About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Grandma Was Right:
Dogs Like Carrots

Having a dog with anxiety issues, I was intrigued by a recipe called Calming Diet for Your Anxious Dog. You make it with cooked turkey, cooked barley, chamomile flowers made into tea, parsley, olive oil, and cooked carrots.

I could picture my grandma telling her mother, "See, I told you!"

This is one of my favorite stories of Grandma's. It takes place in southwest Detroit in the late 1940s. Grandma would cook carrots for her dog, Tiny, using a small pan only used for the dog's meals, and adding a touch of butter as the carrots cooked. One afternoon Grandma had to take the streetcar downtown, so she asked her mother to feed the dog. "Remember, she likes a little butter with her carrots," Grandma said.

When she got home, she saw that not only had Tiny left the carrots uneaten, but had spit them out on the floor. "Did you cook them in butter?," Grandma asked Baba.

"Butter!? For a dog!? I should say not," said Baba, a strict Slovak-born woman.

So Grandma gathered up the carrots, heated them in Tiny's pan, and cooked them with a pat of butter. Tiny gobbled up every last one and licked her dish clean.

"Nuh! Now I've seen everything," Baba said.

Grandma was right. "Eat your carrots" applies to dogs, too.

I wrote more about my grandma, Mary Pontell, in a guest blog for Brandon Lacy Campos at  My Feet Only Walk Forward


  1. Actually, this was more of a story about butter than cooked carrots, but the recipe's mention of cooked carrots immediately made me think of it. Though Tiny probably would have liked olive oil just as well.

  2. Hey, cool story there.

    By the way, your Grandma's dog (Tiny) was a spoilt dog - I bet I wouldn't have cooked carrot in butter for 'a dog' but after learning that Tiny was not posing I knew your 'Grandma was right'.

  3. I totally agree, Stelsie, Tiny was spoiled. The family and cultural dynamic was so interesting. After World War II, during which time goods like butter were scarce, and with an old-country parent living at home, spoiling the dog was often done in secret. Thanks so much for reading!

  4. Loved this! And the shout out of Detroit! I grew up in the suburbs. My Mom and Grandmother were raised in Detroit. Possibly Your Grandmother and Mine knew each other. lol. You never know!

  5. Hey Melissa! Glad you enjoyed. Considering how big Detroit is, it's not likely they knew each other, but you never know -- when Grandma was in her nineties, her caretaker was a woman who worked at a drugstore in the old neighborhood 30 years previously. Susan


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