Recent studies seem to indicate dogs have a far deeper connection with their human companions than previously imagined. Dogs, can not only sense your emotions but mirror them according to the latest findings. This comes as no surprise to me. I’ve shared space with a few during my lifetime. When around ten I had a Boston terrier, Puck, such as in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Puck had one blue and one topaz eye and a fetish for toilet paper which was not to be denied. If left alone in the house with the bathroom doors open by the time you arrived home he would have liberally papered every room in the house and most likely be lying underneath a pile of tissue with only his perpetually wagging tail sticking out. A playful, good-natured soul, Puck could entertain himself for hours in pursuit of a tail he was never to catch. His one personality flaw being his over abundance of gas, keeping guests on their toes should they decide to occupy the seat next to him. Not really his fault, rather a trait of the breed. Unfortunately, several years after he came to live with me he developed leukemia and didn’t last long after his diagnosis.
Another canine didn’t come into my life again until I turned sixteen. Notably sixteen is a special birthday for teens. In honor of such a rite of passing, I was given a party befitting the occasion. In the middle of the table was a large box wrapped with a big red bow. Inside was a tiny Pomeranian puppy, who came to be named Mandy. From the beginning we were joined at the hip. Other than when I was in school Mandy could be found gazing into my eyes, lying next to me on my bed, or running excitedly alongside me wherever I went. Mandy had discerning tastes. In particular, she loathed my stepfather, and he returned the feeling in spades. Perhaps this because he wasn’t on my list of favorites and the dog sensed that. Saturday mornings when his choice of shoes was a pair of slippers she would lie in wait hidden beneath the skirts of his favorite easy chair. When he passed heading to the kitchen for his first cup of coffee, she’d take advantage of his bare ankles to grab a nip before running off to hide under my bed one slipper flying along not far behind her. Mandy lived to be eleven and then went on to bite someone else’s ankles wherever sweet little dogs go to rest their heads when they are tired. In between she shared a romantic moment with my step brothers dog, far larger than her, resulting in two pups being born by Caesarian Section costing my stepfather about $400, which definitely did not make his day.
My last little puppy arrived when my children most needed her. Their dad passed away when they were seven and eight and the small furry bundle served to take a bit of the edge off of their lives at the time. Sushi was a Shih Tzu by breed, and came with papers lining out her heritage in case we planned to breed her. We did not. As a surprise I gathered my son and daughter on a Saturday morning, and only saying it was a surprise drove to the address listed in the paper advertising six puppies for sale, three male and three female. Arriving at the location, some distance out in the country, we found a huge playpen like contraption in the front yard with mom and her six little ones playing inside. My children could barely contain themselves, and the puppies were each vying for their attention. Fur covering the wriggling little bodies head to toe, you had to bend and look closely to tell which end was which. I could have swooped up the lot and put them in the back of the car, but in the end we unanimously voted for a particularly sweet little girl who by the time we pulled the car in the garage was called Sushi. Don’t ask me why. I’m sure I named her, because the kids wouldn’t have eaten nor been familiar with Sushi in any form.
Training the little dog was a program, particularly because I worked and the children were in school. Following all directions we laid down papers in the room where she was to stay, and I came home at lunch to take her outside. At first she ate the newspaper, then using the vacant spot on the carpet as a place to relieve herself. Kitty, the resident cat at the time, lay under the adjacent chair with a perpetually disgusted look on her face. I believe if she could have raised her eyes she would have. The first month I probably cornered the market on carpet cleaner but finally Sushi seemed to get a glimmer of the idea of why the paper was there outside of entertainment.
As she matured Sushi became my constant companion, chewing the sheets as I changed the bed, or enthusiastically grabbing her leash if she detected a chance a ride in the car was coming up. I shared space with her for seventeen years. During the “construction years” of my life when we traveled all over the U.S., she rode along without complaint always making herself at home wherever we hung our hats. To me she was a friend. If I was sad her chin would rest on my knee, and if I was happy she would run in circles as though whatever made me so had happened to her. I was with her when it was time for her to go, and still sometimes after all these years I’ll get up at night and trip over a slipper and whisper, “Oops, sorry Sush”.
They are the best companions. They don’t lie, cheat, or steal and are loyal above and beyond. One of these days I’m going to invite another into my home, but for now Miss Boo has the reins and she’s got lots of love to share.
This crispy little burrito is my homage to low cholesterol and has become my choice for a morning pick me up. It is absolutely delicious without all the added fat. Lavash can be found it most markets. It is naturally low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol and has 70 calories per slice. I particularly like this brand.
Avocado Mango Salsa
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
3/4 cup chunky salsa (I used hot)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
For Each Burrito:
Preheat oven to broil
1 slice Lavash
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs (for less cholesterol used 1 egg, and 1 egg white)
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/8 cup chunky salsa
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Mexican blend cheese
Whisk together all ingredients but cheese. Melt butter in small skillet over med-high heat. Pour in egg mixture. Reduce heat to med. As mixture begins to set lift sides to allow unset egg to run underneath. Once fairly well set pour 1/2 cup of cheese down the center and fold up one side and then the other. Turn over with spatula and continue cooking on low until cheese is melted.
Brush one side of Lavash with olive oil. Cover cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place Lavash oiled side down on cookie sheet. Place cooked omelet about 2″ in from the left side of the Lavash. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Fold Lavash over like a burrito leaving seam side toward the bottom.
Place under broiler until top is crispy and browned. Serve with salsa and a dollop of sour cream if desired.