Mike and I have so enjoyed this beautiful October weather! Because of the pandemic, we have spent more time outdoors, taking wonderful walks.
On Wednesday we cut the ribbon to officially open the new walking bridge over the Little Miami River in John Bryan State Park. We started the trail in the lower level of the park, along the old stagecoach trail, across the new foot bridge, and then all the way to Clifton Gorge. It’s about a two-mile walk, and stunningly beautiful. The magnificent rock formations and colorful fall foliage made a wonderful hike, and even though it was a Wednesday and early in the day, lots of other folks were on the trail to enjoy it.
At home, we try to walk each day with Dolly, our 2-year-old Springer Spaniel that we adopted early in this pandemic. Dolly rarely leaves Mike’s side. She sits at his feet in the keyhole desk as he makes calls all over the state and country to talk to citizens, doctors, and experts on how to deal with the virus. And Dolly loves to walk with Mike. If he has his blue jeans and ball cap on and not a suit, she knows it’s time for a walk. Some of these walks during phone conversations take hours!
Last Friday, Mike had a particularly busy day flying around the state, talking to reporters about our alarming and increasing number of cases of COVID. When he arrived home we decided to take a quick walk and enjoy the especially beautiful sunset. As we were almost back home and losing daylight, Dolly took off across the field. We called her and she bounded back, dived into the trail, and rolled over and over. And then there was the overwhelming smell! She’d been skunked!
We called our daughters, who have had experience with skunked dogs. What was the best treatment? Tomato juice? Diluted vinegar? They agreed that the best treatment recommended by many vets as well as the Humane Society was a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a little Dawn liquid dish-washing soap. Fortunately I had enough peroxide to get started and Anna brought me a kit Jill had made that contained more of all the ingredients. After washing Dolly a couple of times with the solution, she smelled good enough to come inside. I’m not sure Dolly learned a lesson but we did. I will always keep plenty of hydrogen peroxide and soda on hand. Just in case!
Yesterday, I decided that Mike and Dolly both needed a treat. Dolly has been so good during Mike’s Tuesday and Thursday press conferences. When he does the Zoom bill signings, she has even popped up, with her paws on the desk ledge, just as he was signing the bills. So first for Mike, I finally made him those apple dumplings I promised a couple of weeks ago. He proclaimed them the best thing he ever ate. There’s something about that pie crust wrapped around the apple, bubbling in gooey cinnamon-flavored syrup that can’t be beat. I made Dolly some treats, too. I carved a pumpkin for Halloween, then peeled and cooked the part of the pumpkin I cut out for the mouth and eyes in the microwave. I mixed it with peanut butter, eggs and whole wheat flour for a delicious, healthy biscuit treat. Dolly liked them and shared some with Copper, Rocco, and Blue, the other dogs in the neighborhood!
Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Treats
½ cup pumpkin
½ cup peanut butter
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour (can be part white flour)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger (optional)
2 Tablespoon bacon grease or salmon oil (optional)
Mix together pumpkin, peanut butter and eggs. Add in flour, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in the bacon grease or salmon oil (I did half each). Dough should be fairly stiff. Add some water if too stiff, or more flour if too soft. You can roll the dough out and cut with a dog biscuit cutter, or roll into logs about ½-inch thick and cut into pieces. I have a silicone dog biscuit mold that makes a dozen at a time that I like to use. Just press the pieces of dough into the mold. They release very easily after baking. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until hard. (Time depends on thickness.)
Dog De-Skunk Wash
1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid dish-washing soap like Dawn
Mix together. Wear rubber gloves and rub mixture through fur. Be careful not to get it in their eyes. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. Thoroughly towel dry. If your own clothes picked up some of that smell, wash them in washer adding ½ cup baking soda.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.