The Chicagoland sweet spot welcomes both people and pets

By People Staff
January 28, 2010 12:45 PM

Furry friends are always welcome at the Happy Husky Bakery in Evanston, Ill., but to enter they have to pass inspection from resident pups Ginger and Astaire. “We have a gated entrance with a bell attached to it,” explains co-founder Stephen Farmer. “When Ginger and Astaire hear the bell, they come running to greet the customers and their pets. If the dogs seem like they’ll get along, we’ll let them in – but if not, Ginger and Astaire have to retreat to a spot behind the front desk.”

Rescue huskies Ginger and Astaire, 5 and 6 years old, respectively, were adopted separately by bakery co-founder Todd Ruppenthal about three years ago. Ginger was underweight, while Astaire was overweight, so Ruppenthal and pal Farmer spent time trying to find better ways to feed them, while also creating nutritious treats they’d enjoy. “They got much healthier,” Farmer says. “So we thought, ‘Why not share this type of idea with other people’s pets?’” And so a business was born.

Now about a year old, the Happy Husky is thriving, and welcomes visiting customers from as far away as Japan and Brazil. Although some two-legged shopgoers have been just a bit confused about the bakery’s goodies. “We’re near the train station, and sometimes people coming home from work in the evenings will pop their heads in,” Farmer explains. “They see how wonderfully decorated our treats are, and think they’re for people! But then they look around and see the pet toys, and realize we’re just for dogs.”

Husky Heaven Treats

2 cups browned, ground chicken or turkey crumbles
2 cups brown rice flour
2 large eggs (1 additional egg for wash)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pureed carrots
1 cup cooked sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes.
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Brown the meat to obtain 2 cups of crumbles.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Steam the sweet potatoes with carrots till very soft.
4. Place dried cranberries in food processor and chop into small bits. Then, add meat, sweet potatoes and carrots to food processor and purée.
5. In mixing bowl combine all ingredients including the ones from the food processor to create dough. (Add a little additional flour if dough seems too tacky.)
6. Dust counter with brown rice flour to keep dough from sticking, and use additional flour as needed to roll out dough to 1/2-in. thickness
7. Cover a baking sheet in foil and spray with non-stick spray. Then, use a cookie cutter to cut into favorite shapes. (We suggest simple shapes as the tackiness of dough makes complex shapes difficult.)
8. Bake for about 20 minutes till slightly brown. Remove from oven and wash with egg. Return to oven for about 3 to 5 additional minutes till they’re golden brown with a crisp biscuit texture. Be sure that treats are baked sufficiently or they will mold after a couple of days in the refrigerator. Cool; store in refrigerator (up to 2 weeks).

The Happy Husky offers a variety of pet adoption drives at its store, in addition to all its treats and toys! Visit their Web siteto learn more.

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