Musing with Max

Musing with Max

April 24, 2012

My life in dog years - part 3

A few months after Frank and I were married we moved to New Jersey. The plan was really to move to New York, honestly who sits around going "what I really want to do is move to New Jersey", but New York City is a very expensive place to live in and since Frank had grown up in New Jersey he knew that you could live there and enjoy the best of both worlds. Which meant cheaper rent in a very nice apartment, working in New York and commuting there every day in less than half hour and spending all our weekends there. Almost every Saturday we would start our day in the West Village and almost every Saturday one of our first stops was the pet store on 8th street which always had a huge crowd in front of it. The main reason for the huge crowd was that the front windows were always filled with chow chow puppies; and frankly it's hard to find anything cuter than a chow chow puppy. Soon we decided we should get a dog since we had both always had dogs and, of course, went for the chow chow pup. We found him in a pet shop in North Jersey, he was 8 weeks old and completely irresistible.

He was a full breed AKC pup with papers and all and we named him Obi which stood for "Our Boy Indy". People thought he was named after either a character in Star Wars or Indiana Jones which made me think I should have named him Harrison Ford. On our first trip to the vet we got an education. He said, let's see if we can raise him as an untypical chow. A typical chow is anti-social, stubborn, very devoted to their owner and no one else, doesn't like to be around people, likes to go off on a corner by itself, doesn't want to be bothered, ornery, lazy and all around not very nice. Humpf, not my dog! Obi turned out to be none of these things, except maybe lazy. No catch and fetch here. He arrived pretty much housebroken (they're very clean like cats) and had the run of the apartment within two weeks of arriving. Shortly after we got him we had a snowstorm; I took him out for his walk and he put one paw into the snow, immediately jumped back on the stoop and looked at me quizzically. Put his paw slowly on top of the snow and dove right in. He loved Frank but also loved me. He was friendly with everyone. He was a nightmare to walk, he pulled and pulled and pulled (me anyway) and was very picky about his"poopy spot". One day we decided we would hire a trainer. She came over and stood with arms akimbo staring down at him when I opened the door, he growled at her. She said, your dog is very aggressive, I said, I would be too if someone greeted me that way. We didn't hire her. When we moved to a house and installed a fence he refused to "go" in the yard therefore if Frank was out of town I got dragged all over the neighborhood twice a day. On the rare occasion that we fed him "people" food he would stare at me incredulously when I gave him kibble the next day, and ignore it. His favorite food was lasagna, on those instances he wouldn't eat for three days after that. OK, I give, I guess he was stubborn. One day when he was seven Frank called me at work and said that when they were going down the stairs Obi missed a step and slid all the way down, he picked himself up and they went for their walk and he proceeded to crash into the front gate. He hadn't missed a step, he was blind and it seemed to have happened overnight. We took him to a bunch of specialists, there was nothing they could do. He slowed down and became the typical chow going off on a corner by himself, anti-social, not wanting to be bothered
he also gained 40 pounds in a very short amount of time. One day we came home from a trip to Baltimore for a baseball game and found him lying next to the door. My heart broke in half.

serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
one medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves. minced
1 lb. ground beef
salt & pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained
1 cup of water
1lb dried lasagna noodles
8 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups bechamel sauce (recipe below)

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook slight without browning. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add the ground beef, season mixture with salt and pepper and brown breaking it up and stirring as needed. Add the tomatoes and break with a wooden spoon. Season with oregano and add water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook per cooking instructions until al dente. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350F

In an 11 x 13 baking pan spread about one tablespoon of the tomato sauce. Place lasagna noodles on top and across over lapping slightly. Spread half of tomato sauce over the noodles, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce on top, sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella over that and 1/3 of the Parmesan. Cover with lasagna noodles and repeat the layering. The last layer should only be the bechamel and cheeses. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook another 10 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes before cutting.

Bechamel sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk
salt to taste

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir into butter until incorporated. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened. Add salt to taste.

don't feed it to your pet or they may never eat again.

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