My co-workers and I depend very heavily on our administrative assistant, Diane. Diane, like me, is an animal lover and so most of our conversations centre on the animals in our lives. I talk about my dogs and cats and she talks about her dogs and cats... and chinchillas and horses and peacocks. No joke. She and her husband live on a small hobby farm and they basically take in any animal that needs a home. She's got a soft spot for just about any creature that is unwanted or in crisis.
A few years ago, Diane adopted Maggie, a plump and happy dachshund who quickly became the queen of the household. Since then, Diane has been wanting a second dog, but her husband, Joe, wasn't crazy about the idea. Until last week. When he told her that yes, he'd been thinking it would be nice to adopt another dog.
As soon as I arrived at the office yesterday, Diane had me looking at the local SPCA's listings on Petfinder. The first dog that appeared on the search was a dachshund. Diane leaned in closer to my computer screen.
"Oh yeah, that's him," she said, "I can tell by his eyes."
A few hours later, Diane, Joe, my coworker Christine and I were all at the SPCA, eagerly huddled around a staff member who was holding Anikin, the dachshund. She handed him to Joe, explaining that he was a bit shy, having spent his entire life thus far in a cage, never allowed out for walks or fresh air or affection.
Joe carried him outside and we all sat down and took turns petting him. After five minutes his tail started to wag and he licked Joe's nose. Diane went inside to fill out the paperwork.
Anikin gets fixed on Friday and until then he has to stay at the shelter. They have a wise policy that no dogs are allowed off the premises until they are neutered, especially purebreds like our little dachshund friend. After that he'll be on his way to a better home than he could have imagined.
While we were there, I walked through and met some of the other dogs who were up for adoption.
Like Dorothy, who I would have taken home with me about twelve seconds after meeting her if we had room for more dogs in our household.
And Polar, who is a puppy with fantastic eyes who couldn't get enough affection from us.
And Henry, who was the quietest, cutest chihuahua that I've ever seen.
All these dogs are up for adoption right now, in case you were wondering. The SPCA is a no-kill shelter and the people working there obviously love their jobs and love the animals. My very own lovely, lovely Sacha came from there a few years ago and she is pretty much the nicest dog I've ever met.
Yes, yes, all this dog talk is very nice, Jennifer. But what did you eat when you got home after all this excitement?
For those of you who are still here after all that non-food dog talk, here's what's more of a recipe tip than an actual recipe!
Last night for dinner I made the Artichoke and Olive Ragout from the March issue of Vegetarian Times. I was slightly skeptical, since the recipe didn't have any flashy ingredients in it and I worried it might be a bit bland. Of course, I was foolish to worry. It was hearty and flavourful. We ate giant bowls of it over brown rice and the Man of Science pronounced it delicious.
The one change I made was to add chickpeas for protein because I was too lazy to make another protein-laden side dish. To make sure the textures worked, I added an extra cup of crushed tomatoes. It worked very well. Highly, highly recommended.