Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Stuffin'

So it's almost Thanksgiving, and here you are avoiding your shopping and cooking chores by grazing the Internet...(Hey, I know that one!)

Here's a suggestion that will help you get back to your errands and make a lot of dogs and people very happy on Turkey Day. When you cook up those yams or make up your famous stuffing recipe or mash those potatoes, set aside a small portion in a bowl before you add the seasoning. That little stash of good-stuff is going to be a big hit to some lucky dogs.

Dig out those unwanted kong balls that have been collecting dust bunnies under the bed, wash'em out and stuff them with a layer of your T-day goodies and maybe some cottage cheese or yogurt to top it off.

Pop the lot in the freezer on Wednesday night, and map out a plan to escape your relatives for a few minutes on Thursday morning.

While most of the country will be waking up to the Macy's parade and kitchen chores on Thanksgiving, your local animal control workers are going to be knee-deep slogging sh*t in crowded kennels and feeding a shelter full of hungry dogs. If they're lucky, they may have a box of milkbones to dole out to the orphan crew before they go home to their families. But if they're REALLY lucky, they'll have some of your exquisitely stuffed kongs to pass out to the neediest dogs.

Most shelters are closed on Thanksgiving morning, so when you show up banging loud on the door with a box-full of T-day goodies, you might be met by a cranky kennel worker who expects you're dumping a box of hungry kittens on her. But when she sees what you really have, you will make her day. And you'll give some lonely little doggers the best morning of their week. (You may want to give the a heads-up phone call in advance, btw.)

More kong stuffing recipes: here

If you end up doing this, please report back! Your favorite kong recipes and your T-day shelter stories are welcome.

Above left: Vick dog 'Ellen' (now at Best Friends) investigates her first-ever stuffed kong back when she was still kenneled at the Hanover Pound in VA. What a treat. Animal Farm Foundation donated a boatload of kongs and goodies to the V-dogs back when they were still hidden from the world and it meant a lot to dogs and shelter workers alike.


leigha said...

what a lovely idea. and i just happen to have an old kong laying around that i just cleaned up and will be stuffing and getting to the shelter.

Pibble said...

What a great idea!

We have a volunteer at our shelter who makes yogurt/banana/peanut butter-stuffed kongs for all of our dogs and freezes them by the dozens. We toss them to the pooches and they're in heaven! It's a treat that lasts for hours and adds a little enrichment to their day.


The Foster Lady said...

I love the thought, but everyone should also remember that many foods are way too rich for most dogs, kennel dogs especially. If the food you stuff with is too rich (eg turkey), your kennel worker will be cursing you for the diarrhea that will come several hours later. I saw this at one shelter where I have volunteered.

Stick with Sweet potatoes and you don't need alot to have it be fun. But I would not do stuffing or turkey.

What shelters need, more than anything else, are more people to walk and socialize...that is what is truly priceless.


Leslie said...

I would also bring a little something special for the S@#t shoveling kennel worker too! I personally have a kong program going at our local a/c and humane society. I bought 2 used freezer to store them in so they have them stockpiled. It has been an amazing program as the kennels are so much quieter. I stuff them with wet dog food and yogurt and maybe a handful of kibble that I have laying around. Just a little something that I picked up from Pit Ed Camp, thanks Bad Rap.

Donna said...

Great idea to send perks for the kennel worker too, Leslie!

Dianne said...

This is a great idea, but the link you've listed is impossible to read (google ads pop up). Try this:


We have volunteers who regularly stuff kongs and freeze them. We also have kids do this at birthday parties in our community room. Remember, if you use peanut butter to close the end, not all dogs like PB so do some with cream cheese. And yes, there will be a dirth of staff and volunteers in the shelters on turkey day, so go brighten someone's day. I will try to get by to see the baying huskies.

Donna said...

Thanks for the better link, Dianne. Send my love to the huskies.

Dianne said...

new fotos of the canadian dogs here:

If you focus in on the white dog, you can see the last vestiges of the Vick dogs' stay -- a lock on the kennel door!

Redbirdie said...

We did a kong drive at my shelter w/cooperation of a local store that provided kongs for people to buy. Wet the kibble for a couple of hours, crumble in some chicken jerky, add a can of canned dog food, stuff in kongs, top with a biscuit, then freeze the whole thing to make it last longer. Voila! A Kong-sicle!

Carreen Maloney said...

Thanks for reminding people that shelter dogs would like to have a Thanksgiving treat, too. Great story.

Diane; The Dog Diva said...

I LOVE this. I know I'm not alone in saying I NEVER stop thinking about the dogs who don't have a table to beg from. A small act of kindness can mean more than people know, for it could be the dogs last day on earth.
I just hope the shelter workers actually give the KONGS to the dogs. Unfortunatley I know of some places who wouldn't... :(

Meg (Humane Society of Harrisburg Area) said...

That would have been sweet. I work in a very crowded shelter and it was sad to leave our guys on Thanksgiving. Last Christmas a volunteer brought several large pans of shredded turkey. I was overjoyed to mix it into our guys' kibble for a couple of days. The key, I think, is moderation: cleanup really wasn't so bad!
By the way, our shelter is appr. 200 dogs and about 80% Pittie at any given time. Will you be offering a Pit Ed Camp in the near future? Thanks for your work, and thanks for the blog.

Janet said...

Thanks for this tip to make a holiday brighter for the dogs and volunteers!

Lisa said...

what an amazing idea! so simple yet it will make such a huge difference. love it. thank you for sharing.

Boris said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all who find ways to service and help others on this special day.

Butt wags and slobber kisses to the shelter workers! Remember them with a treat too!


Luisa said...

NO onions in the mix, please! They can cause hemolytic anemia, which can be fatal, and is one of the worst things ever. Trust me on this :~(

[Lost my heart dog to immune mediated hemolytic anemia. Nothing to do with onions, in his case.]