Tales From A Hungry Life

February 7, 2017

7 Things You Must Learn From Your Old Dog

by Maria Schulz

There are few things in life as wonderful as bringing a brand new puppy into your home. Puppies are adorable, funny, and curious. Even when they screw up royally by eating the kitchen cabinets or chewing a hole in your couch, you can’t stay mad at them forever.

All of that is true, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: puppies are great, but old dogs are fantastic too. It’s easy to understand why: they’ve gotten most of their bad habits out of their systems (let’s be honest: are all of your bad habits out of your system?) and over the years, you will have developed a mutual affection and understanding.

Where's the cheese?

Where’s the cheese?

As my dog has moved into her “golden years,” she has reminded me of all the ways she has been a blessing in my life. Here are some of the life lessons I’ve gleaned from watching her get through her days.

  1. When You Don’t Feel Good, Lie Down

This seems like a no brainer, but silly humans keep going sometimes instead of listening to their bodies. I am one of those humans. My dog, however, will curl up in a ball on her bed and stay there until she feels better. Who’s the smart one?

  1. When the Sun Shines and the Temperatures are Mild, Let’s Walk

Extremes are not for the old dog. High temperatures or brutal cold bother my dog, so it’s in and out in a flash. But a beautiful day demands participation. We walk for a while, taking in the sunrise or staring at the stars. It’s the best medicine in the world.

Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot

  1. Medicine goes down better when there’s cheese

Remember Mary Poppins? A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Or in my dog’s case, cheese does the trick. Don’t skip out on the very thing that will make you feel better. Find a way to tolerate it and even look forward to it.

  1. Express Joy When Your “Peeps” Come Through the Door

Maybe you can’t jump up and greet them, but you can always let them know how delighted you are to have them around. My dog wags her tail just because we’re sitting close by and watching TV. She’s never shy about letting us know that she’s happy.

You're here!

You’re here!

  1. Some Days Will Be Better Than Others

Every day won’t be a party. Arthritis, stomachaches, headaches, bad hips, or bad knees will sometimes make today a non-participatory day. But tomorrow may find that old dog bringing you her favorite hedgehog toy and playing hide and seek. Live in the moment. Be patient and understanding…just like your dog will be when your bad back leaves you stranded on the couch.

Let's play

Let’s play

  1. Greet Old Friends and Make New Ones

My dog is blessed with a bit of Marilyn Monroe beauty even now. People will stop us to say hello, pet her, and ask how she’s doing. My dog happily accepts all adoration and is delighted when there’s another dog on the other end of this admiration society. Thanks to her, I have met more people than I ever would have if I were walking alone. Sure, puppies bring scores of people to your side…but old dogs are also magnets for the very best people: those who are kind, compassionate, and want to give you and your dog a little support as you walk slowly towards home.

Let's walk

Let’s walk

  1. Every Day is The. Best. Day. Ever.

My old girl doesn’t spend her days worrying about what tomorrow may bring. She wakes up everyday and is ready to eat, walk, and head out on an adventure. She doesn’t dread the numerous vet visits; instead, she charges gleefully through the door. She is the only dog I have ever had that gets excited when I say, “want to go see Dr. D?” She still barks ferociously and protects the people and home that she loves. Every vet visit, car ride, sunrise or starry night is waiting for her, and it’s going to be AWESOME.

I’ve heard it said that people wish they could be half the person that their dog thinks they are. Well, I wish I could be half as optimistic as my old Lab. In the meantime, I’ll follow her lead and enjoy our life together right now.

Recipe: Grilled Cheese

Tomato soup and grilled cheese. A perfect marriage

Tomato soup and grilled cheese. A perfect marriage

50 of the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Nothing makes my dog shimmy and shake quite as much as the sight, smells, and sound of a grilled cheese. These recipes all look delicious and include 50 versions of this time-honored favorite, including the classic grilled cheese, bacon and tomato, pesto, Mediterranean, Gruyere with Sauerkraut, and more.

So: what have you learned from your old dog? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Thanks! I hope that today brings you your own great adventure.


August 6, 2016

This is My Idea of a Good Morning

by Maria Schulz

Everybody starts their day in a different way. Over at The Daily Post, they challenged bloggers to take a photo that says “morning” to us. Here’s one of mine.

The nearby pizzeria gets their morning delivery of Italian bread from the local bakery. You can smell the fresh bread from blocks away. There’s a coffee shop next door that’s another hot spot for the neighborhood. Freshly roasted coffee and egg sandwiches make it a delight to pass by.

My dog knows she’ll encounter some amazing smells in the morning, so she moves as fast as she can towards the stores. She is getting older now, so I know it’s a great day when she can walk all the way towards the sights, sounds, and people she’s always enjoyed seeing.

img_0010-1It’s a very good morning indeed!

Recipe: Eggs, Herbs, & Tomato Omelette

Make the morning even better with fresh organic eggs plus tomatoes and herbs picked fresh from the garden.


2 Eggs

1 tomato, chopped

Italian Parsley leaves, chopped

Basil leaves, chopped

Sage, chopped



2 tablespoons Olive oil (or Pam)

Cheese (Cheddar,mozzerella, or goat cheese, optional)

Spray Pam or add Olive Oil to heated pan. Beat the eggs and add them to the hot pan. When the eggs have begun to firm up, add the tomatoes, herbs, and cheese. After about two minutes, flip it and brown the other side. You can eat this as is or add it to a low carb wrap. You can also add broccoli or spinach if you like.

To read about how other bloggers spend their mornings (and see their photos), check out Morning at the Daily Post. Enjoy!

So, what’s your favorite way to spend the morning? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks, and have a great day.


June 11, 2014

Dog Tales

by Maria Schulz

While browsing the internet the other day, I came across an article called  “8 Wonderful Dog Stories.” I also found another article about a cat that saved “his” little boy from a dog that was attacking him.

Hero cat

Hero cat

I was astounded by the heroism of these dogs and cats, but it got me thinking…. What exactly does my dog do all day?

A Typical Work Day for My Dog

4:45 a.m.: start hitting Maria in head with toy or paw

5:00 a.m.: lay crying in hallway because you’re awake, so that means everyone else should be too

6:10 a.m.: Jump for joy when Maria finally comes out to get breakfast and open back door

6:12 a.m.: finish breakfast

6:17 a.m.: find Maria and start hitting her with paw again because she’s asleep for some reason

6:18 a.m.: lay crying in hallway

6:20 a.m.: start bleating like a sheep

6:21 a.m.: jump for joy when Maria gets up again

6:30 a.m.: park yourself next to Maria as she makes lunches. Cry often, in case she forgets to share the turkey with you.

7:15 a.m. : jump for joy as you go out for walk

7:30 a.m.: say hello to neighbor dogs, and then try your best to run away from neighbor dogs

7:45 a.m.: make sure you sniff every lamppost and hydrant

7:55 a.m.: Is today garbage day? Recycling day? The Raccoons Made a Mess Day? Oh joy, there’s food and garbage on the ground. Hooray!

8:15 a.m.: when you get home, throw up somewhere because you ate garbage off the ground

8:20 a.m.: crawl into your bed, drop from sheer exhaustion, and rest for the next 10 hours.

Where's the turkey?

Where’s the turkey?

Basically, she’s got all day to save the world. Hasn’t she heard about all those dogs that are saving seizure victims and rushing into burning buildings? Or even that cat that saves children from marauding dogs?

But what does she do? She sleeps all day, with occasional breaks to guard the house and bark incessantly, until late afternoon. Why? Because she wants to eat dinner, walk the streets, meet up with her doggie friends, and check if there’s any garbage on the ground.

I make fun of my dog a lot, but she brings a lot of joy into my life. While some days are less joyful than others thanks to her uncanny ability to wake me in the middle of the night and eat garbage off the ground, she is mostly a good girl.

We got her following the death of our old dog, Cokey. That chocolate Labrador was so smart, she could’ve balanced our checkbook if we would’ve  let her. We got Cokey when she was 6 months old, on a 103 degree day. You never saw a dog so happy to run and run and run…even in the middle of July.

Cokey waiting for us to throw the tennis ball

Cokey waiting for us to throw the tennis ball

Cokey had tons of boundless energy and she could’ve used a pot of coffee and a couple of packs of cigarettes to calm her down. To keep her happy and out of mischief, we took her for hour-long walks in the mornings and at night, bookended by stroller walks with our little kids and tons of play time in the yard chasing her beloved tennis ball.

In her prime, Cokey couldn’t wait to meet her friends at our local field, where she and her pal, Honey, enjoyed a good solid hour of running or scattering the geese on “their” field.

See how they run

See how they run

But time passed, and our dog started to slow down. She and Honey still wanted to walk up to the field to play, but then they would lay down and watch the younger crowd of dogs run for a while.

That beloved chocolate dog got a face full of salt and pepper fur, and she began to limp a lot. The hours that she slept grew and grew, until we finally had to beg her to go for a walk. Eventually, her running days ended after she tore her knee, and her boundless energy did not return. Her friend, Honey, passed away, and we suddenly realized that time was not as endless as it had once seemed for our dogs.

A true beauty

Honey. A true beauty

Eventually, Cokey left us too…and in those first horrible days after she passed, I doubted I would ever get a dog again Why? Did I need the endless worry and responsibility that comes with loving another creature? Why put myself in the path of the sadness that comes along with losing another pet? Been there, done that. Did I need to do it again?

At first, I said no. But then I realized: loving our pets made us better people. It’s helped us make new friends and gave us a glimpse of  unconditional love. It taught our children compassion, and showed them how to put another creature’s needs ahead of their own.

My first doggie hero

My first doggie hero

To quote the 80s country music star/pop crossover artist Ronnie Milsap (and how often does that happen?): “Even though I lost you girl. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Sappy, but true…and at least I didn’t quote Christoper Cross’s “between the moon and New York city” lyrics from his theme song to “Arthur.”

Two weeks to the day that Cokey went on to join Honey at that field in the sky, we brought Trixie home. Her paper name is “Maria’s Winter Sunshine,” because she made a bleak time in my life so much brighter.

The years have flown by, and my dog is now about to become a senior citizen. I see her body changing, and realize that she is starting to slow down a bit. I’ve learned to accept her changes and limitations. I understand them, because we’ve grown older together.

Let's play

Let’s play

No, she doesn’t run into burning buildings and save people from roaring fires, or warn me that I’m about to have a seizure, or even do much besides take me for a walk every day and get me out to play.

But maybe she saved me after all.


Roast Turkey

Everybody loves roast turkey

Everybody loves roast turkey

There are few things that make my dog happier than a roasted turkey. Follow this recipe for a moist, juicy bird that you (and all your pets) will enjoy.

So…what’s your dog/cat tale? Which one of your pets was your favorite? Does your pet love roasted turkey? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!