For the serious Dog Lover – The Barktender’s Guide to Dogtails and PupCakes!

Barktenders_guide_low_res  Sometimes, as an author, I run across new and interesting books.  While this is off the business track – at least in content – if you’re a dog lover you’ll have to love this new approach to pampering man’s best friend.  The Barktenders Guide is an amazing book for the pampered dog.  Here’s the link to the website:

I had the opportunity to interview the author and I think you’ll like what you find!

  • What a creative idea – The BARKtender’s Guide.  Where do you come up with the idea?

It was cocktail hour in the Dodwell household and Vinny, my miniature poodle, was looking earnestly at the martinis I was fixing so I had an idea to create something for him. I poured homemade chicken broth into a cocktail glass, garnished it with a jerky strip, sat Vinny at the bar, snapped a picture and called the drink a Dirty Muttini.

My thought was to use the picture on facebook to help promote a cocktail recipe book I’d just published but I was surprised when people started asking for the recipe and wanting to know if I had other doggy cocktails to share, and so the idea was born. The BARKtender’s Guide name came to me in a flash of genius (OK, so I’m not humble). It’s a take on Bartenders Guide, the original guide to mixed drinks by Jerry Thomas in 1862.

  • Accepting you are a dog lover, how did you connect with the idea of cooking for your dog?

before_and_afterThroughout my life I’ve been involved in pet rescue and my critter family has always been made up of those that were too damaged, emotionally or physically, to adopt out. Sometimes, those physical issues relate to the digestive system and special diets are required that can’t easily be satisfied with commercial products, so home-prepared meals are a necessity.

Right now my pit bull mix, Angel, is on a gluten-free and very low fat diet because of severe allergies and bouts of pancreatitis. It’s very difficult to find quality commercial foods that fit her needs and almost impossible to get treats. With the Pupcake and Dogtail recipes I’ve created, Angel is able to have something special once in a while.

  • So…share with my readers two of your favorite recipes.

angels_kiss_ss_kThe most popular dogtail seems to be the Angel’s Kiss. (Yes, named for Angel, of course).

What you need:

  •  ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • ¼ tsp alcohol-free vanilla
  • 1 tsp 100% pure peanut butter, room temperature
  • ½ tsp carob powder
  • 1 tsp rice syrup
  • 1 large ripe strawberry

What to do:

  • combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake very vigorously, adding a little water if it’s too stiff
  • add a few ice cubes and shake again ’til your hands begin to freeze*
  • pour into your favorite barktini bowl
  • slit the strawberry and hang it on the side of the bowl for garnish

*not all dogs like cold drinks, so it’s OK to skip the ice

pupcake_selection For a pupcake, here’s the recipe for Tres Licks Pupcakes.

What you need:

  •  1 cup whole wheat flour (substitute for gluten free flour, if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 lg egg
  • ¼ cup fine chopped apple
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese

What to do:

  •  preheat the oven to 350 F and prep a muffin pan by lining it with baking cups
  • in a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients
  • add the yogurt, oil, molasses and egg
  • blend all the ingredients together thoroughly
  • gradually stir in the apple, carrot and ¼ cup of cheese
  • drop the mixture into the baking cups
  • bake for 15 minutes then remove and quickly sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of grated cheddar on top of each pupcake
  • return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a pupcake comes out clean
  • let sit for 2 or 3 minutes then move to a cooling rack

Yields 10 pupcakes

You will find a few more recipes on our BARKtender’s Guide website.

  •  When making the Dogtails or Pupcakes as you call them, are there differences in what you should make for your dog vs people food?

As far as ingredients go, everything is human grade with the possible exception of the Dog Day Afternoon, which includes wet and dry dog food (depends on the quality you use). I must tell you, however, that I have sampled every single one of the recipes and while many of them taste bloody awful to the human palate, I was absolutely fine.

There are a number of foods that are dangerous to dogs and should never be used. Most people know about chocolate, grapes and onions, but a comprehensive list is included in The BARKtender’s Guide.

  • So share…how do you know that your dog likes this special food attention?

My dogs are not allowed in the kitchen unless invited, but somehow they know when I’m making their treats and I can’t keep them out. They were taste-testers, along with several of their friends, for the recipes in the book and all the pooches would get so excited when it came time for sampling. It was really tremendous fun for me, too.

  •  Since a portion of the proceeds go to help less fortunate dogs – share a bit about your sharing?

My husband and I have set up a fund so that a portion of book sales proceeds is set aside for pet rescue. However, selling one book at a time is a slow process so I’m looking to align with appropriate partners to accelerate the fund-raising and awareness of their needs. There are so many great non-profits out there like Ahimsa House, which provides emergency pet safehousing for victims of domestic abuse. Or Puppies Behind Bars, where prisoners raise service dogs for wounded veterans and for work in explosive detection with law enforcement.

I also speak about rescue, amongst other dog-related topics.

  • A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of The Barktender’s Guide?

1. The book itself is a fun spoof on the cocktail and cupcake culture, yet provides nutritious, delicious and easy to make treats for your dog – all served with a liberal dash of humor.

2. Despite its light-hearted approach, the book is part of a serious effort to raise funds and awareness for animals in need.

Here’s the link to buy the book:


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