Rug rats. Carpet crawlers. Couch climbers. Those tiny little two-legged adorable tots known to mankind as kids. In our case, kids that belong to someone else. Malcolm and I don’t have children, we have dogs. At one time we had three large, very demanding Bernese Mountain Dogs. Now two. Still just as demanding. Like kids, they can be expensive. No, we don’t worry about paying for braces, prom or college. We worry about vet bills, boarding costs and bath time.
There is nothing a small toddler enjoys more than to run screaming through the house after bath time, a bare bottom streaking by as their parents chase after them with a dry towel trying to catch the slippery little hellion. As my mother would say, “Chi chi wow wow!” exclamation mark, exclamation mark, producing giggles and laughs from the two-year old flasher aka grandkid.
Our girls pretty much do the same thing. Run. Bath time brings out all sorts of bad behavior and antics as Dolce and Amore try to avoid soap and water.
When Dolce and Amore were little puppies, we could give them a bath ourselves, usually in the kitchen sink. Still small enough, we would put their front paws in one side of the double-wide sink, the back paws over the divider and in the other side, using the handy-dandy faucet nozzle to rinse them. I can tell ya’, they didn’t enjoy their baths. One of us always needed to keep a hold of them while the other washed, as they squirmed and wiggled their way to freedom. There was more soap and water on us as we scrubbed them, then in the sink. Just like a little tyke, the minute we set them down from the high counters after their rub down, they would streak through the house. Usually trying for the pen, where they could roll in the dirt. After we wised up, blocking the entrance to the outside, Dolce and Amore would retaliate by jumping on the couch, rolling their still wet bodies over the cushions, leaving wet dog hair and fur in their wake. UCK! plus more clean up.
When the girls grew too big for the sink, they graduated to the double-headed shower, large enough for both Malcolm and I, swimsuit clad, to bathe them. That lasted two tries. Amore learned to tolerate the water and the cleansing. Dolce absolutely hates it. There is no blocking a determined dog. When Dolce has had enough and wants out of the shower, she’s gone, dog-gone gone. The first sniff of freedom and she is shaking the water. All over the bathroom. Soap and water drops up to the ceiling and sideways. Landing on mirrors, counters, and cabinets, there isn’t a dry spot available. She is rolling on her back, leaving locks of her fur on the floor mats. The one phase of grooming she does love is the rub down. With lots of towels. I mean a lot of towels. Meaning a lot of washing afterwards.
After two attempts to bathe Dolce and Amore ourselves, we gave up. Time for the groomers. Well, that was a mistake. Not only is it horribly expensive for a large dog, however justified it is, at the time, we had three Berners. The total grooming bill after tip and tax was around $300 big ones. Tiamo was used to going to the dog groomers. Didn’t like it, put on the brakes when we entered the establishment, but she endured the process. And when we are paying for just one dog, the expense wasn’t as hard to swallow. Add Dolce and Amore to the invoice and we were eating rice and beans for the month.
The first time we brought all three girls into the groomers, they literally destroyed the joint. Cages, brushes, and dryers went flying. They did not like it, not one bit. Dolce and Amore didn’t like the fur brushing, the blowers, nor the cute little kerchief tied around their necks. We were not too nicely told that perhaps we might want to make other arrangements for their grooming. Well hell! Our big rug-rats were kicked out of pre-school! PreSchool! Shheeeee-it! Now what?
Enter Tara, our puppy-sitting college student friend. Silly her, raising her hand to volunteer to bathe our dogs, but what college student doesn’t want a bit of beer money? Tara has been our life-saver. We named the date, purchased the supplies for washing, grabbed all our towels for rub downs and pointed her to our huge shower. Done! Our shrieks of “get back in here” to a dog racing out of the shower, that A) does not listen, B) does not know what it means (what dog hears), and C) is meaningless to a 100 pound wet dog determined to avoid a bath, have turned into cooing “Chi chi wow wows”! as Dolce and Amore parade past us sweet-smelling, with fluffy clean fur.
TATOR TOTS – Chi chi wow wow style!
Get it? Tator TOTS! Ok, poor kid humor! Truffle oil and minced black truffles make this appetizer anything but kid food.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour plus additional for coating
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped black truffle
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white truffle oil*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
- *Truffle oil is available at some supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and Italian markets.
Bring first 3 ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add 1 cup flour; stir over medium-high heat until mixture pulls away from edges of pan, about 1 minute. Transfer to medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat dough 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Measure 1 1/2 cups dough and reserve (discard any remaining dough).
Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Boil until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain. Press potatoes through ricer or food mill into large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups reserved dough, chopped truffle, truffle oil, salt, and white pepper. Using electric mixer, beat dough on low-speed to blend.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer dough to pastry bag fitted with 3/4-inch-diameter plain tip. Pipe dough in logs onto prepared sheet. Freeze until firm but not frozen, about 1 hour. Cut logs into 1 1/4-inch-long pieces. Toss in flour, return to sheet, cover, and freeze completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container; keep frozen.
Pour enough oil into large saucepan to measure depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 350°F. Working in batches, cook frozen potato pieces until cooked through and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
For more delicious recipes and tails of the dogs, purchase If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823