Matthew and I both grew up with dogs and feel that a house without a dog is not a home. By taking dogs from people leaving the country at about the time we were arriving and leaving them with our successors we managed to have a dog in every country where we were posted – except Paris where we lived on the 8th floor of the Embassy complex and dogs weren’t allowed. It may seem cruel to leave them, but I think it was harder on us than on them.
When we headed off to Copenhagen for 3 years it was the first time we didn’t have any of our three offspring in tow. I have often heard them telling anyone willing to listen “We didn’t leave home like most kids do, our parents left home.” A real sob story as you can see.
It’s definitely a plus having school-aged kids when you arrive in a new country because you meet people through them. Owning a dog is another good way to make friends. As Copenhagen was to be our last overseas posting we decided to buy a puppy for the first time and bring it back through Australia’s strict quarantine at the end of our posting.
Within a few months of arrival we had bought our child replacement in the form a male golden retriever puppy we called Holger Danske, or Danske for short. Six years after leaving Copenhagen Danske is now a middle-aged gentleman of eight and a half, and going strong. We are still in regular touch with quite a few “doggy friends” including Marianne the breeder and Hanne (pronounced Hannah), whom I met in the doggy park.
Hanne and her dog Boelle were regulars at the park. With her pockets full of home-made dog biscuits Hanne was popular with the canines. I liked her too and it certainly wasn’t about the biscuits! Before I left Hanne gave me the recipe and I have made them every 2 months or so ever since. If I handed them out to all and sundry as Hanne did I’d be making them every weekend! I have adapted the recipe a bit by cutting down on the eggs.
Anyone who makes dog biscuits must be more than a little crazy about their four-legged friends and I am happy to admit that I fall into that category. However, to be honest, one of the main reasons I make them is because I’ve been unable to buy a dog treat which is the right size for Danske’s Kong ball. This red rubber toy in the shape of a ball has a hole into which you feed biscuits. He then tosses it around until they have all come out. Great fun and it’s now part of his daily routine. He brings me the ball to be filled each day at about noon. If the biscuits are too small they all fall out the first time he throws it. If they’re too big they’re impossible to get out and I have to use a knife – remember getting coins out of an old-fashioned money box? So that’s why I simply cannot afford to run out of Hanne’s biscuits. Danske would go into deep depression. Even small dogs can benefit from having a Kong ball.
1 beef or chicken stock cube
1 tsp salt
2 cups cracked wheat or rye
4 eggs, beaten
4-5 cups plain flour
4 cups porridge oats
Mix water, crumbled stock cube, salt and cracked rye and leave for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, using enough flour to make a stiff scone-like mixture. Take out in portions and roll into sausages on a floured surface, using extra flour as needed. Cut sausages into 1-2cm lengths, then bake the biscuits on oven trays lined with baking paper for 40 minutes at 180°C then turn the oven off. The biscuits can be very close together on the trays. When cold store in a tin.
Note: These healthy biscuits make an ideal treat but they are not designed to be everyday food. They are unsuitable for small puppies who still have their milk teeth, as they are quite hard.