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Denise Bakes Liver Cookies

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This story was written several years ago.  I was reminded of it recently and decided to share it for anyone who has had a similar experience baking for their dogs.  Enjoy!
It is miserable in California.  The rain comes every day.  It won’t stop.  So much rain, I think we must have run out, but there is always more behind.  It’s no fun to be outside and no fun to train.  The dogs are housebound, the kids are whiny and the mother has just about had it.
I dropped my older son at school and returned home with Christopher.  When I go outside to pick up the dog bowls, I find that neither dog ate their raw chicken livers.  There has been lots of discussion on another list lately about making liver treats….the people on the list make it sound so complicated.  Liver, garlic, flour, a bit of salt.  That cannot be difficult.  I have never done this before, but I am quite sure it is not difficult.
I have a routine doctor’s appointment for Christopher at 9:45am.  I have 45 minutes.  Plenty of time to whip up some liver cookies for the dogs and clean up.  Really, there are very few ingredients.
Get liver boiling in a pot.  Get ingredients plus blender ready to go.  Set Chris up in front of his toys. 
Liver cooks up quickly and I pour it into the blender.  This is trickier than I expected; I’ve splashed hot liver juice on my counters and a bit on the cutting board next to the counter, but that’s ok.  The blender is full.  Very full.  Lid on blender and turn on.  Holy Toledo!  Liver juice spurts out the sides of the top and sprays one side of the kitchen.  Blender refuses to blend anymore, so I scoop out most of it and start over with a smaller quantity.  It’s almost 9:15am.  30 minutes until I have to go.
Start over.  Get all of the liver blended.  Christopher is whining.  He has a cup.  He thinks I’m making a smoothie, and he wants some.  What do I do?
Here I must stop the story about liver and introduce you to the concept of the Good Mother and the Bad Mother.  Good Mothers consider the child’s developmental stage and the possibility of a “teachable moment” when making decisions about how to deal with their children on a day to day basis.   Bad Mothers make decisions based on convenience and creating peace, rather than the child’s long-term development. 
My child has a cup and wants some liver puree.  The liver is cooked, therefore should cause no harm.  And here Chris has a change to learn that when I say something doesn’t taste good, it really doesn’t taste good.  Therefore, if I give him the liver puree I can still be a Good Mother.  On the other hand, it’s disgusting to give your child the dog’s liver puree.  In a case like this, we must go beyond the decision and look at the motivation.  My primary motivation if I give him the liver is to stop the whining.  That is most certainly the decision making of a Bad Mother. 
I give Chris the puree.  Last week I helped my older son disect an Ostrich Heart before feeding it to the dogs, which is definitely a Good Mother decision.  That gave me enough Good Mother points to offset today’s Bad Mother decision. 
I pour my liver puree into a mixing bowl and start adding flour.  I am trying to get a consistency like stiff cookie dough that I can cook in a thin sheet and cut into pieces.  This takes quite a bit of flour; more than I expected.  My hand is tired from trying to stir everything together, and I’ve added about three cups of flour.  Still, the dough is sticky.  I give up and pat the dough down on my greased cookie sheet.  Pop the sheet into the oven.  I have a function on my oven which allows me to set the cooking time, and then the oven turns off.  I haven’t actually used this feature, but it cannot be difficult.  I set the oven as I think is appropriate, and start cleaning.  I have ten minutes before I need to take Chris to his appointment. 
I start washing the blender.  The inside has liver puree.  The outside has liver puree.  There is liver puree between all of the buttons and in strings of liver stuck to the blender blades.  There is liver puree under the cabinet and on the stovetop.  As I turn to get a sponge, I discover that Chris has poured his liver puree on the floor.  I have no time left.  I get the dogs and bring them in the house.  They will clean up the floor.  If I clean the blender as best I can and leave it in the sink, my husband will realize it needs a thorough washing and wont’ make one of his post-bicycle ride “recovery drinks”.  I grab Chris and head to the doctor.
1.5 hours later I return home.  My husband has been home and gone out again.  I see he’s removed the liver cookie from the oven; it is not there.  The baking sheet is on the stove.  The liver is gone.  Maybe he cut it up for me, so I check the refrigerator.  Not there.  I look on top; not there.  I check the pantry; not there.  I call his cell phone; where is my liver?  He says it’s on the baking sheet on the stove.  No it’s not.  I look at the floor.  I look at the dogs.  They were in the house.  Alone.  With my liver cookie.    My liver cookie is gone.  It is not possible that the dogs have eaten my liver cookie and all I have left is liver puree in every crevice in my kitchen. 
I ask Millo to desribe it so I know if I want to make it again.  He said it’s a solid sheet of liver; kind of rubbery.  I’ll make it again, but not today.  Today I need a nap.  Those of you who know me are aware of my propensity to see the silver lining in just about any situation, but I need a long nap before I can find the silver lining this time.
Denise

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

4 responses »

  1. Ok, you almost made me spit my tea on the keyboard! Have you thought of a second career as a comedy writer? Have a good nap!

    Reply
  2. I’m filing this one with the post about trying to explain all your bruises to the nurse.

    Reply
  3. I have made liver treats many times; however I never cooked the liver first. I put the raw liver
    in the blender and then pour it out and blend the flour or whatever in. It works.
    Here is the easiest treat recipe. It is so easy that I can remember it. Two cans of tuna,
    two eggs, two cups of flour. You could substitute other meats.
    I love that you share these common events with us. We all have those days, and those things.

    Reply
  4. This inspired me to try liver treats. They came out kind of like hockey pucks, but my dog seems a big fan. I will have to try the tuna treat recipe, too.

    Reply

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