Go directly to recipe
I just heard our pointy-nose, German dog struggle up the stairs. Time to come up and nap in the warm office. She has arthritis in her back hips and, on these damp days, the stairs are a challenge.
Six years ago her vet in Andorra told us she shouldn't be allowed to go up stairs and that we had to stop taking her for walks in the mountains. We thought about it….and decided it would be kinder to just have her put down and be done with it.
Sedi loved her mountain walks. As soon as she saw the backpacks she started to spin in circles in excitement. After the first few walks we had to carry her into the house and she slept for 2 days straight, but she eventually got in shape…as did we humans.
Of course she walked further than we did. I was normally in the lead, which meant that she had to be in front of me. Mon mari was normally in the back, which meant that she had to constantly run back and check on him. She is a shepherd, after all and it was hard work keeping our group together!
That's when I learned that dogs can't always go where humans can. Oh I knew they couldn't go up ladders (that old 'lack of opposable thumb' bit) but I assumed they'd be able to navigate mountains and streams.
Dogs can't climb. On one walk we had to cross a large section of boulders about the size of cars. Sedi couldn't do it, even with help. She tried to follow me; oh how she tried. Front paws just don't have the gripping power of arms. Mon mari finally had to put her on a lead and take her back down.
Poor thing. He had to spend the rest of the morning sitting on a terrace at a mountain-side cafe, drinking coffee and reading; Sedi napping in the sun!
Dogs can't hop. Crossing streams normally wasn't a problem. While we humans hopped from rock to rock to get across and keep our feet dry, Sedi just waded through. But on one fine spring walk the rocks we were hopping across had an icy, cold, snow-melt lake on one side and a waterfall on the other.
No place for a dog to walk. Where a human can stand on one leg while trying to figure out where to step next, a dog can't. Try picturing a dog with 3 paws on a rock the size of a teacup…
We had to get her across. We couldn't really go back the way we had come – going up was fine but it was too slippery to go down. (Another thing I learned walking in the mountains: going up is hard; going down is scary!)
I was on the opposite bank coaxing and poor Sedi was spinning and barking; afraid to go in the swirling water. Finally all of the humans lined up on the rocks, got secure footing, and mon mari shoved her in the water. Grabbing onto her collar and forcing her to swim, the humans handed her off to each other until she reached the other side, holding on so she wouldn't get loose and/or go over the waterfall. She thought it was great fun!
And the vet thought we should make her stay home….that would have been mean!
Our mountain walks were usually interesting; sometimes challenging, sometimes not; sometimes short (3 hours) sometimes not (6 hours). One thing remained a constant: whatever we had for dinner that night was always fantastic! The best meal of the week! Fresh air, exercise and hunger can do that!
This week we are in the midst of another Cabbage Commitment. More recipes to follow, but to start, for Presto Pasta Nights, founded and hosted by the clever Ruth, of Once Upon A Feast, I have one of our long-time favorite winter pasta dishes. The origins are lost in the mists of time….
Pasta with Cabbage, Sage and Sausage
8 – 10 oz sausages, pork, turkey…
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 tbs dried sage
or 15 – 18 fresh sage leaves
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs olive oil
1 can whole tomatoes, 15 oz (450 gr)
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cup pasta – penne, rigatoni, fusilli
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Chop onion and garlic. Shred cabbage. Roughly chop tomatoes – reserving all juice. Slice sausages into 1/2" (1.25cm) pieces. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add paprika and sauté 1 minute. Add onion, garlic and cabbage and sauté 10 minutes or until starting to get tender. Add sausage and sage and sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, turn heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until cabbage is done. Stir in vinegar. Add pasta. Toss to mix well and serve.
(Isn't that a gorgeous bowl? Chris, of Mele Cotte surprised me with a marvelous package of goodies… and this beautiful dish. Mille merci, encore, Chris)
Emma (big white dog on a diet) is also regretting the lack of an opposable thumb. She knows where the dog food is stored, right next to her dish, actually. She watches me unlatch it every night. She watches me latch it. She cries….