A Meal for the Birthday Dog (Julep’s First Birthday!)

April 2014

“Buy me a dog, or else!”

My extensive dog book collection and obsessive 101 Dalmatians watching culminated in threatening notes taped to my parents’ bedroom walls. Fortunately, my parents did not have me committed. Unfortunately, I did receive a stern reprimand explaining threats are not the means to achieving a goal. All my dog yearning, as well as any career in negotiation, would have to wait…a long time.

Many years later, I made my most adult and most rewarding decision. I was ready for a dog of my own. After months of failed leads, I was on the verge of embracing anything resembling a dog and sacrificing all the attributes I had prioritized. Then I saw these eyebrows…


…and that was it! Those little eyebrows, the tiny spots, the chubby baby belly… I knew in my core she was my Julep! A week later, I took a drive to a farm where the air was pure, and the people were sweet, and there I found the minty puppy who would fill my life with immeasurable joy! Those little eyebrows had taught me a huge lesson in patience, a lesson in waiting I try to remember in all facets of my life- dating, employment, travel, etc. When you know what you truly want, you might have to endure some waiting along the way.


Finding my perfect puppy emphasized the importance of patience. Waking up at 5am to potty train a tiny bladder reiterated the importance of calm, deep breaths in spite of utter fatigue and playful, juvenile defiance. Walking this joyful creature challenged me to see the good in people. She assumes people are good until they prove otherwise, an approach which usually results in a belly rub.

Waiting Patiently

She brings joy to those she encounters with her sweet demeanor, wags her whole body with excitement, smiles with her whole face, and observes the world with wonder. She’s a cuddling companion and a zen coach in one, long-legged body.

Julep Bday Dinner

The list of lessons grew since her arrival, time flew at full speed, and before I knew it, my little one turned one! I take birthdays pretty seriously, even birthdays of the four-legged sorts, so my growing lass ate a little fancier, and I snuggled her a little more (and maybe looked at that puppy pic 1,000 times more).

Going For It


Julep’s birthday meal was a crock-pot combination of grass-fed beef, organic barley, local spelt, organic corn, quail and a savory dog treat on top! A dog’s diet can be a loaded debate, but after feeding the birthday girl homemade food, her fur took on a sensational softness, so I’ve been feeding her more and more crock-pot concoctions, usually involving brown rice, a protein and a vegetable like broccoli or peas. If you’re curious about the specifics, ask away!

Though I love my little dog more than words (or a blog post!!) can fully describe, she is a huge responsibility. I was very careful in selecting a combination of breeds (Australian Shepherd & Lab) with which I was familiar. I had a schedule that enabled me to check on her, and I made sure to talk to several dog owners before making the leap myself. If you’re considering a dog, please, please, please make sure you are ready for everything a dog entails!


Happy Birthday to my Little One!

ps: I am well aware I have made the leap from “I like dogs” to “I am a crazy dog lady,” and I am perfectly content with that transition.


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. sambam2

    She is gorgeous! What type of dog is that?

    1. withthegrains

      Thanks! Julep is an Australian Shepherd & Labrador mix. A sheprador if you will.

  2. Anne Lively

    Happy, happy birthday Miss Julep!

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