Canine Cuisine features pumpkin treats

Oh, the antioxidants!

In her continuing column, Certified Chef Diana Klein creates “Fido Fare” and “Family Fare” from many of the same ingredients, this time using canned pumpkin.

Chef Diana aims to save time and provide readers with healthful recipes for our dogs as well as for our families.

It is our experience that if you take a pocketful of these dog treats on your walks, you will make lots of canine friends.  And if you get super hungry, go ahead and share one with your dog (this has happened!)  All the ingredients are healthful.

Chef Diana at home with her dog Phoenix.

Chef Diana at home with her dog Phoenix.

Family Fare
Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 can, 14.5 oz., organic pumpkin

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl.

Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

Gradually beat wet ingredients into flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle glaze over cookies.

For glaze:

Combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl.  Blend  until smooth.

Fido Fare
Pumpkin dog treats

1 can, 14.5 oz., organic pumpkin or puree

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar free applesauce

1/4 cup nutritional yeast*

1 cup peanut butter

Mix all ingredients well in a mixing bowl. Add more flour as needed to make sure batter is not sticky (this is key.)

Separate the dough into thirds and roll out one onto floured surface.

Cut the dough using a round biscuit cutter or a knife, if you want to make squares.

Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, bake in a 225-degree oven for at least 40 minutes.  The longer you bake, the harder the treats become.

Note:  if the treats are allowed to bake longer and become hard, they store better in a plastic bag or in containers.

*Nutritional yeast is a natural flea repellent when ingested, but should not replace your flea/tick medication.

“Breathe deeply,” pet a cat


A delightful “Cats & Mats” yoga class took place recently at the Sharonville SPCA with cats joining participants for deep stretches. For a donation of $10, participants enjoyed yoga, light refreshments and “fantastic SPCA Cincinnati felines to interact with after the yoga class comes to an end,” according to organizers. “Cats are great yogis and they love to practice their moves alongside others.” Pictured on stage, from left, are Jane Minges of West Chester; yoga instructor Marta Streit of Florence, Ky.; and Jake Fisher and Taylor Bolser, both of Hamilton.



Hunks help save hounds through calendar sales

Photos courtesy of Mike Ruiz

If sex sells, then hunks can help rescue homeless hounds.

So goes the strategy behind the 2015 Hunks and Hounds calendar, for sale recently at a pet adoption event at the Sharonville Convention Center.

Amid the standard fare of leashes, pet food and electric fences for sale, the $10 calendar showcases well-oiled, bare-chested men with bulging biceps, ripped six packs and faint “come hither” smiles. All softened by the adorable shelter dogs they hold close.

Money raised from the calendar benefits Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue founded in 2009 by Cincinnatian Emily Gear, 36, who lives in Monfort Heights with her dogs Joey, Cyrus Jones, Sandusky, Louie Jr. and Herbie.

The calendar is a production of New York City celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz,, whose   celebrity clients include Kim Kardashian, Betty White, Nicki Minaj, Kate Perry and Prince, among many others featured on his website.  The rescue calendar may be purchased and donations made at

“Mike is an animal advocate in his own right,” Gear explained.  “When Millie, our volunteer, suggested a calendar collaboration, he famously responded, ‘you get the dogs; I’ll get the guys.’  Mike has been unwaveringly supportive and generous beyond measure.  Having him on our team has been a tremendous blessing.”

Gear said her journey into animal rescue was life-saving personally, as well as for homeless animals.

A 1996 graduate of McAuley High School in College Hill, Gear earned a B.A. in Studio Art at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.  After spending eight months in Russia and the Middle East, she took a position as a curator/director of a museum in Staten Island,  N.Y.  With an interest in working abroad, she had planned to enter the U.S. Foreign Service.

However, all plans changed when she was physically assaulted in New York City.  “I was living with post- traumatic stress at the time that I adopted Louie,” she explained.  “Through adopting him and working to get him healthy–he came to me with heart worm disease–it reopened a previously closed door to empathy.  It reinstated a sense of self at a time when I couldn’t do enough to make myself invisible and detach from all feelings.  I can’t stress enough what an important bridge Louie was in my life.”

The experience so moved her that she decided to return to Cincinnati where she could rescue full time.  Her dog Louie died in 2009 and Louie’s Legacy began. Gear said the rescue group saves about 1,100 animals a year locally and in surrounding states. “…We can provide to our funders a high degree of transparency that people appreciate,” she explained. “Because of how we are organized, we are able to responsibly and safely place 1,100 animals a year into heavily screened, vet and home-checked homes.”