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It's been four years since we said goodbye to our buddy, Scout, (aka Scooter-booter, Bubba, Boo, Smunchy Munchy Pants, and many more) after a cruel but swift bout of bone cancer.

Our first baby prepared us in so many ways for the two-legged children who now race the halls where he once jingled and pranced, from his delicate constitution and frequent bellyaches, to waking us up at the crack of dawn demanding breakfast, and taking over our bed at night by poking his elbows into our backs. He and our cat, O.C., were dear friends from the beginning, and O.C. missed his best bud right up to the day he passed away this spring. 
 
Since O.C. died a few months ago, Roo's allergist put us on strict orders to remain pet-free for the foreseeable future. That seems particularly unfair - the kid who can't eat a cupcake at a birthday party or go out for breakfast can't have a dog either? What's next? Grass allergy? No more playing outside? It's supposed to be rhetorical. Please don't answer that.
So, missing our dear departed fur babies and filled with futile longing for a new four-legged friend (or two), imagine our delight when we were asked to dog-sit this week for our best dog pal, Cali!
Cali is every kid's dream dog. She is smart, agile, active, obedient, big enough to roughhouse but not big enough to break bones in the process. She runs a mean agility course, fetches balls and frisbees like a champ, and just in case you think she might be a little too cool for school, she also cries like a baby when there's thunder. Just like Bean.
We relished Cali's visit the best way we know how, with homemade dog treats.
Apple Chicken Oat Cookies for Dogs
2 apples, peeled and grated
1/4 cup honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup apple juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well-mixed. The dough will be sticky. 
2. Roll the dough into balls (choose the size based on how big your dog is. We made medium sized treats for Cali and some tiny ones for the little dog next door). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press each ball with the palm of your hand to flatten.You might need to dip your hands in flour since the dough is so sticky. Just do your best, dogs aren't picky about presentation.
3. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, flip the cookies and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Smaller treats will cook more quickly so keep an eye on the oven. Remove from oven when the treats are crisp and golden brown. Cool completely and share with your furriest friends. 
Cali likes them!

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