Wanted: Irreplaceable Companion
Pooch with the following qualifications that will take care of a 60-year-old retiree who is pending a hip replacement, loves golf, revels in boating, dominates in croquet, likes to break things, fix them and break them again. And, repeat. Makes a mean guacamole.
- Beloved dog must not shed.
- Must love labradoodles with middle child syndrome named after Bea Arthur of the Golden Girls and Wilsons with six toes (not sure his lineage, we speculate a coyote/wolf/raccoon/antelope/toad/spaniel got together and bred this one-of-a-kind canine).
- Must be a black, 50-pound, female standard poodle with a little white beard. Women can have beards, too. Check out the circus. Beards are so hot right now.
- Must have hankerings for feminine hygiene products.
- Must be able to jump on beds to cuddle with all owners.*
*Owners include 60-year-old man, daughters, son-in-law, son, son’s fiance, house guests, etc.
- Must bark at doorbell, runners, birds, squirrels, thugs, its own shadow, etc.
- Must growl upon uttering the word ‘kitty’.
- Must wag non-existent nub of a tail upon meeting anyone. Instant friendship.
- Must speak and play ‘drunk and disorderly’ on command.
- Must nudge its head directly underneath your hand to be petted. Understands the therapeutic power of petting both for the owner and canine. Reciprocation at its finest.
- Must gnaw on 10-year-old, moldy, destroyed rope toy repeatedly.
- Must chew toilet paper unnecessarily.
- Must enjoy swimming in master’s pool. By swimming, we mean lounging on a float.
- Must be fascinated with riding in the car and must poop after a 30-second car ride around the driveway.
- Must perch at the end of the driveway to wait for the electric collar to be removed before crossing.
- Must not urinate on owner’s grass*, only in wooded/mulch areas or neighbors’ lawns.
*Exceptions are permitted when owner’s middle daughter walks the dog and purposely lets dog pee on master’s grass, laughing in the meantime.
- Must understand that the youngest daughter signed a contract to walk her every day and lied about it. Must love her for it.
- Must greet neighborhood friends during daily morning walk – Molly the Labrador; Freckles the retriever mix; Prince and Charles, the 200-lb. Great Pyrenees duo; Graham Cracker, Hershey and Marshmallow, the labrador/labradoodle S’more trio, etc.
- Must boat with Outward Hound life jacket and like it.
- Must flap ears in the wind while boating.
- Must eat popcorn … and lots of it.
- Must stand by the family in times of hardship.
- Must love, unconditionally.
- Must respond to the name, Mimi.
We will miss you, Mimi! Rest in peace you endearing, sweet puppy dog. You were a great companion, loving friend and valued family member.
Now let’s indulge in some comfort risotto at the loss of our confidant.
Hot Italian Sausage and Mushroom Risotto
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled into ½-inch pieces
- 8 ounces mini bella mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out, caps diced
- 3.5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, diced
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 cup of white wine
- 6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (approx. 1 quart)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup Italian cheese blend
Heat one tablespoon of oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add all mushrooms, thyme, and oregano and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Add ½ cup white wine; boil until almost absorbed, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Melt butter and second tablespoon of olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, scallion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 2 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of wine; simmer until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup stock; simmer until almost absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more stock by ½ cupfuls, stirring often and allowing most stock to be absorbed before adding more, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in sausage mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese. Transfer to serving bowl.