Sharing hospitality through homemade dog treats

It was easy to find Sherry Steele, her adorable daughter, and this recipe for homemade dog treats on the internet.

All I did was search “methodist dog treats,” which led me straight to Plainfield United Methodist Church in Plainfield, Illinois.

Why would I do such a thing, you ask?

I recently noticed dogs are often along for the ride when people come through our free drive-thru meal ministry in Knoxville, Tennessee. Because we love our guests, I wanted to do something nice for the furriest of these.

Then it occurred to me: “We’re all about cooking, right? We’ll bake our own dog treats!”

Pastor Sherry was all in to help when I called to ask about how to make her dog treats. She explained that the cute video I discovered was filmed last summer, when Plainfield United Methodist Church and the rest of the nation were staying out of public places due to COVID-19.

“We were spending more and more time at home with our pets and trying to be creative,” said Rev. Steele, who serves as minister of faith formation in a church about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

In her years of ministry, the pastor noticed that children “love doing anything involving animals.” She had already posted videos for her pandemic-parked church members, “inviting them into my home” to prepare recipes with her family of seven. “People really loved that,” she said.

It didn’t take long before the idea for a virtual “Blessing of the Animals” was hatched, and the pastor pulled out her rolling pin to create homemade dog treats for the occasion.

With fun-loving stepdaughter Brooklyn by her side (and two more stepdaughters behind the camera), Pastor Sherry’s video demonstrates the makings of an easy, inexpensive, gobble-worthy gift for canine kids. The ingredients are probably already available in your pantry. All I personally had to do, before preparing this recipe myself, was to buy cookie cutters in the shapes of dog bones and puppy paws ($1.60 each at a craft store).

Pastor Sherry says the family dogs, Ella and Samson, adore the peanut butter-flavored treats. When I tested a bone-shaped cookie on my own finicky pet Leland, he made it disappear in a hurry.

I’m excited about sharing these pooch snacks at our next drive-thru meal!

Plainfield Pooch Snacks

Makes about 20 treats

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ingredients, using hands to blend well. Add more water if needed.

Dust flour on counter surface and on rolling pin. Roll dough until flat.

Use cookie cutters to create dough shapes. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container or refrigerator.

(Please be aware that some dogs are allergic to peanuts.)

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Pastor Sherry and her family, including Ella and Samson

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