Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hurricane Food Can Be Fun - For a Dog

One of the things that I didn't have to prepare for Up North was bizarre weather.  Sure, we'd get some bad rains but they'd drain off downhill to someone else's place.  We'd get 5 months of winter, three of which the grounds would be frozen solid.  For the most part nothing was strong enough to make us want to store up two weeks of food and water "just in case" things got bad.

In South Florida, and I suspect the rest of the Gulf Coast and the state, we are told that it's not a matter of if but when a hurricane would hit.  Katrina started over that way about 25 miles off shore, rolled over head, and did a beautiful city with a rich culture a world of hurt.  Wilma started in the Gulf and came over land and visited here for about two solid days.  New Orleans is still recovering, and I notice here in Wilton Manors that the power "pops" at least three times a day with surges due to the creaky infrastructure caused by Wilma.

So in June, off to the big box stores we all dutifully go, getting the Extra Large containers of food that won't spoil without refrigeration.  We draw down frozen food supplies, and watch the weather to know if we're under the gun.

One of the quirks that gives us is that we get to buy "weird food" that normally we would not eat.  Last year I got Kimchi Taste! ramen that was so fiery hot that I couldn't eat it with the spice packet.  I was down to about 1/4 teaspoon of spice per bowl.  I'm sure that the Koreans love it, and I enjoy Kimchi if I can find a good Korean Market, but not here in Broward.

Everyone here who doesn't have a food allergy toward the stuff has a container of Peanut Butter.  Quintessentially American, people eat the stuff in many different ways.  Every so often that leaves us with a big "empty" jar to be recycled.

By Dog.

Show me a dog who does not like Peanut Butter and that will be the first one I have ever even heard of. 

Having a border collie means finding new and interesting ways to keep her entertained.  Here's a trick for you.  When you finish that plastic jar, show the dog what it is and place at least one "cookie" inside of it.  Rattle the jar around so the cookie gets stuck to the peanut butter that you can't get out of the jar and then set it on the counter in view.  The dog will watch it like a hawk then eventually walk away.  I can keep that game up for a while, but eventually when she gets the jar, she'll work on it for about a half hour.  Mine will toss the jar in the air and get the cookie out when it bounces off the ground, but it can take a lot of time, especially if you have rugs.

I don't, and every time that jar hits the ground it bounces around loudly.  Don't try this late at night!

The standard peanut butter jars, she has learned to open in around 15 to 30 minutes.  This year for hurricane supplies we got the Extra Massive Size Jar from GFS.  I discovered that I prefer the GFS Store Brand jar of crunchy peanut butter to the big names.  Just as much flavor, if in fact more than the national brands.  This jar is the size of a small melon - 80 ounces.  I can't even get both hands around that jar and I'm a big man - 6'4" and 225 pounds myself. 

I took a small bit of peanut butter on a butter knife, put it on a cookie, stuffed all that in her Kong toy and then sealed it all up inside of the jar.   Rattling all of that together, it got glued to the bottom of the jar with the most impossible of all glues - Chunky Peanut Butter. 

Watching me intently, I set the jar on the floor.   Lettie being a Mc Nab Dog is incredibly patient.  She waited watching the jar wanting to be released from this torture by the magic words.


She tore into the jar but couldn't figure out the lid so after an hour of her trying to chew this up, I took pity on her and removed the gnawed thing.

Remember Do This Under Supervision!  The jar lid did crack so when that happened, that was when I pulled it off.  A softer plastic would help, and the National Brand lids are better for this particular task.

That wasn't the end of this task since the Kong was still glued to the bottom of the jar with a Peanut Butter Death Grip that super glue would be proud of!  She then stuck the edge of it in her mouth, picked it up and flipped it in the air.  When it came down, the Kong stayed put so she thought I'll just lick the peanut butter off the jar and try later.  

This went on for another 45 minutes.   We're at an hour 45 now!

Finally, the Kong's suction broke and it popped out of the jar.   She went after the cookie inside for another 15 minutes and cleaned it out.  No more cookie, no more peanut butter, Lettie decided now it is time to go back after the jar.

She daintily picked up the jar and licked all the easy peanut butter off then realized there's more goodies down deep and stuck her head inside the jar and licked away.  Had her head been a little smaller, I'd have to get the shears to get it off so it is a judgment call on your part as to whether this is safe - if your dog's head gets stuck in the jar, it is on you.  I got lucky that all the parts were just the right size.

If you do end up with a dog stuck int he jar, you may have the next viral video on your hands.... I'm just saying ....

Obviously, larger dogs will shred the thing.  Smaller ones may just climb inside.  My dog is a 47 pound dog, a nice medium size.  Everything fell into place... but remember the dog's safety first.  Don't try this if you think there's a chance your dog will get hurt.  This is obviously not a "normal" or "intended" use for a peanut butter jar so I'm not recommending it, GFS is not recommending it.  A "shatterproof" plastic jar is only shatterproof under intended use

If it works though, your dog will love you for it!

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