When wee border collie puppy Astra Lily (Lily for short) stole a clootie dumpling from her owner Catherine Merrylees’ kitchen cupboard earlier this year, she unwittingly inspired Catherine to start her own business.
Catherine, who lives in Newport, takes up the story: “Lily didn’t seem to like any of the chew toys I’d bought her but was desperate to sink her teeth into the clootie dumpling.
“I couldn’t let her eat it as it contained raisins which are lethal for dogs but it sowed the seed of an idea.
“Not long after, I made the first batch of puppy puddings – mainly oatmeal and liver, wrapped in a cloth and steamed, then dried – and they kept her tiny needle-like teeth occupied for ages,” she explains.
One day, when Catherine had run out of cloots, she made the leftover pudding mix into liver oatcake biscuits and then went on to experiment with the recipe to make other products.
“Cooking for dogs is a bit different to cooking for humans.
“Dogs are very much into what the food smells like and its texture, rather than its appearance,” says Catherine, a trained doctor who left her native Australia when she met doctor Neil, who hails from Dundee, soon after graduating when they were both working in an outback hospital.
“He brought me back instead of a stuffed kangaroo,” she laughs.
Recycling old curtain linings to wrap the carefully-sourced ingredients in, Catherine started making mini clootie dumpling treats for dogs and the Puppy Pudding Company was born.
“My creative side has had to take a bit of a back seat until now as Neil and I worked abroad as missionaries for several years,” she says.
“My business has opened up a completely new and exciting road and a visit to Business Gateway Fife has given me a far clearer vision for the business and a long checklist of things to do. I strongly recommend taking advantage of this valuable resource,” she says.
And Lily? Well, she’s got her all her adult teeth now but she’s still more than happy to help test Catherine’s products!
Crafty canines and dogged determination
Possibly the most famous fictional Fido was Lassie, a female rough collie created by Eric Knight in a short story that was later expanded to a full-length novel called Lassie Come-Home, originally played by male collie Pal.
St Bernard Bamse (teddy bear) was bought in Oslo by the master of the Norwegian whale catcher Thorodd. During the Second World War his acts of heroism included saving a sailor from attack, and dragging back to shore a sailor who had fallen overboard.
Skye terrier Greyfriars Bobby became known in 19th Century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself in January 1872.
Old Hemp (1893 – 1901) was a stud dog from whom all border collies are said to be descended.
Black Bob was a fictional border collie who originally appeared in The Dandy in 1944 .
Rin Tin Tin was rescued from a First World War battlefield by an American soldier who trained him to become an international silent movie star.
The Littlest Hobo was a Canadian TV series about a German shepherd who wandered from town to town, helping people in need.