Cookies and biscuits are a big deal in our house. Always have been, always will be. The problem is that sometimes the dogs and the humans get the treats mixed up, and no one can tell which belongs to which. Until the human takes a bite, of course.

My friend Carol makes Russian tea cakes at Christmas, and they’re amazing: dense chocolate centers surrounded by buttery shortbread and then rolled in powdered sugar. Years ago, back when I worked with Carol and then later with her husband, Garth, she started giving me a batch of my very own at Christmas. They (the tea cakes, not Garth or Carol) look like this:

Russian Tea Cakes (Except Carol's Are Better) --photo credit alaskamichael.com

Russian Tea Cakes (Except Carol’s Are Better)
–photo credit alaskamichael.com

Yes, it’s good to be me.

One year, Muddy decided that she’d had enough of my unwillingness to share with her, so she took matters into her own paws. To this day, I cannot figure out how Muddy did it, but she managed to knock a large, glass container off the counter without breaking it, unhinge and pop the lid, and eat every single Russian tea cake. There was not even a sniff of powdered sugar left as trace evidence. Shockingly, Carol made ANOTHER set of Russian tea cakes and gave them to me. I learned my lesson and kept them on top of the refrigerator. I wasn’t taken any more chances with Muddy.

Chocolate is normally toxic for dogs, but it never had ill effects on Muddy. Considering that dog also ate sticks of butter, raw oatmeal cookies, entire packages of bacon, and an entire pound of dark Spanish chocolate, we finally deduced that she had a stomach of cast iron. We think that her own chocolate coloring protected her from her chocolate inhalations. And from every other digestive sin.

The next year (and every year after), my box of tea cakes would arrive with a warning label. It seemed appropriate.

These Are Not the Russian Tea Cakes You're Looking for, Muddy

These Are Not the Russian Tea Cakes You’re Looking for, Muddy

And this brings us to dog treats. After spending a week up on Hoth (or Montana, as other people call it), I returned home very late on Thursday night last week. While it’s nice to spend time with my parents, it’s also good to be home. Eleanor and Beatrice missed me, I missed them, and there was much joy in Mudville to celebrate my return, even if it was at 2 a.m.

And yes, I did miss Joel, too.

Saturday morning marked my return to normalcy, which meant getting together with my friend Diane. Yesterday, we had an agenda: exchange Christmas prezzies, hit the farmers’ market to get some eggs, and see Mona’s puppy, Gunner. (Okay, I must confess that Gunner was the big draw for me. He’s at that adorable chubby monkey phase, so he’s all tummy and paws and teeth.) We exchanged presents without issue, scored eggs and a few tasty treats at the farmers’ market (the Cake & Spoon people not only had tasty lemon treats, they also had pistachio macarons and ginger crinkles), and had two separate visits to get our fill of puppy tummy and puppy teeth. Again, it’s good to be me.

I returned home with my booty, and decided that I should also take my weekend nap. (I’m big on napping, especially with the dogs.) I woke up almost 90 minutes later all gummy-eyed and groggy but a much better person. I wandered into the living room to find Joel, who looked like he was waiting for me.

“Uh, were those cookies on the kitchen island for people or for dogs?” Joel asked.

“Which cookies? Some were people treats, some were dog cookies that Diane made.” I said. “Why?”

“Well, that would explain the taste. I took two bites of those heart-and-star cookies and spit them out.”

Diane's Tasty Homemade Dog Cookies (Just Ask Joel)

Diane’s Tasty Homemade Dog Cookies (Just Ask Joel)

I met Diane this morning at the gym, and she handed me a package of more dog cookies. Frankly, I was surprised that Diane hadn’t followed Carol’s lead and put a “Not for Joel” sticker on the bag. It worked for Muddy, so why not him?