I am beginning a new series on my blog: Paws Off The Plate!
I will feature each week a recipe alongside one dog and one cat up for adoption at the Washington Humane Society which is located in my hometown of Washington, DC (well, I'm in suburban DC, but that's close enough!).
While I recognize that most of my readers do not live in this area, I am hoping that this feature will benefit not just the specific animals I will write about here, but also help people learn about the wonderful pets that can be found for adoption in shelters across the country.
This week I am featuring Jojo, an 8-year-old cat whose person couldn't care for her anymore. The shelter describes her as "a sweet, low-maintenance kitty who has many years of love left to give to a new family!" Just look at her- how could you not fall in love with that face?
Also featured this week is is a 2-year-old female Pit Bull Terrier, Sasha, who was rescued by a WHS humane officer from a home where she was neglected and starved. Despite this, she is an affectionate dog who loves to snuggle, according to the shelter. Isn't that something--it never ceases to surprise me how resilient and forgiving dogs are!
You can see other adoptable pets, including Jojo and Sasha, at the WHS website, and at Petfinder.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that six to eight million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, and half-- half!-- are put down because they cannot find homes. Meanwhile, newspapers are full of ads from irresponsible breeders selling puppies and kittens for hundreds of dollars. If that is not one of the worst forms of animal exploitation, you tell me what it is!
People are afraid to bring home shelter animals for a variety of reasons, including a fear that they might have "gone bad" because of abusive experiences in their past, or that adult dogs or cats might find it hard to adapt to new homes. I've even heard some downright ridiculous excuses: a woman I worked with once bought a dog from a breeder because she was "too afraid to go to an animal shelter and see the sad faces of the dogs there!"
But every time someone buys from a breeder, they deprive a homeless pet of a chance to live.
Contrary to widely held myths, rescued animals rarely have problems that are insurmountable. Some training, discipline and lots of love never fail to work. And believe me, no matter how old the dog or cat you adopt is, they will give you all their love within minutes of coming home!
Keep in mind that even purebred dogs brought home as puppies, if not properly trained and socialized, will develop problems over time.
And now for the recipe part of this series. The 10 minutes in the title refers to the time it takes to put the batter together. It takes another 20 minutes or so to bake them, so they're more like 30-minute brownies. But take my word for this: they are absolutely delicious and you'll definitely find it difficult to keep your paws off them. What's more, they will still leave you with enough time to play with your pooch AND take them for a long walk! Remember not to feed the brownies to your pet, though, because chocolate, while great for you, can be deadly to them.
Beat together until fluffy:
4 tbsp no-trans-fat vegetable shortening
4 tbsp canola oil
1 cup sugar
Add and beat together until well-mixed, scraping down the sides of the pan if necessary:
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Add and mix with a spatula:
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup pecan halves (you can chop them if you prefer them in smaller chunks)
The batter will be stiff, but that's okay. Spread it evenly in a greased square 8-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Remove to a rack and let cool at least 10-15 minutes before cutting in.