hint ask for them) and my groups were making it down the mountain without casualties, having a good time, and learning a few things.

Well as it turns out, those other instructors were salespeople.  They would teach their students for a couple of hours in the morning, and then get them to either come back to a private lesson or a return lesson in the afternoon, both of which paid more.  They were telling their students how much “more” the students could learn and how much better they would become if they stuck around for a few more lessons (or the entire week), preferably in a private-lesson atmosphere.

Wow.  I just couldn’t do it.  I felt like if I did that, and didn’t give people the chance to just take some time to practice what I taught them, I was ripping them off.  No way was I going to play tour guide and teach the same people the same thing for an entire week.  I felt like I was more useful if I shared my knowledge with more, different people (but was I?).  Should I really be trying to sell someone something that they didn’t really need?  [To be sure, I now think that’s the nature of most businesses.]

It’s something that I’m trying to find a balance with in my new career as a dog walker.  It’s hard for me to seek people out and tell them that I can take their dogs for walks and hikes when we probably both feel like they could do it (and many of them do still do it) themselves.

IMG_2529.jpgI’m not a salesperson.  I will never try to sell someone something that they don’t need or want.  If I ask a couple of times and someone doesn’t seem interested, it’s really hard for me to be persistent enough to possibly convert then over to my business.  I don’t want to pester someone to the point of making them frustrated with me.

But I will try and help people out.  If someone is feeling like they are busy with work, kids, life, etc., why should I not take their dogs out on a walk or out on the trail for a while?  The dogs are happy because they are outside cruising around, the owners are happy that the dogs got out (because sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day), and I’m happy because the dogs and the owners are happy (and because I’m around happy dogs all day).

It’s business.  But it’s also life.  I have a product, and there is a need for it.  I really do believe that.  I’m happy to provide a service and I enjoy my work (and have never been happier working at a job in my life).  Won’t you send your dog for a hike with me?

IMG_2634.jpgHappy Trails!

All Good Dogs, Hiking services:

$25 per dog for 1 hour hike, $10 per extra dog (in same family)

$40 per dog for 2 hour hike, $15 per extra dog (in same family)

email: hmberkel@gmail.com

On Facebook and Instagram:  @allgooddogsslc

 

All Good Dogs: Don’t Feel Guilty

When I was a working professional, I typically felt guilty for leaving my dogs home all day by themselves.  When I was a new Registered Nurse (RN) 17 years ago, I soon became aware that I needed to build a fenced-in area and put in a dog door for my yellow lab, Roxie.  She had a few accidents in the house and couldn’t handle 12 hours cooped up without going outside.  Who can blame her?  I always blamed myself in those situations.

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Franklin & Artemis, happy out on the trail in one of our favorite places.

After I got my graduate degree and started working as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), I started working three to four ten-hour shifts per week.  Often, these shifts would be seven days on and seven days off.  The days off were great and I could spend everyday with my Golden Retrievers, Franklin & Artemis.  Many days off were spent on the trail.  But those seven days working in a row were torture.  We would look at each other longingly as I exited the door at 6:30 am, and I think we all wondered why things had to be that way.

Well, the truth is, they didn’t have to be that way.  I soon found out that a friend of mine had started up a dog hiking  business.  She would come to my house and pick up the dogs, take them for an hour or two hike, and drop them off when done.  The dogs were gone for 3-4 hours at a time, running in the hills with their buddies.  I left a check for my friend, and she took care of the rest.  I always felt that they were in good hands.  I would come home from work and they would be pleasantly napping in their beds.

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Blissfully tired.

I used this service for several years off and on, with one dog walker or another, depending on their schedule and mine.  After leaving one group because I was working less, I took another new job and found my schedule in need of dog hiking services again. I called up my friend and her groups were all full!  But she referred me to another friend who accepted my dogs into her group.  Thank goodness!

The sense of peace that I had when leaving my dogs at home and knowing that they were out having fun while I was at work was boundless.  If it was a dog-hike day, I would leave the house and say, “Don’t worry!  You’re going hiking today!”  My friends who took the dogs would always report back that the pups were happy to go with them, and blissfully tired when they got back home.

My sense of guilt for leaving my dogs at home while I was working was gone.  It’s small price to pay, knowing that my dogs were well-cared for and happy.  17 years later, I’ve left the nursing profession, and now I’m the pack leader.  I get to see those smiling faces everyday that I’m at work!  My roll has changed, and I couldn’t be happier to take a pack full of happy dogs out on the trail each day.

Happy Trails!

Missy Berkel

All Good Dogs, Hiking services:

$25 per dog for 1 hour hike, $10 per extra dog (in same family)

$40 per dog for 2 hour hike, $15 per extra dog (in same family)

email: hmberkel@gmail.com

On Facebook and Instagram:  @allgooddogsslc

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Rest stop on the trail!

All Good Dogs: the first month

When I decided a month ago to take a “break” from my profession as a Nurse Practitioner and pursue my own business as a dog walker, I was scared.  That first week of officially being “in business” I thought to myself, “What if no one wants to have their dogs walk with me?”  I was pretty terrified.  I would wake up in the morning and think to myself, “What have I done?”

But I called on my strengths.  I’ve never owned my own business before, but I’m a smart and organized person.  I called on my resources:  asked friends who already had their own businesses, “How do I file taxes?  What do I need to do to be a legit business?” My friend Kate was really helpful in this department.  She had taken part in a seminar for women starting their own businesses a couple of years ago at Westminster College.  She gave me a binder of information to look over and consider for what kind of business I wanted.

I looked at what other, similar businesses were doing:  definitely have a business insurance policy.  Have a structured rate schedule.  Know where I wanted to take the dogs and how many I could handle at a time.

I called on other resources to start my business and start advertising and getting the word out:  friends, former colleagues, social media, veterinary clinics, kennels, and specialty pet shops.  My goal was to build one to two clients per month.  I’m happy to say that all of my hard work has paid off, and I have 10 clients in the first 3 weeks of business.  There are a lot of dogs out there that need walking!  I feel so fortunate to have so many great contacts who have referred clients to me.

So for the first three weeks, I’ve spent some money, made some mistakes, fixed some mistakes, and made some money.  All in all, I’m really happy with how things are going.  I love being outside with the dogs everyday and I have to say, I really like the administrative part of having my own business:  I love filling in spreadsheets and seeing my progress!

Several friends have commented on “how much happier” I look.  I have to say that I agree with them:  I feel a lot happier than how I was with my previous profession.  I’m planning on sticking with this for at least a year and seeing where things lead.  So far, the sky is the limit!

Happy trails and happy tails…  #allgooddogsslc

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Forever Artemis: Clean Sidewalks

I have an ex-boyfriend who lives by Nielsen’s Frozen Custard in Holladay.  One afternoon in the summertime several years ago, I was really wanting a frozen custard and I talked him into walking the dogs up the street to Nielsen’s.

We placed our orders at the window, dogs on leashes and very excited about the whole thing.  There were quite a few people there and lots of little kids, so it was challenging keeping Franklin, Artemis, and Vernon away from everyone’s cones and custard cups.

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Artemis:                                           leader of the sidewalk cleaners

So challenging, that we decided it was probably better to just sit on the bench outside Nielsen’s and eat our custard there rather than try and walk the dogs on leashes back to his house and eat custard at the same time.

We were totally into eating our frozen custard and realized that the dogs were no longer begging for a share of our treats.  We looked down and the dogs were licking the sidewalk.  They were cleaning the old custard drips off the dirty sidewalk… Yum!

My boyfriend looked down and said, “Wow, I bet that’s the cleanest this sidewalk has been in a really long time.”

 

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Look at those tongues!  (L to R):  Franklin, Vernon, and Artemis.  

Tattletale

I’m not going to lie: when I was a kid, I was a tattletale. I like to think of myself more as a purveyor of the truth, but in reality I was a little policeman. My brother would do something that I didn’t think was quite right (or maybe crossing the line of being naughty) and I was sure to tell my mom about it. I think I was hoping that she thought I was helping her out. I think in reality, most of the time, she didn’t want to be troubled with breaking up our little spats.

The other night, it was quite dark and a little late and fairly cold outside, and I decided that I wanted to go for a run. I didn’t want to run outside, so I chose to run on the treadmill in the basement. I gave each of the dogs a pumpkin- and peanut butter-filled Kong, and Mocha was the only one of the three dogs who wanted to hang out in the basement while I ran. I was watching TV and thought to myself, “If I can just get through one episode of Modern Family, I’ll be good.” You see, I think running on the treadmill is quite painful both mentally and physically (but more mentally) and so watching an episode of one of my favorite programs on TV helps me to tolerate it.

I was 27 minutes into my run, and I heard Charlotte barking upstairs. As I recall the incident now, I also did hear a loud “thunk” prior to the barking but didn’t think too much of it at the time. I yelled upstairs to Charlotte, “No barking! Quiet!” I really wanted to try and get to 30 minutes on the treadmill. But the barking was unrelenting. So I turned the treadmill off and reluctantly went upstairs.

Much to my surprise, Charlotte and Franklin were laying next to an over-turned kitchen garbage can. Franklin was munching away on coffee grounds, orange peels, and cheese wrappers. Charlotte was barking at him, not eating the garbage. “My little tattletale! Were you letting me know that Franklin was being naughty?” She wagged her tail and looked up at me lovingly. Franklin reluctantly left his feast of garbage and sadly, as only a Golden Retriever can, watched me sweep it into the garbage can.

Mocha (the good girl, who stayed with me in the basement while I was running on the treadmill), Charlotte (the tattletale), and Franklin (the hungry garbage-eater).