Log cabin in North Nikiski, 1985
In 1985 Bob and I rented and moved into a little one bedroom log cabin that was badly in need of repair, inside and out. We cleaned, painted and repaired what we could with the budget that we did not have.
Along with the move we acquired a cute little doggie, a Golden Retriever. Bob named her Pennelope Ann of Bishop Creek. Penny for short. We registered her. We had all kinds of fun with her.
We also acquired a nice neighbor, John Turnbull, who moved into the cabin next door. We had more fun especially around all the campfires.
We also acquired two kitties from Susan who lived in Fairbanks at the time. She was paying us back for giving her family a kitty I found in Kenai that was born behind the old Rig Bar. He was so tiny I fed him with a doll baby bottle. He thrived and someone in Susan’s family said they wanted a kitty. I gave him to them. Porter named him Romeo. Then they promptly moved to Fairbanks.
Susan called me a few months later and said Romeo was Juliet and that she had had kittens. Would we like to have one or two? They were black. Bob loved kitties and I decided to surprise him by getting him two of the black kitties from Romeo-Juliet.
Bob was very surprised on his birthday in April 1986, when he got two of the cutest little black fluffy kitties that Susan delivered all the way from Fairbanks. He named them Frick and Frack and because I could not remember who was who — Bob told me Frack was Black. That helped a lot — they both were black!
We had tons of fun with them. They slept with Penny the doggie. They grew, they got fat … they acted funny! One day, they had 10 kitties each under the steps of our cabin! So all of the sudden we had 24 kitties and one very protective doggie.
So on a no budget and a houseful of pets, John and Bob the inventors of “everything” wondered after seeing something on TV about dog treats, if we could not make some of our own. “We” being me the cooker in the family, invented — with trial and error and lots of reading — kitty treats. Kitties loved them but so did Penny-dog! So we invented a dog treat. Bob named them Mutt Muffins.
We bought all the ingredients in big sacks and stored them under the little round kitchen table. We turned our tiny kitchen into a kitty-dog treat kitchen. We took turns stirring and rolling out the kitty-doggie dough. We baked them in the oven, one cookie sheet at a time — because our stove-oven was tiny also (apartment size).
We cooled them and human tasted them. We gave them to our 20 kitties. One sniff, Penny-dog had to have one or two also! We made the whole batch in one cookie sheet at a time until the dough was all gone. The kitties we very happy and so was Penny-dog. Finally in the middle of the night, we all gave up, cleaned up the kitchen and crawled off the bed.
The next morning, Bob and John decided that the other dog lovers in the community need to sample our invention so we could get a stamp of approval for THEIR invention! We bagged and tied several dozen. They handed them out to everyone they knew with a dog or cat.
On their way back from their journey, the stopped at Lamplight Bar, “because Hayward Wik’s truck was there.” Hayward had a cute low slung Basset Hound named Mandy, that traveled everywhere with him.
Bob handed Hayward a bag of doggie goodies, with the explanation that we just invented them and we would like him to see if Mandy liked them. Hayward opened the bag, gave a sniff, took one out and plopped it in his mouth! Pretty good he said! When surprised Bob explained they were for Mandy … Hayward said “maybe.” He did hand her one or two that created slobbers all over the floor.
So satisfied with our invention, we went into business. Once again John and Bob came up with a name. They called it the DogHonest Company.
We stirred, rolled, cut into doggy-bone shapes and small oval shapes for kitties, baked and cooled thousands. We got Myron at M&M to sell them in the store. I looked into selling them state-wide. Too many regulations! We never made a profit if you count all the time and effort we put into making them.
But we sure had fun! You cannot charge for fun!
The Grannie Annie series is written by a 47-year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her mother, a self taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.