Meet Jack: Orange Blossom Scented Strawberries + Beanilla Winner

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

-First day at the new home.-

Sometimes, though probably more often than we might prefer, changes occur quickly and unexpectedly. We usually want warning months in advance as opposed to the instantaneous and foreboding phosphoric brilliance of a signal flare alerting us that change will be happening right-now-so-get-ready. Either way, we do what we can do handle these Unexpectations.

Fiance and I were getting a bite and a sip at the new coffee shop around the corner from us when we ran into a girl who had the most well-behaved and friendly Corgi. We were smitten as he waddled up to us on his knobby joints and demanded attention in the forms of scratching and cooing. Normally, I don't care for designer dogs but I've always had a weak spot for Corgis and Huskies.

"Where did you get him?" I asked.

"On Craigslist, the family who had him couldn't keep him. I got him when he was about five. He's been great," she replied.

Craigslist? Of all places for a Corgi? Normally, a purebred dog of any kind comes from a breeder or puppy mill and costs $500 minimum. So, obviosuly, could we help it if Fiance and I hopped and Craigslist and took a look?

-Because why wouldn't you after hearing that?-

We searched the word "Corgi" and one entry, posted only an hour before, popped up.

Corgi puppies available. Purebred and in need of homes. The parents are farm dogs who work on a horse boarding ranch. Not a puppy mill. Asking for $150. I realize this is expensive but we want to make sure they go to a good home. They have had their first shots. Girls and boys available.

Holy shit.

When it's come to the possibility of adopting a dog I've always stood by a certain set of princples. No puppies. I don't want to potty train and all that jazz. Shelter dogs only. No purebreed (well, unless a Corgi or Huskie show up at the shelter). Have a yard; I like having unchewed furniture and I don't want a dog running stir crazy in a tiny apartment.

But suddenly, here was a situation that seemed almost unthinkable. Practically untenable and unheard of in California. Corgi puppies. For a reasonable price. Raised well on a farm and not at a puppy mill. And I did have that yard now...

I sent off a reply:

My fiance and I are writing about the Corgi pups and would love some more information about their health and the adoption fee. We are both well employed; I work in adoptions for a non-profit and as a freelance writer and cookbook author, and my fiance is a combat medic with the Army Reserves. We're a responsible and loving couple who have been looking for a Corgi as we feel it's the breed that best matches our active lifestyle and home (we live in a spacious duplex with a large yard) and get along with our two cats. We can provide a loving home, lots of attention, plenty of walks, and ensure the pup gets proper and regular veterinary care. =)
Thank you so much,
Garrett McCord.

All totally the truth though perhaps artfully shined up a bit as can be expected. Having worked in adoption I knew exactly what kind of letter to write and how to ensure we would be picked to meet the puppies.

-Smooth sailing to Puppyville.-

And we were. The poster wrote us back minutes later and asked us to come by.

I was still nervous. A puppy? Potty training, crate training, walk training, the hours, the needs, the expenses. Did we have time? Could we afford it? I essentially refrained from committing until I met the owner. Fiance was already on board and convinced I was too and that I was fooling myself. "You'll fall in love and those reservations of yours will go out the window," he chided.

The hell they were I assured him. I would not fall in love and commit to the care for another living creature for the next 15+ years based on, of all things, love at first sight.

The poster, Brenda, a hearty and rather jovial woman with a bob cut, thick legs bowed slightly from years of riding a horse's back, and hands calloused from caring for them as she did met us. We took to each other immediately lost in jokes about farm work and food (things we both loved).

Brenda opened the door the room the puppies were being kept and almost immediately a herd of Corgi puppies launched themselves at us with ears so big they could pick up HBO and nubby tails exuberantly wagging. It was Awww'mageddon and we were totally unprepared for it. There were no survivors.

-Now picture three of these guys running at you full speed.-

If we took well to Brenda, we took to her puppies even quicker. Especially one. The runt. An insignificant little guy who trotted a few steps behind the rest and who when he could finally push in to meet us insisted on simply settling on our laps and falling asleep.

We named him, Jack. After the cheese (and Kerouac and Daniels), of course, which has become his favorite treat for when he gets encouragement and praise for proper potty outside or hopping in his crate.

Jack is quiet, precocious, more of a dog who acts like a cat, really. He doesn't bark, after a few days is already (mostly) potty trained, and doesn't nip or herd us as is common with Corgis and their humans. His only mission is to be cuddled at all times and we are happy to provide any and all assistance with this task.

There's been little time to cook and write because I'm snuggling the bejesus out of Jack, puppy-proofing the house, getting him shots, starting obedience school and so on. So far everyone seems to love everyone, and while Eat Beast is still warming up to Jack, he's come to love Jack's often unattended and partially full food dish.

-Jack doesn't seem to care and it seems to ingratiate Eat Beast to him so que sera.-

So while Jack sleeps, the cats cope, and Fiance makes an appointment with the Vet for Jack to get his boybits snipped I made a simple snack that seems to match my bright new parent of a fur baby mood and the rather rainy March weather outside.

Strawberries, the first real lush ones that have flavor, by God, unlike the supermarket Valentine's Day in February strawberries, are cut into tiny spears. These are then tossed with sugar, orange blossom water, and a bit of chopped thyme because thyme is a marvelous companion to fruit. Then you just let it sit for a bit and let the flavors meld.

That's it.

I serve it over yogurt and serve it to friends or just toss it with a bit of oatmeal and read listen to NPR while the rest of the house sleeps in and Jack dozes off at my feet.

Strawberries with Orange Blossom Water and Thyme

1 pint of strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Toss together in a bowl and macerate for 15 minutes. Serve. See? Easy. Now go give your own pets some attention.

Ah yes, and the winner of the Beanilla prize package is Megan Herreid Pires of Megan's Cookin'. Congrats, Megan!


  1. I think I'm in love...he is adorable! My sister has 2 corgis, Frank and Lucy, plus a poodle/terrier mix, also Jack. They are three lovable bundles of fur. The corgis herd everything in sight and Jack does what terriers do, ferreting out any little creatures he can find in their play yard out back. I love them like my human nieces and nephews. I'm hoping that by this time next yearn(gotta move out of my rental), I can adopt a little furry bundle myself. My ex got custody of out retriever so I've been dogless for the last four years and I miss the patter of puppy paws!

  2. Congrats! They don't stay puppies long, so enjoy. But a mature dog is great company as well, just different. Your writing evokes envy. Awwmagadon? Perfectly amazing.

  3. Jack is adorable! Congrats to the lucky parents. :)
    You never seem to amaze me Garrett, these berries look delightful. A perfect opportunity to use up some of my Orange blossom water and I would have never thought to add the thyme. Brilliant!
    Thanks for the vanilla bean giveaway. I'm so excited I won.

  4. OMG as always i enjoy your writing but this piece stole my heart...I just love the visions you create with words......

  5. Congrats on your new fur baby! I am just waiting for two kitties I'm fostering to go back home in July so I can get two rescue doggies.

    Also, I'm totally stealing "awwmageddon."

    I had my first delicious strawberry treat of the season last night in a zabaglione. It was perfect.

  6. I have officially died from cuteness!
    (Love your updated photo, too.)

  7. Awwmegedon indeed. What an absolute love!

  8. My god, that pup is about to send me into incomprehensible babble with his cuteness.

  9. awwwwwww. Also, so glad to hear you are crate training and doing obedience school.

  10. You should post a photo of Jack with every post so that every day is Awwmagedon! :)

    Congrats, new parents! :)

  11. Corgi FTW! They never outgrow how freakin' adorable they are...We adopted Amy, retired show corgi, when she was 3 1/2, and now she is 5 and totally Princess of the House.

    Amy knows the sound of her dad opening the cheese drawer in the fridge. One plastic rattle and she's flying through the house like a fluffy cannonball to be there the moment he pulls out a cheese stick.

    Also, carrots, apples, bananas, lettuce, green beans, pears, and will never, ever, EVER eat alone again.


  12. Argh too cute! Congratulations on the adoption. May your life together be filled with wonderful walks and gorgeous strawberry desserts.

  13. Congratulations!!

    Don't feel bad, I told my finance the same thing yours told you. We found a purebred maine coon kitten for sale on craigslist (I had never had a cat before so when I heard they were more like dogs I was sold). When we went to meet them and I placed our kitten in my fiance's arms, he melted utterly. We went right to the atm, lol, and he stopped saying that he thought animals should only be adopted.

    Definitely enjoy him while he's a puppy, they do grow up fast! I adopted my dog from a shelter and as wonderful as he is, there is something about the way a baby animal that you raised snuggles with you. My dog adores me and is my little shadow, but he doesn't just melt into me the way our cat does or my other dog did.

    Congratulations again and give Jack a snuggle and a piece of cheese from me.

  14. Adorable puppy! I will resist any second looks at the photos on this blog and will resist any temptation to navigate over to craig's list....

  15. Unbelievably cute! I've always wanted corgi's, every since I read about artist/farm maker Tasha Tudor and her love affair with them. (beautiful book if you ever get to look through it.) Good luck with the puppy stage! Also, Im SURE you've got something like this in your book coming out, but just in case...

  16. Oh, congratulations! The same thing happened here not too long fiance and I were looking to have a new dog join our family. Then we decided just to foster for a while, to help out some poor helpless pooch since we thought our current dog Pavlov would fret on a permanent addition.

    Then one week later, we're signing papers for our "foster" dog. And we'd agreed before--no lap dogs, no Chihuahua (mixes), no more small dogs!

    So now a Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound looking fellow, and our Patterdale Terrier.

    Go figure.

    Jack is a lucky dog!

  17. Congratulations on your new pup. I'm so glad you found a way to adopt your ideal breed without resorting to a breeder or puppy mill! He looks absolutely darling - I can see how you fell in love (despite all your best efforts, I'm sure!).

  18. OH MY LORD. This is the cutest dog I have EVER seen! It's like you're reading my mind; my boyfriend and I are in love with Corgis and Huskies as well! I've been pinning for a Corgi pup for the last year. What a wonderful addition to your family! Jack is absolutely precious!

  19. Awww'mageddon, indeed! I can't wait to read bout more Jack stories.

    The berries would be heavenly over homemade honey lavender ice cream, too. NOM!

  20. Ugh, I hit the wrong button. That last comment about the ice cream was from me.

  21. OMG, I am absolutely in love with Jack-he is darling. I'm also in love with my "pup"--a 16 year old cocker spaniel/doxie mix with a heart of gold that we adopted when she was 7.I would have loved to have known her as a puppy. Nothing, nothing like doggie love.

    Garrett, I am a huge fan of your writing--you capture life and all is vagaries, emotions, well just about everything all so well, with such a wonderful "eye" and humor. Thanks.

  22. Congratulations Garrett!
    You have to check out one of my other favorite food bloggers. Wench also just got a new puppy. Now two of my fave food blogs are about puppies! Wonderful.

    PS - is Jack being incorporated into the wedding plans?

  23. Congratulations on Jack! He is about as cute as they get.

  24. oh my. there was a lot of "squee"-ing as I moved through this post. welcome to puppy-father-hood! excited for your family.

  25. I am so coming to your place and stealing that adorable little puppers!!! I wonder if she'll ship to PA?!?

  26. :::killing me with cuteness::: Screw the recipes, perhaps now your blog should be solely cute puppy pictures... ;-)

  27. angelitacarmelita@verizon.netApril 2, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    omg, omg, omg... and yes, I do want to be trampled by a hurd of these corgies. Jack is adorable. Congratulations!

  28. This just might be the cutest puppy I have seen in my entire life.

  29. I could look at pictures of Jack all day! Congrats and enjoy the new member of your family!

  30. Jack is adorable! I love corgis and have wanted one for years. Give him a cuddle for me.


  31. Your puppy is about the cutest think I've ever seen! My neighbor has three corgis (it's hard to stop at just one!). They lay on the back of the couch and look at the window at up passersby. I can't tell you how much it cheers me to see their three sweet faces lined up at the window.

  32. I'm a little late, but congratulations on your new dog! My brother and I live in the Sacramento area and have been wanting to get a pet for some time. I think a corgi would be a perfect fit for us. Do you happen to know if the other pups are still available?

  33. Oh!! Jack is sooo sweet. You won't regret this cuddly Corgi puppy, they really are an intelligent breed. They're the best...congratulations to the lucky parents and baby-Corgi.

    We have three (CorgiTales[dot]com)!

    So happy for you! :)


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