Celebrating Zoe: Her Favorite Dog Cookies (For Humans, Too!)

“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

I agree, but you know what? It’s a total bargain.

As some of you know, my beloved bulldog, Zoe, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Sunday. I’m grateful that although she’d grown weary and we knew it was time, she experienced joy until the end, for the lessons she taught and continues to instill and, most of all, for having her in my life—yes, that present tense was intentional. For years I’d wondered how I could possibly go on without her; now I realize I’ll never have to. While I miss her profoundly, she’s a permanent part of me, and the grief over her passing, as deep as it runs, is minuscule compared to the love she gave and inspired.

So rather than talk about the sadness today, I’d like to celebrate Zoe’s life with one of her most cherished things: FOOD! 🙂 The below recipe was one of Zoe’s favorites. As far as cookies go, they’re healthy and tasty—for humans, too. They also happen to be vegan and, depending on the oats you use, gluten-free.

Thanksgiving, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013


Zoe’s Peanut Butter Pumpkinheads

**Important: These cookies must be made and eaten with love and joy. Zoe wouldn’t have it any other way. 


  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tablespoons flax meal


Heat your often to 350 degrees F. Mix all of the ingredients together then drop the dough by teaspoons onto a baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake them for 10 minutes, pulling them out to flatten them lightly with a fork halfway through. (If they’re really wet after 10 minutes, give them 2 – 3 more minutes.) They’ll seem really soft, but will firm up as they cool. Wait a few minutes before moving them to a cooking rack or parchment paper.  This recipe makes about 15 cookies.


If you’re considering getting a pet, I hope you’ll consider rescuing an animal who desperately needs a home. It’s true what they say: rescues rescue us. If you have a pet, please give them extra hugs for me.

If you’d like to do more to honor Zoe’s memory or kindness to animals in general, please visit APeAction.org. Without Jill Gasparac, the woman who runs it, I wouldn’t likely have had Zoe to begin with. She and her associates, particularly Zeke, who walked Zoe when we were away, are absolute angels. You can like them on Facebook, donate money to their cause and more.

More posts about Zoe:
My Big Brindle Heart: A Love Story
Make Like Zoe: Savor the Shade

Thank you for letting me share Zoe with you and for the continual love and support. You are such a gift! ♥

Leave a comment


  1. Barney, my German Shepherd, went to the Doggie Afterward a long time ago. I’m sure he welcomed Zoe, and they’re getting along just fine.

  2. Oh Gosh you and me should sit down, have a glass of wine and talk about our dogs. We put our Boo-boo to sleep on Saturday and it was a hard thing to do, staying there until she was gone. It tore me up inside, but then, she has always been scared and hated the Vet’s office. I was an honor to be with her till the end. I feel the same way, yes, there is grief and sadness, but I am already smiling when I think about her. The way she trained me right from the start, letting me believe that I might be in control. I can already talk about her..can you tell 🙂 Sorry for the Novel!

    • Don’t apologize! Trust me, I pour full book series’ out to folks when Zoe comes up. 🙂 I’m so sorry for your loss, and feel similarly about mine. We’re so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives! They help heal our hearts, even after they’re gone.

  3. Almond rather than peanut butter would probably work, right? And I am going to try it with steel cut oats, which I have found that I do tolerate. I’ll let you know. As you say, the gratitude for knowing such unconditional love far outweighs the pain of loss. Cooper remains with me every day, and remembering his lust for life often gives me energy when I run low. Truly, it is amazing but you know that. Thanks for being who you are and sharing Zoe with us.


    • Thanks so much for the continual thoughtfulness and support, Karen. You’re a gem! So was Cooper, I’ve no doubt.

      Yes, almond butter would work well. Steel cut oats may be a bit too coarse, unless you cook them first. You can also skip the oats and add a touch more flax meal, or substitute 1/4 cup almond or chickpea flour for the oats.

      • Good point about the oats, August, and thanks for the substitute suggestions.

  4. So sorry for your loss, August. As someone who came into dog ownership by default (Lauren got Layla a year before we met), I totally understand the impact four-legged furry friends have on our lives. I met Layla on my 4th date w/Lauren. Didn’t take long for the pup to charm me with her cuteness and get her paws into me for good. Layla will be 6 in October. She still has her puppy energy and playfulness and we love that about her. I now can’t fathom life w/o Layla. Like Layla does for me, I’m 100% certain that Zoe managed to always put a smile on your face. She’ll continue to do so. As such is life, there are some days where it’s kicking my ass so hard I wish it would give my backside a break and punch me in the face instead. Despite that, when I get home and Layla comes running w/tail wagging like car wiper blades on high, I can’t help but smile. So as you move on (and you will), Zoe will still be w/you in your memories. And every so often, she’ll stop in to say hello in the most clever of ways (your rainbow pic you posted the other day). Zoe will still follow you everywhere you go. So the next time you catch a glimpse of your shadow out of the corner of your eye, don’t be surprised if it has four legs instead of two 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Steve. You’re both lucky to have Layla, and vice versa. 🙂 As difficult as it is to lose our furry pals, you’re right about their presence remaining. I love what you said about my shadow — I’ll be watching!

  5. What a wonderful way to honor Zoe. She will live on in the stories you tell about her. (I don’t believe my cats would like the cookies, being such creatures of habit when it comes to food, but I will make them for the humans in my family :-))

  6. We’ll give the recipe a go this weekend. I have no doubt my dog will love them because I’ve yet to find anything she won’t eat!

    Cheers 🙂

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss, August. Rescues are the best. 🙂

  8. I am so sorry about Zoe. And I will try to remember to make some cookies for Jack. They look like something he would love. 🙂

  9. What a sweet way – and very like the two of you 🙂 – to honor Zoe. I mean it when I say she was the WANA pup. I pictured her when I read your book, I loved your posts about her, and all your photos. I have a soft spot for dogs of her breed, and she was just such a warm spirit. Maybe it was the way you wrote about her, but I just assumed she knew things. You know, really KNEW what the rest of us didn’t.

    I’m sorry for your loss. But I believe Zoe is always with you and will be a guide for you each and every day forward. *hugs*

    • I’m so touched that you’ve embraced her so, Jess. I always sensed that she knew things we didn’t, too. 🙂 I feel her with me, as I feel my pals’ love — thanks ever so much!

  10. laurie27wsmith

     /  May 31, 2014

    I empathise with your loss August. I’ve always said if you want a companion that loves unconditionally and won’t cheat on you, then get a dog. I’ve lost a few pets over time and they always come back for a little while. You’ll feel them at your feet, or if they jump onto the bed they’ll snuggle down. It’s kinda nice really.

  11. These treats are scrumptious! I know my beloved Tex and Zoe are enjoying them together. It’s amazing how our pets can touch us so much. They never truly leave us!

    I think I’ll make a batch of these for my friends’ dogs. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Oh, August, I’m so sorry. I mentioned to you at one point that I had a kitty I nursed through cancer. I agree with want you say about the intensity of the time and lessons taught. When I lost Ceci seven years ago (on Earth Day, I though my heart would never heal.

    But today her presence is even stronger in my life. Through her I became an advocate of whole nutrition for both animals and their humans, and even clearer about avoiding the nastiness that big corporations pass off as food. (You’re in nutrition, so none of this is new to you, but it was to me when I started researching how to deal with Ceci’s cancer.) I don’t have a dog, August, but I will make these in Zoe’s memory. They sound absolutely delish!

  13. What a beautiful tribute to Zoe, August. I love that you are celebrating her life. And the peanut butter cookies! So cool that those were her favorite cookies. I thought you were going to talk about dog cookies! Haha! I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m happy you had such a wonderful pet. All our dogs have been rescue dogs, too.

  14. Oh I’m so sorry 😦 we have an English bulldog and they are the most loving pets. Glad you had her in your life

  15. So sorry for your loss, August. Zoe sounds like she was an amazing friend, and she’ll always live with you in your wonderful memories of time spent together.

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss, August. Zoe always looked like such a sweetie pie in your pics. I hope you find comfort in your happy memories. Big hugs. ❤

  17. Raani York

     /  June 13, 2014

    I do feel with you, August! Even though I had missed it at first being off the Internet for a while during my stay home.
    Thanks for sharing one of your cookie recipes that does remind you of Zoe!
    And of course thank you for sharing the links to APeAction.org. I think it’s important to support them!
    I keep thinking of you and Zoe and hopefully will find the time soon to once make these cookies. They do look good! 🙂

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