Sorry to be THAT guy…

especially on Halloween, but I interrupt your candy binging with big news!

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That’s not news to anybody…. Here’s the real news:
I have officially bought my first domain and website!

All the content you love on sweettoothnothings.wordpress.com has been transferred over to my fancy schmancy new site: sweettoothtravels.com

It’ll be more professional, hopefully.
More monetarily beneficial for me, hopefully.
And… it’s way less characters to type into your browser, for sure!

Unfortunately, that does mean you will have to click the ‘Follow’ button and enter your email address again. Laaame. The bright side is, once you verify your email address, you’ll automatically be alerted of my new posts. Huzzah!

So, please go ahead and follow more of my adventure at sweettoothtravels.com.
I won’t be posting on this site anymore!
Also be sure to share my posts, follow my Instagram and Twitter, comment, and even buy a product or two.
Admittedly, I do get a percentage of the sales, but most of my money goes to travel and foster dogs, anyways. It’s a win-win!

If there’s a product you’d like me to advertise or somewhere you’d recommend I become an affiliate, please let me know. Mama needs a new dog harness!

Not to mention, if you have a business with which you’d like some support, let me know! I’m happy to help, collaborate, or do whatever I can to get your business going.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL for your continuing support. I adore ya.
Happy Halloween!

Instagram: @sweettoothtravels

Twitter: @sweettoothvegan

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How to train your human

There must be a million websites, books, articles, and pamphlets about training dogs and cats and various pets… yet, the humans are the ones who need to be trained! Puppies may pee on your bed, but a puppy has never started a war. Nor do I don’t know any horses who have kidnapped children or set fire to anyone’s home.

To learn more about training humans, I took a trip to the Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ. I met with a few dogs and cats who have faced some real ugly mugged humans, and asked what their advice would be to young pets training their humans. I got some very useful responses. Listen closely, you might learn a thing or two.

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I entered the green door because entering through a window seemed inconvenient and messy. I didn’t want to disturb the spiders who had just sat down for breakfast.

Once I got inside, the secretary immediately directed me towards the stairs. She said that’s where I’d find the “Cattery”. They had way too many kittens! Apparently, some seriously untrained humans didn’t know to get their pets neutered/spayed. Considering that many vets and mobile vans will do the surgery for fairly cheap and sometimes free, this just sounds lazy to me. But let’s see what the cats have to say about that.

The first cat I met was this little one:

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Clearly, she doesn’t mess around. She is a strict reinforcer of the rules. I learned from her that you must train your human with directness, and you can’t be too gentle with them. A harsh tone may be required. She explained that you have to catch your human when he/she is very comfortable and sleepy. Once they are settled in and having a good time petting your fur, you leap on their head, and stick your butt in their face. This will remind the human that you’re either in need of being fixed, or a sign of appreciation for having you fixed. If this doesn’t work, steal their socks. Never harm your human, but sometimes other types of punishment are necessary.

When I then heard some clattering around, I realized that there were two sibling kittens down below who were chanting in unison, “If you don’t need us, at least you can feed us!”

The two kittens, Dory and her sibling (who wishes to remain anonymous) refused to say much more than this chant. The cat in the next cage over explained that these two had been abandoned at the shelter after months of barely being cared for in their previous home. “Quite frankly, I think they just snapped. Big catnip users, but I didn’t tell you that.”

Here the two take a break from chanting so they can receive a few scratches. They still love human interaction, but are much less trusting of humans.

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As I passed them a second time, I heard one whisper, “Sure, if I jump on her lap, she better pet me… that’s just my way of showing her my power. She can’t resist me.”

Before leaving the Cattery, my last stop was to greet Draco. He doesn’t talk much anymore, nor does he do much training. However, in his youth, he would often travel the streets teaching other kittens how to train their humans. He was a celebrity in the concrete jungle. These days, he prefers to sit in his cage and watch kittens and his old comrades be brought in and out. It is said that Draco once loved humans and felt every single one could be trained and turned good.

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I’ll never know what these amber eyes have seen, nor what smells that pink nose has smelled. But without a doubt, Draco has seen some of the worse types of humans. Legend has it that he once was homed by a very grumpy husband who had no interest in cats. Draco was able to soften this man’s heart and sit beside him during basketball games. This changed when he had to surrender Draco due to his wife’s pregnancy. When Draco saw that his beloved human man would not admit his sadness upon leaving him behind at the shelter, Draco was forever hardened. He has not given up on finding a home, but he isn’t the same cat he once was.

As I left the room, Draco’s eyes didn’t move, they stared forward; never letting go of the memory of the man who once loved him and betrayed him.

I was then anxious to go visit the dogs! Dogs are typically a softer, more forgiving type. I expected joy, forgiveness, and infinite optimism. However, what I found instead was desperation and unease.

Entering the dog room, everyone wanted to be heard. Every dog felt they had tips and advice on training that would solve all the human problems of the world.

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I didn’t know where to begin. That is, until I saw Bunny. It is not common to come across a Pharaoh Hound, particularly at the shelter. As you can see in the lower left corner of this picture, I discreetly took a photo of this beautiful friend. I quickly learned that approaching dogs in cages will lead to much barking, some growling, and noisy tails thumping against metal.

Bunny had no comments, though, he just wanted me to leave him be. That is, unless I was going to walk, feed, or home him. Being that I could not provide any of these things, I went on to the next speaker.

Seides is another resident of the Humane Society. She’s a self-labeled artist who believes in changing the world through music. She has a very different approach from the other dogs.

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Seides is a 4 year old lab/pit mix. She was brought in after being tied up in front of the shelter with her brother Beamer. Nowadays she paces back and forth in her cage and sings. She has a story to tell and she wants the world to hear it.

After hearing many sad tales like Seides’, I was quite relieved to finally talk with two fellas for whom life has been equally tough, but they keep a smile on and pep in their step. They are Nilsito and Richard.

Nilsito was excited when I came over to talk to him. He was engaged and anxious to meet me. At 9 years old, he is 60 lbs. He’s a heavyweight champ full of muscle and a big heart! Just as I thought he was going to share some wisdom, he chose instead to do this:

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Some dogs just never grow up!

Richard, on the other hand, at only 2 years old, was much more at ease. He seemed comfortable discussing the difficult issues with me. I got a feeling from Richard that he was an old soul who had seen and been through enough to have something to offer.

It turned out, I was right. Richard taught me a lot, even just by looking into his eyes. He told me about his puppy days, about his life on the streets, and how lacking a home taught him more about humans than one would expect. He feels humans are much like stray animals, but they’ve been given weapons and power. This leads them to do things that they think will protect themselves and their loved ones from being vulnerable. He explained that humans want love from dogs and cats, but don’t think about the bigger picture, the consequences, and all the requirements…. He was happy being stray, but a part of him will always seek a lifelong human companion. Its in the blood of every dog, he postulates, even the ones who growl. They’re also just trying to protect themselves in a scary world. However, with proper human training, each and every dog can find themselves in the perfect home.Never give up, he told me, never.

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This response left me so stirred, that I felt it was a good time to leave. It was hard saying goodbye to all these incredible dogs and cats, but I had my own foster kittens to take home! I left the shelter with three month old kittens who had been abandoned on a boat! The pirate kittens are now safely in my home and await permanent homes. They are adventurous, lively, and very healthy. When I asked for any suggestions when it came to training humans, in unison they squeaked, “LOVE.”

For kittens, they sure are smart!

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All the dogs and cats in this post are available for adoption at the Liberty Humane Society in New Jersey. Please read about them and how to adopt/foster at: http://www.libertyhumane.org/     They are also always in need of volunteers!

Find out more about these lovely dogs at: DOGS

Learn more about these gorgeous cats at: CATS

 

Valentine’s Day 2016- were you there? I was. Not even joking, I was SO there! You don’t even know! Why would you, after all?

For my Valen-FRIEND’s Day (see what I did there?) I had a friend come over. He brought me stuff and gifts. That’s why I have friends, because they bring me dolls and art and candy and flowers…. After he gave me the gifts I completely deserve, I was going to throw him out. Like, out in the cold and snow, because what else am I gonna do with him? But then he was all like, “Wait! How about we bake? We can bake!”

I don’t pass on opportunities to bake. We baked.

First we went to the cheap-o store to buy pans. Apparently, I’ve been making cupcakes and muffins without a muffin tin for ages! Well, I did have one, but I killed that sucker. It was burned and charred and crying before it even knew what happened to it. That’s how success happens. I also bought a springform pan. Not sure what one does with these, but they’re always in recipes and they look cool, so I paid the $7 to own one. No one can judge me now.

Then we went to the grocery store for vegan butter. The woman working there seemed to be yelling at me in some exotic Asian language. Then I was informed that she was very upset about the dead flowers in my hand. I tried to explain that my friend had been waiting in the cold for an hour (despite other evidence, this was not my fault) and in that time, the flowers froze and died a slow and painful death. This didn’t seem to calm the woman. I took my butta and ran.

Then, after my friend informed me that dollar store food is permissible, we went to “99 Cent Dream”, because if they’re charging you more, you’re being ripped off!

In my 99 cent dream, there is a huge box. It’s wrapped in gold wrapping paper without a crinkle, tear, or indent anywhere. On top there is a Royal Blue bow shimmering in the reflection of a perfect sunrise. I walk forward and pull the end of the ribbon. The bow and the packaging neatly unfold and fall to unveil the contents. It’s a tiny, dead turtle.

Apparently, dollar stores sell EVERYTHING! We just needed oil, coconut milk, and something else I can’t recall at the moment. The cupcake plan was on its way!

1 cup Whole wheat flour! Check.

1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar! Check.

1/2 can Coconut milk! Check.

1 Banana! Check.

2 teaspoons Baking powder

Pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup alternative milk… or more champagne. Yesss!

Everything we need, plus red food dye for a real thrill!

Put all that stuff together in a bowl. Toss ‘er and turn ‘er!

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Blend, baby, blend! Or, should I say: Process, mama, PROCESS!

Yay! You made things that will possibly, maybe resemble cupcakes in the near future!

I put them in the oven at 365 for 10 minutes, but that wasn’t cutting it. My recipe was whack. I add 5 minutes for a total of *counts on fingers* 15 minutes! Bueno!

Now we have cupcakes, but what’s missing? Frosting! weeee!

My stupid recipe told me to combine 2 cups of sugar (that’s a lot of sugar), 1/2 cup butter (melted and cooled) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I did this and added a little red dye. Not as much as in the cupcakes, so it would be more pink. The problem is, this combination was super liquidy, even after a couple hours in the fridge. Thus, I did what any smart cookie would do, and I added a cup of flour to thicken ‘er up. What do you know? It worked! Here you can kind of see which cupcake was the first attempt and which were made after adding flour:

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I didn’t want you to forget why we’re here, so I added a couple hearts. But, in case you’re blind, here’s the original photo:

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See gloopy gloppy back there? Yeah, he was the mistake child we never wanted. He’s a metaphor for the mistake you may make on Valentine’s Day. Remember! Always wear protection, kids.

We mixed, we floured, we frosted. The final step is…

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Sprinkled some coconut on top, poured more bubbly, and we had a downright jamboree!

Oddly enough, these cupcakes kind of tasted like corn muffins. I don’t know why. I simply don’t. Science. Still, they were tasty!

I give the recipe 6/10

I give MY version of the recipe 8.5/10

I give my Valentine’s Day 10/10

And that, my friends, is what matters…. The gifts.