I remember as a teenager, I had overheard my mother talking to some of her friends. One of them said, “Life begins when your children have moved out and the dog dies.” Okay, I have to admit I was kinda horrified. As luck would have it, we had a great dog that lived to the ripe old age of 20. Take that, mean friend of my mom’s!!
When my kids were very young we had a dog, not Rosie our present-day wonder dog. Our childhood-family dog was special and beautiful in her own right. The problem was that as a young and crazy family with 3 kids under the age of 6, we weren’t able to enjoy her to her fullest. We were in survival mode. Granted she was loved and well taken care of like one of the family, She was fed the best food, thoroughly exercised, and well protected from our toddling toddlers. She was loyal to the end, and we cried when she crossed over the rainbow bridge. I admit that I was both sad and relieved at the same time. I had one less living creature to worry about.
It wasn’t until my children were teenagers that we decided to get another puppy. It was a weighty decision that my husband and I kept grappling with. I kept hearing my mom’s mean friend’s comment playing over and over again in my head. I was worried about being tied down and never being able to travel. My husband Ken wasn’t a huge dog lover (this is my second and final marriage). He loves cats. (I am deathly allergic to them.) However, I was dead set on getting a new puppy. We visited the breeder on two separate occasions trying to decide if this was something that we wanted to dive into. Eventually, we closed our eyes and took the plunge. We adopted Rosie, our black Goldendoodle, and have been doggie paddling with her ever since.
Rosie has been a joy. Her puppy stages took some time and commitment, but she was a quick learner and was housetrained within weeks. Because my kids were older, I had more time to devote to her. We made sure that Rosie went to obedience school and our kids participated in her training. Hey, why not? A little bit of obedience training couldn’t hurt anyone. We were in a place as a family where we could thoroughly enjoy her and work together as a team. Rosie loves all of our kids, and her excitement is contagious.
Fast forward to my empty nest. Once the kids left, we became the three amigos. It has been known to many that (sometimes) I love her more than my kids. It’s okay. My kids know. No secrets here. Rosie, Ken, and I go everywhere. She travels well and is perfectly behaved. She accompanies us to outdoor bars, restaurants, and musical events. In return, we accompany her to fun-filled dog parks, beaches, and walking trails. She has helped make our transition from a big family to empty nesters with style. Since the pandemic, she is thrilled like every other pet in the world to have us home 24/7. This is Rosie’s world and she will not let us forget it.
Emotionally, Rosie has been a godsend. She keeps us on our toes, she gives us so much unconditional love, and best of all, she doesn’t talk back or ask for money. All she wants is a place smack in the middle of our bed. She provides a warm body to snuggle up with during the cold winter nights in Maine and offers us companionship whenever we look lonely or sad.
I will say that having a dog is a great way to meet people. You don’t have to be an empty nester. This works well for single people also. We are newcomers to Maine, and having Rosie has helped us break the ice and meet wonderful people who we might not have met on our own. For this, we raise our glass and toast to all empty nesters with pets. Cheers!
Now onto the recipe! Since you don’t have to cook for your kids, why not make something special for your pooch? Rosie goes through treats as my kids went through cereal. This easy dog biscuit recipe is full of whole-grain oatmeal, bananas, and peanut butter. Yep, just three ingredients! I purchased a dog bone cutter through Amazon. You don’t have to have a special cutter, but let’s face it, my dog is special and so is yours. Sometimes in the winter, I add a teaspoon of turmeric and a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil. These help decrease inflammation and gives our dog a smooth coat.
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
- 1 ½ -2 cups oat flour (this is just ground up oatmeal, which can be done in a blender)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth. If the dough seems sticky, just add more oat flour. Gather into a ball and let rest. At this point, it can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator.
On a clean work surface, roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness. With the cookie cutter, cut out the shapes you want. Since this is oat flour and not wheat, there is no gluten. Therefore, you can roll and reroll the dough until you have used it all up, and it won’t get tough. I also like to use a chopstick to poke holes in the biscuits so that they are crunchy.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the oven off and allow biscuits to sit in the oven until they are completely cool. Place in a jar and delight in all the dog licks and kisses you will get. I can promise you that your kids never thanked you this much!