On Popsicles and Pooches

Coffee Cardamon pops  (1 of 3)

If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen that I’ve been so proud of my little boy this week.  After tearing a ligament in his knee and hobbling around pathetically for a week, I finally took the leap and operated.  We anaesthetised him, all 7.8 kg of cuteness.  We stuck a needle into his little spine to deliver epidural pain relief.  He had an entire team at his disposal.  An anaesthetist, a surgeon, a vet student, two nurses and two trainee nurses.  Many many two-leggeds for one tiny little nugget of a 4-legged.  Then he was all draped up and for a little while I could forget that it was my precious little fur-child I was doing major surgery on.  This helped as it had been all I could do not to curl up in a ball of nervousness leading up to the event.

Coffee Cardamon pops  (3 of 3)

Thankfully it all went according to plan and before I knew it I was packing a sleepy and sore bundle of fur into my car alongside his drip pump and medications.  Two days on, he is vehemently disagreeing with the post-operative plan to keep him confined and is demanding in true small dog style to be given access to the rest of the house.  He is using a well prepared arsenal of woeful looks, sad tail wags and softly incessant whimpers which even I as a veterinary professional am struggling to ignore.

But ignore we shall as the little body with the chubby little knee needs to heal.  And if Cookie can withstand and recover from major surgery as an eleven  year old pooch, I’d better do my part to ensure that his recovery is as smooth as possible.

Coffee cardamom pops (1 of 1)

All this has nothing to do with popsicles.  However I am a firm believer that coffee and popsicles are enough reason to indulge in coffee and popsicles.  These have a good caffeine buzz, with fragrant cardamom providing an extra jolt.  Sweetened with rice syrup, they are almost toffee like, the warm flavours complementing the freeze.  A grown-up popsicle, if you will.

Coffee Cardamon pops  (2 of 3)

Coffee, Cardamom & Yoghurt Popsicles

Makes 6

Get:

1/3 cup strongly brewed coffee
6 cardamom pods
1 cup full-fat Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup honey or rice syrup

Special Equipment:

Popsicle moulds
Freezer

Make:

Use a mortar and pestle to crush the whole cardamom pods until they break open and the seeds are roughly powdered.  Place the seeds and pods in the coffee and set aside for 30 minutes to infuse.  Once infused, pass the mixture through a strainer and discard the cardamom.

In a large bowl, whisk the yoghurt with the syrup or honey and cardamom infused coffee to form a smooth mixture.  Fill the popsicle moulds, insert popsicle sticks and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.

To serve, dip the popsicle moulds in hot water to make it easier to lift out the popsicles.

cookie (1 of 1)

On the Importance of the Fur-Child

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Our family pooch Cookie is a nuggetty little Jack Russell Terrier crossed with God-knows-what.  He is undeniably socially inept when it comes to others of his kind.  His stumpy front legs turn outwards and he is afflicted by skin allergies to silly things like grass, that see him determinedly licking his paws at any given opportunity.

Cookie Fishing

He is deeply offended by the advances of other four-legged beings and has been known to hold a grudge beyond what is decent and reasonable.  He is intensely dedicated to playing fetch but is appalled at the fact that when on a beach, he is expected to swim (swim!) into the water in order to retrieve the ball.  Yes, if Cookie were a person, he’d be a Forrest Gump of sorts; a creature that is utterly endearing in his inability to ever reach the top of the food chain.

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But just like many a fur-child around the world, ours brightens our household like no human could.   The flavour that pets add to our lives can only truly be understood by those that have shared their lives with one that is furred, feathered or scaled.

I’m not talking about the obvious heroes- the guide dogs, the search and rescue dogs or those incredible pooches who detect seizures in their epileptic owners before they even occur.  I’m referring to those everyday creatures, without special training or powers.  The ones who make a terrible racket every time the doorbell rings and ‘help’ you with your gardening on weekends.  Those that wake you up by stationing themselves purring on your chest every morning.  That one that is right this moment snoring on your ottoman, chasing butterflies in his sleep.

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A woman once shared with me that it was her four little fluff-balls who saved her from depression when she was battling breast cancer. That while it was her oncologist, her surgeon and her nurses who saved her body, it was her canine family that saved her sanity.

Another tale that I will never forget was a man’s very personal story, in which his Springer Spaniel was single-handedly (pawedly?) responsible for reuniting him with his estranged wife.  And let us not forget those creatures who keep our senior citizens company when no-one else will.

Cambodia Dog

Our pets add sparkle to our lives that we would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.  For many, they are all that wait for them when they come home each evening.  They make us laugh and remind us to look outside ourselves, even at times when that seems impossible.  For those of us without kids, they give us something to be responsible for other than ourselves.

At the very least, if they are anything like Cookie, our fur-children provide intensive cuddles, free entertainment and a reason to get outside and throw a ball again…..and again…..and again.

Happy Vet Nurses day Friday the 11th of October!
Cookie Chinaman

Click the Month: May 2013

Sydney seems to have turned into a refrigerator of sorts this month.  The cold seems to seep in right to the bones and the sun calls it a day by 5 pm.  We have been lucky to dodge winter through most of April but it seems it’s time to embrace the fact that the chilly season is well and truly here.  Gloriously sunny days make everything better though and we still have a good supply of those.  And then there have been the mornings where we have woken up to an eerie fog that blankets the city, an almost solid mist that one has to squint to see through.

So I have for you some shots I took during our Mothers’ Day Picnic.  Clear skies, a dog-friendly beach and a delicious homemade focaccia (my first attempt!) made the day complete.

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Oh my God I CAN swim!!
Oh my God I CAN swim!!

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All this frolicking about on the beach and chasing after tennis balls is positively exhausting!

Aaaaannndddd it’s almost June!