While we tend to imagine human beings to be the only animal that cares about how they look, I think that may be erroneous perhaps even to a fault. Some would say that the beauty of the dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, which finished up last night, is all for the people who care for them, show them, breed them and watch them and has nothing to do with the animals themselves. I beg to differ. Watching Best In Show winner Hickory, the willowy Scottish deerhound, lope around the ring and then stand stock still with remarkable elegance I was brought to mind of America’s Next Top Model. Tyra Banks would call Hickory “fierce” and I’m pretty sure Hickory thought she was too.
After reading about Hickory at the NYT online, and finding that she is a hard working farm dog, I thought to offer this concoction for the beauty – and health – of our furry friends. This calendula paw cream (which is also great for humans, ferrets and monkeys) is all natural and relatively easy to make. The flowers of the calendula (commonly known as marigold) are much like aloe in their anti-inflammatory and healing properties. In small doses calendula is safe to ingest so there is very little chance of your pet getting sick should they lick at their paws after application.
8 tbsps jojoba oil
3 tsps grated beeswax
4 tbsps rosewater
4 500 IU vitamin E capsules
10 drops calendula essential oil
Warm up the rosewater to a simmer in a small pan. Put the jojoba oil and beeswax into a double boiler over simmering water and allow them to melt together. Remove all from the heat and, when they are both lukewarm, whisk the rosewater into your oil/beeswax mixture. Then use an electric mixer on low to whip the cream for about 3 to 4 minutes. Or use your whisk for a nice workout; you’re looking for a creamy but not hard consistency, kind of like whipped cream with soft peaks. Add the vitamin E from the capsules (usually pricking with a pin and then squeezing will work fine) and the calendula oil. Whisk until completely cool to the touch. Place this mixture in a wide mouth jar with a tight lid. Scoop some out with your finger, warm it up by rubbing between your hands and then slather Fido or Fluffy’s clean, dry paws to keep them soft and crack free, especially in winter. À votre animal familier ~
Header: Scottish deerhound Hickory and her handler at Westminster last night via Times Union online