Friday, December 9, 2011

Critter People are Crazy People

Sweet & Spicy Pecans

1 large egg white
2 cups unsalted pecan halves
2 cups unsalted roasted cashews
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until foamy. Add the nuts, sugar, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix well. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are mostly dry but still slightly sticky, about 40 minutes.

Remove the nuts from the oven and stir. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees F. Return the nuts to the oven and bake until crisp, about 30 more minutes. Stir to loosen the nuts from the baking sheet; cool completely on the sheet.

So...speaking of 'nuts',  today I present Lady J and her perspective on Critter People.

I was trying to decide what to write and I thought I would give you a little more info about me... I know, just what you were waiting for!

First, I had better admit that I am a Critter Person, my family are Critter People, my friends are Critter People; pretty much everyone I know is a Critter Person.  We have always had dogs and the odd cat (or several odd cats) when I was growing up.  My mom loved Westies and we had several of those little white monsters, we also had a huge German Shepard named Comanche and a Scottie named Paddy (after Paddington the Bear).

I truly believe that if you don’t like animals then you are not to be trusted.  I don’t mean that if you don’t own any you can’t be trusted... but if you don’t at least like animals then there is something just a little bit off about you.  If you’re not a critter person you may not be interested in my search for the perfect family member...

When I bought my first house 13 years ago I knew that I could finally get my first dog.  I ended up bringing home a 1 year old female Westie named Katie, she was followed a year later by my first Scottie named Brinna (SanDen’s Lady Brinna) and then my male Scottie named Percy (SanDen’s Sir Percival the Black).  I had that little pack of 3 for many years until I lost Katie at the age of 11 to cancer (two weeks after I lost my mom, how’s that for timing), then in April of this year I lost Brin very suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 9.  Percy went from being the baby of the family to being an only child and neither of us seemed to like it much.  The search was on for a new addition.

Attempt #1... I contacted a great Scottie breeder in Calgary who had a 10 month old male who she had kept to show but he had grown a bit too big, it didn’t take much convincing for me to take him home and give it a go... disaster.  He was a beautiful and gentle boy and Percy HATED him, they had a huge fight after about three weeks and I ended up with a bite almost through my thumb when I tried to separate them.  I don’t know who bit me and I know that it wasn’t on purpose but it bled like a bugger and my family room looked like a crime scene... blood on the floor, blood on the shutters, the full CSI police taped scene.  After a trip to the clinic I ended up on antibiotics and painkillers.  Poor Bhodi had to go back to the breeder but he now has a fabulous home in Arizona!

Attempt #2... the Westie breeder where I got Katie from had a year old female who was too small to meet the breed standard and she wanted to find her a good home.  I took Percy up to meet her and they seemed fine, she was shaking when I was holding her but the dogs seemed okay in the backyard.  As soon as I got her home she turned into Cujo, she absolutely loved me but she was 12 pounds of white fury directed at Percy.  He’s not much of a fighter and he wouldn’t even come in when it was raining because she would attack him.  I called the breeder the next morning and she went back less than 24 hours after she arrived.  I should explain that Percy is epileptic and I didn’t want him to be stressed and have a seizure.

Attempt #3... after a few weeks had passed I was on-line looking up breeders and breeds and I came across a listing for Cesky Terrier.  Cesky Terrier... what the hell is that???  I’ve been a terrier girl for most of my life and I’d never heard of them so I googled some images and fell in love, so cute!  I read all about them and thought this could be a great match for Sir Percival and me.  Unfortunately I also found out that they are one of the rarest breeds in North America.  I looked at some breeders in the US and most of the sites said that puppies were spoken for before they were even conceived... this was going to be more difficult than I thought.

I found a breeder in Canada (Ontario) called ZalataPraha Terriers and sent her an e-mail with my story and pictures of my dogs and some info about me, she sent me a reply that she would be home the next day and to give her a call.  We talked for about 2 hours and she, very subtly, grilled me like a cheeseburger!  At the end of the call she said that she had kept 3 females from her last litter to let them grow up a bit before she decided which one she was going to keep for showing and breeding.  She had just decided which one she was going to keep and she thought I would be an excellent home for one of the other two, I had just totally jumped the queue!  Two weeks later Miss Isabella arrived via WestJet and fit in perfectly, Percy loved her, I loved her and she loved us!  My little family was complete again.
I can’t imagine not having dogs, I’m single and they are my family... I’m not a crazy dog lady, I don’t dress them up, wheel them around in a stroller or tote them around in my purse.  I just love them and they are part of my family. 

So, for all of you critter folks here is my furry family album.  If you have pictures you’d like to share of your furry friends please send them to me at

Katie – Crossed the Rainbow Bridge Dec. 8, 2009

Brin – Crossed the Rainbow Bridge April 9, 2011