Dog doors are a great invention and ours was one of the better remodel decisions Malcolm and I made…
When Tiamo was still a puppy, we added a large coyote-fenced enclosure that wrapped around the back of our New Mexican styled home. Aesthetically pleasing for the neighborhood, it fit in with the landscape. We carefully planned the gate placement, the amount of shade provided by the Pinon trees growing around the perimeter and size of the pen around Tiamo’s needs. The one thing we didn’t plan, was installing a dog door for entrance from the pen to the house. Mistake number one – however a moot point since we only put Tiamo in the pen when we left for town and couldn’t bring her. Tiamo’s new playground was over 1,800 square feet of soft sand and shade. Made just for her – and she hated it! She hated being left alone outside, barking excessively. She hated being separated from us and most of all she hated knowing Thugs, our cat at the time, was indoors while she was suffering outdoors. She dug deep holes under the gate and tunneled out to freedom, magically appearing at our back door to come inside. She scratched, clawed and budged her way out through any opening she could find, bending the gate frame, ripping the wiring. We added reinforcements, new gate latches, heavier gauged wire, and still Tiamo would find a way out. One week after we christened our new dog pen addition, we abandoned it. Tiamo happily trading the pen for all the comforts of pillows and couches found inside our home.
For two years Tiamo’s dog pen sat empty – until the puppies were born. The pen was the perfect dog park for eight little pups to explore and discover their new life. We would bring the kids out to the pen during the late hours of the afternoon, when the sun’s heat was less severe. Tiamo had finally accepted the pen, enjoying the fresh air as she tenderly watched over her rambunctious brood. The little ones romped and tumbled for hours until we brought them back in to their make-shift pen set up in the garage. Tired and exhausted, the puppies would settle into a fast sleep for the night.
As each puppy left for their new life with their new caregivers, Malcolm and I came to the conclusion we needed to add a dog door to the pen for our remaining three; Tiamo, Amore and Dolce. However, our careful planning of the pen placement several years past, failed to appoint a common wall for a dog door. Mistake number two. We concluded after a careful study of where to place the large rubber flap, to install the dog door in our bathroom’s linen closet. I know, it sounds weird, but our thinking was (and still is) if there came a time when we needed to close off the dog door, we could re-install the linen shelves back in and the large, unsightly dog hole would “disappear” behind bath towels and sheets. Plus, we could close the closet door to keep the girls in or out depending on what we wanted.
Installation day was on a Friday, right around the first of July. We wanted to have the door installed and finished before our Monsoon season started so the girls could come in out of the rain. Training was easy. A little nugget of ground hamburger was all it took to entice Tiamo through the opening, with Amore and Dolce quickly following. It wasn’t long before each dog was barreling through the flap looking for a meatball. The girls immediately used the outdoors as they should, doing their duty discreetly outside. No more getting up to let one of dogs out, no more waiting in the freezing cold as Dolce sniffed for the perfect spot, no more chasing after Amore as she sensed freedom. Life was just made easier.
Five days later, the rains came. Blessed drops of liquid fell on our parched acreage. Never lasting very long, the afternoon showers can alternate from a gentle pitter-patter to hard torments of destruction. The dry land will soak up the moisture like a sponge, filling its cracks with water, letting the excess wash over into arroyos and gullies creating flash floods and hazards. Not only do our summer storms bequeath us with fiery sunsets that paint the sky with vibrant colors, they also leave us with clay dirt that quickly becomes slick, clinging to our shoes, dragging your steps with the extra weight of the mud. It was on a day such as this, that I came home from work to find mud, lots of mud, strewn from one end of the house to the other! There were muddy paws prints in every room, every part of the house. On the sofa, on the bed, everywhere. The girls came running to greet me, each with a wet, muddy underbelly, each filthy and dirty, mire and sledge oozing from their paws. and each with a huge happy grin on their face. The new dog door was a gateway to mud and muck. Mistake number three!
Luckily, we have brick floors. And, we have a house cleaner.
Dolce washed up after mud wrestling with Amore
an ooey-gooey delicious mess!
- 1 cup butter
- 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 6 oz Oreo cookies
- 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
- 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 6 tbsp. melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan.
To prepare the crust: place Oreo cookies, nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and process until fine crumbs are formed. Add the melted butter and mix until just moistened. Do not over process. Press the cookie mixture over the bottom of the springform pan, pressing the mixture up the sides of the pan about 1 1/2 inches. Cover and chill until filling is ready.
To prepare the filling: add butter, chocolate, corn syrup in a medium sauce pan over low heat until melted together. Let cool. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then the finely chopped Macadamia nuts. Pour filling into the chilled crust and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 minute or until just set but still soft in the center. Let cool on a wire rack.
Serve a room temperature with homemade whipped cream.