Rachel Hunter’s Dog Treats for Rollo
The pandemonium grew worse. There were bangs from two or three pistols, and Rollo dropped writhing to the ground with a yelp. Colonel Martin jerked back, cursing and clutching his injured wrist, and Jamie drew back and punched him in the belly. Ian was already rushing toward Rollo; Jamie grabbed the dog by two legs, and, between them, they made off into the darkness, followed my Rachel and me.
We made it to the edge of the wood, heaving and gasping, and I fell at once to my knees beside Rollo, feeling frantically over the huge shaggy body, hunting for the wound, for damage.
“He’s not dead,” I panted. “Shoulder…broken.”
“Oh, God,” Ian said, and I felt him turn to glance in the direction from which pursuit was surely headed. “Oh, Jesus.” I heard the tears in his voice, and he reached to his belt for his knife.
“What are you doing?” I exclaimed. “He can be healed!”
“They’ll kill him,” he said, savage. “If I’m no there to stop them, they’ll kill him! Better I do it.”
“I –” Jamie began, but Rachel Hunter forestalled him, falling to her knees and grabbing Rollo by the scruff.
“I’ll mind thy dog for thee,” she said, breathless but certain. “Run!”
He took one last despairing look at her, then at Rollo. And he ran.
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone, Chap 68
OK — Koda’s no Rollo — at 25lbs, he probably doesn’t have a lot of wolf in him. But he could pass for a red fox, especially chasing birds through the tall grass in the early morning. And while I didn’t win him at dice, he did come into our lives fully grown after a well-timed trip to the SPCA. He’s smart as a whip, a bit of an independent wanderer and, I think you’ll agree, a handsome beast, no?
As for Rachel and Rollo, they spent the fall, winter and some of the next spring holed up together waiting for Ian to return. That means that they spent Christmas together. And just because, as a Quaker, Rachel most likely didn’t observe December 25th as anything other than a regular day, that doesn’t mean that I can’t use this scene as a tenuous segue to suggest these healthy snacks as a holiday treat for the Rollo in YOUR life.
(click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe)
Blanched sweet potatoes or yams, wrapped with thinly pounded bits of meat then smoked/dehydrated until leathery. If they HAD made dog treats in the 18th Century, they would’ve looked something like this.
- Sweet Potatoes or Yams
- Meat (chicken/turkey thighs, beef/venison outside round, etc.)
Wash and scrub clean the sweet potatoes or yams. Cut into french-fry like sticks, about ½”x½”x2” for smaller dogs and up to 1”x1”x5” for large beasts. Blanch these sticks in boiling salted water until just fork tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and shock in ice water. Drain, then dry on paper towels.
Pound the meat between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap until paper thin. Cut into ½” wide strips.
Wrap the meat strips around the potato sticks, wrapping the ends in to keep things neat. Place on smoker or dehydrator racks.
To smoke, place the racks in the fridge and air-dry for about 4 hours. Set the racks in your smoker and smoke for 90 minutes at 150° F, then continue to dry at the same temperature until leathery, approx. 7 more hours.
To dehydrate, set the racks in the unit and dry at 150° F until leathery, about 8-10 hours.
These will keep in the refrigerator for about a month. Dispense at leisure.
- I used 2 med sized sweet potatoes and 3 smallish chicken thighs (total cost $3), and about 45 minutes of active work, to make enough treats to last Koda a month. Three bags of similar store-bought treats cost about $20 and last the same amount of time.
- No smoker nor dehydrator? No problem! Dry them in your oven at 150 F. If you stick the handle of a wooden spoon in the door as you close it, the resulting air flow will probably help them dry more efficiently…