March's Wildlife Creation
Homemade African Painted Dog Biscuits.
African painted dog pups running to greet adults returning to the den. Credit: Manoj Shah[/caption] This month WVI's creative Trustee Louise Heathcote has been inspired by WVI’s commitment to protecting the African painted dog.
'Having dogs of my own I have a soft spot for this project' admits Louise.
An iconic hunter, there are only 3,000 left, making it one of the rarest species in Africa. Thanks to ongoing conflict with man, infectious disease and the destruction of habitat, the painted dog has already disappeared from much of its original territory. Today small numbers can still be found in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa, but the clock is ticking.
Louise with Rex[/caption] In Zimbabwe the painted dog has suffered as a result of the country’s worsening political and economic situation and the collapse of eco-tourism and conservation. This is where WVI has stepped in to help local Zimbabwean NGO, Painted Dog Conservation (PDC), in its battle to save one of the continent’s signature species. 'People think of making their own biscuits but few people think about making their own dog biscuits' says Louise. 'They are very simple, you know what is in them and they will last for up to a month in an airtight container'. 'How about selling homemade dog biscuits at a veterinary surgery or fete to raise funds for the painted dog project?' suggests the ever enterprising Louise. 'You can cut them to any shape using biscuit cutters and personnalise them by writing your dog's name in the dough before baking.'
You will need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 cup brewer's yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 1 1/2 cups homemade or shop-bought low-sodium chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
- Combine flour, wheat germ, brewer's yeast, and salt.
- Place rapeseed oil in a large bowl. Add flour mixture to oil in 3 additions, alternating with 1 cup stock; mix until combined.
- Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes (dough will be sticky).
- Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out rounds using a 2-inch fluted cutter. Transfer to baking sheets.
- To make the pawprint, make an indentation toward the bottom of the biscuit using your thumb, then press dough to make an arch of 4 small circles on top of the thumbprint using the tip of your little finger.
- Repeat with remaining rounds. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- Bake for 20 minutes, rotating sheets and lightly brushing with remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock halfway through.
- Turn oven off, and let them stand in oven for 40 minutes
Note: Dog biscuits can be stored at room temperature for about a month There are plenty of recipes on the internet that include all sorts of ingredients - though please be responsible - no chocolate! Please send us a picture of your dog's favourite ones. Download a pdf of the recipe here and find out what WVI is doing in Zimbabwe here.