Yes, you guessed right, the time has come for our fist pet friendly article! How come? We want the sweet things in life to come first! And what can be sweeter than a pet?
We will dedicate our first pet friendly article to our best friends, animals. We will learn about the benefits of having pets at home from the evolutionary psychologist Magda Daskalaki and we will share our personal story, along with a surprise recipe, healthy biscuits for dogs and humans!
This is Champi! He was Giorgos family’s best friend. He was a true champion, as he spent his whole life taking care of them. Giorgos found him in the winter of 1999, in an alley near his house, covered in mud. He was a mix of Pit Bull and Labrador, just one month old. The love and faith he gave back to Giorgos and his family for saving him from the street was a thousand times bigger until the end…
And this is Odysseus! He is one of our best friends today, a loyal companion of our friend Giannis. We visit him often to play and bring little gifts and treats. He is the happiest and most playful Cocker we know! In spite of being ten years old, he is as willing to play and hug as when he was a puppy. With Giannis they make an inseparable twin, as except for taking walks, they have the habit of laying and watching TV together, cooking shows and other…
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.Milan Kundera, writer
After introducing our best friends, we would like to speak a bit theoretically about the value of having a pet for company, for both persons and families. To help us with this, we spoke with a great evolutionary psychologist, collaborator of well known TV shows and friend of ours, Ms. Magda Daskalaki. We asked her to write down our discussion and she sent us a letter that we will post exactly as received with great joy! In between her words we will insert some photos of ours of other friends we made during our trips, to honour them too!
Us and them together!!!
When I met with Eliza and Giorgos of the special Eat Dessert First, at the last evening of February, I noted in person their enthusiasm for good work at their website, this aspiring and at the same time so accessible and familiar creation. With research, creativity, study and interaction with people that have something to say, institutions, organisations, scientists as well as with the promotion of places via their gastronomy and products, they have “put” us into their sweet world! Their dedication to that is combined and connected with actions, interactions and cooperations that will always lead to the objectively “good“!
One of the subjects of our evening was our mutual experience of living or having lived with a pet. And so the idea came up for me to talk, as a psychologist, about the positive effect of our animal friends on our psychology and not only, when living with them and them living with us!
The following will be useful to those who haven’t yet had the lack to have lived with a pet at home or those having the intention of undertaking the care of a pet. To us who are already lucky to have a pet at home, they may seem much less than what a person experiences when living with a pet! As with all the important relationships in our lives, an “analysis” of the relationship with a pet cannot describe its splendor!
Some of the benefits of living with a pet at home is that:
A. It helps reducing feelings of depression, as pets offer companionship to lonely people, that helps “erasing” feelings of melancholy owed to the lack of other relationships. The person gets activated in activities concerning pet care, which acts as a healing motive. The animals’ playfulness and energy create a light, pleasant atmosphere that entices people to play with them.
B. Helps reducing anxiety, as pet care offers relaxation, by transfering the person’s attention so that he stops thinking about his problems for a while and lets off steam. Studies have shown that contact with animals reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
C. It is the best relationship a child can have, as except for the cheerfulness animals offer, children become responsible and develop their empathy thanks to cooperation, joy, love and accident avoidance. Any competitiveness and insecurity that inevitably comes with the interaction with others goes away and their confidence becomes stronger. Especially for children with some issues, such as Attention Disorder or Αutism, it has been proven that owning a suitable pet, depending on its characteristics and the case, acts if not therapeutically, at least as a support for the children, as improvement manifests in many levels.
D. Helps improving a person’s personality, as he obtains or strengthens the feeling of responsibility for his pet’s needs he must take care of and therefore feelings of nurture become stronger. In the difficult time of loss, a person goes through this hard feeling that however familiarises us with idea of death. Also, pet care can become a pre-stage for getting ready for the coming of a baby. An animal shows us the grandeur of nature and brings us close to nature, with all the beneficial effects on the person this entails.
An animal’s attitude mirrors the personality of the person taking care of it. The way someone choses to treat his pet is a personal decision and is related to how someone perceives his power on the animal that totally depends on him.
Τhe animal itself is a source of inspiration for life itself. Depending on its characteristics, it shows us the value of devotion, unlimited faith, proven empathy, total attunement with the state of health, psychology and spacial conditions of the person taking care of it, independence and feeling “protector” and guardian of the house.
D. It offers love! When people interact with their dogs, the levels of oxytocin, the love hormone that is released during hugging, orgasm and after childbirth, get higher both in animals and humans.
The above are only some of the grandiose things that taking care of a pet brings.
However, as taking care of a pet goes hand in hand with responsibility, whoever decides to take up that responsibility has to be conscious of that. One has to be able to incorpore the pet’s needs into his everyday life. He has to have calculated the cost of pet care. And of course the animal has to be an equal part of the family, with total respect to its existence and needs. What is for sure is that in many cases our pet will prove to be superior of us, with its love and devotion.
If I am allowed, I would like to close this text by dedicating it to my Moka, my “sister”, who with her grandiosity is my inspiration, my energy, my comfort, my revived childhood, my link to nature’s infinity! I like myself when I am with her because she always makes me better!!!
I warmly thank Eat Dessert First and its great team for the chance to communicate such a wonderful subject! Let’s become better by offering to any animal in our planet that needs us!
Magda Daskalaki, Evolutionary Psychologist
As remorseless dessert lovers, we also want to say that except for the infinite love and all that it entails, animals also offer a strong motive for physical exercise. They make us get off our couches, physically and psychologically, to fulfill their needs. Especially dogs that make us get up several times in the day for their walks, they oblige us to do our exercise too. This way we can eat our sweets with less remorse!
To reward them, we came up with a recipe for biscuits that dogs and humans can enjoy together! Healthy for both, our biscuits are prepared with peanut butter, apple and carrot and of course lots of love for our loyal friends. And they are fasting too! If you feel naughty and want to enjoy them sweeter, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of yours.
H συνταγή μας
Biscuits for dogs and not only
Ingredients for dog biscuits
|Peanut butter||0,5 cup|
|Carrot||2 small ones|
|Flour (better wholemeal)||2 cups or as much as it takes|
|Honey||1 or 2 tbs|
How to make the dog biscuits
This is the easiest biscuit recipe! Peel and process the apple and carrots in the blender, mix them with peanut butter and honey, add flour and that’s it! The flour quantity depends on the apple’s and carrots’ size and the humidity the mixture will have, but count in that you will add some flour during rolling.
When the mixture becomes a firm dough, roll it with a rolling pin, about 0,5 centimeter thick, and cut shapes with cookie cutters. As we didn’t have a bone-shaped one, we drew the shape on cardboard and used it as a guide for cutting our biscuits with a knife. Attention though, it is best that the cardboard has a glossy texture so that the dough doesn’t stick to it! Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 175°C. As soon as they gain a nice colour they will be ready!
Speaking of all that, do you know the history of bone-shaped dog biscuits? We bet no, we on our part didn’t know it! In a New York Times’ article we read that we owe them to the dog of a chemist and its whims…
Dog biscuits were first made in 1860 and their shape was rectangular. At the time the idea of dog food didn’t exist, they would simply eat the leftovers from their owners’ dinners. However, American electrician James Spratt observed dogs eating dry biscuits sailors would eat during their travels and got the inspiration for the Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes with vegetables, wheat, beetroot and meat, and it worked! By the end of the 19th century he had made dog biscuits a trend, especially for dogs going to competitions, although they were quite expensive.
In 1907 the chemist and inventor of margarine -amongst many others- Carleton Ellis received an “urgent” order… to come up with a solution for the owner of a slaughterhouse for the excess milk he had left. He thought of mixing it with malt, cereals and other ingredients in order to make biscuits for his dog. But his dog would refuse to try them. The chemist thought that maybe it was their round shape’s fault, as there was no way for his furry friend not to like the ingredients. So, he made biscuits in the shape of a bone and his dog loved them! Ellis sold his patent to Bennet Biscuit Company which launched them with great success in 1908. Later the company got bought out by National Biscuit Company and by 1940 Milk-Bone biscuits had become very popular.
After World War II dog biscuits evolved gradually from basic food to dessert, something that has unfortunately led to high percentages of dog obesity. Here we must say that, as with all sweets, it is important to enjoy them in moderation!
We hope that the short, sweet stories of our beloved friends we shared will encourage someone to let a pet into his life too. Our proposal is for anyone wanting to get a pet to adopt it from an animal welfare organisation or take in an animal he may find on the street. The love, faith and gratitude the animals will give back will last for a lifetime, they will never forget that! And of course, you will have done a good, sweet deed, one of those we like so much!
This article is dedicated to Champi, who got rescued from the street as a puppy and lived for sixteen years like a king…
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